After being picked up at 4am sat nav was saying two and a half hours to destination. We were heading North West to the beautiful Teme valley for a guiding lesson and a giggle with good company. We pulled up in the arranged pub car park to find a guy stood outside his van brushing his teeth! "Morning" he said, get out your breakfast gear, put a brew on and chill out for half hour, then we'll wander into the pub to get the tickets. "rivers looking nice" he said and i'm Trefor and you must be my students for a couple of days? Tref was about 5' 4" complete with hat and boots and from that point on I knew it was going to be a little bit of an experience and nothing too serious. Now, Tref's been angling a long old time and knows every trick in the book, so off we trotted to get the tickets, then back into the car for the two minute drive over the road with us following, up a lane to a gated field "shut the gate behind you" he shouted! Now we were driving straight through a field only to be greeted by about fifty cows! Before we can bed down for the night we're going to have to move them out of here and into the next gated field!! I'll go in the middle you two take the left and the right, and we'll herd them up the field and through the next gate! Great i thought, this old boys having a laugh. After about fifteen minutes and the cows all split up like the red arrows we decided that we would sleep in the next field and leave them to it, boots were now covered in crap and a little bit sweaty and I looked at Steve and we rolled our eyes and just chuckled.
We opened the boot on the truck and this time Tref rolled his eyes, "bloody hell, your going home tomorrow" get one rod, one net and your tackle bag leave the rest in the car". "Follow me".
First view of the river from its steep red stained banks and it looked awesome with its twisting slow moving bends flowing into fast shallow rapids before settling down into a long straight which looked as though the depth evened its self out at a nice pace with trees littering the bank at intervals. Tref insisted that we put our kit down once a quarter of the way through the field and told us to tackle the rods up with a straight forward running set up with a 2oz lead complete with a braided hair rig with no loop, with this he opened his bait bucket, grabbed four or five good hand fulls and told us to put them in our pockets and take three out for baiting the hook and lobbed a tube of superglue us, stick them on like this and let em dry while I tell you the plan!
The sequence was this.......... park your bum in the swims I suggest, put the hookbaits out and throw in thirteen freebies, give it twenty minutes and if no knocks or taps have occurred then move down the field and repeat the sequence again... "We'll have em".
We walked past a certain area to begin with while we angled further down the beat and in this time Tref walked back to it and baited the margin of which was only 18" deep and the far bank had a fallen willow. Fifteen minutes past only for us to hear a shout of "wind in lads and bring one rod and a net with ya"! On finding Tref standing on a high bank looking down into the shallow margins pointing like a crazy thing! Chub coming in from the left, 1, 2, 3. Barbel coming across from the willow, "give it five then abseil down the bank and perch yourself on the tree trunk but go quietly and I'll tell you when to lower the baited rod, but first let me mold this big chunk of plasticine 2ft up from your lead". This old boy ain't all there I thought but it's his rules so I'll abide. "Right, go, lower it in about there" he said while flicking two pellets out, get yourself comfortable and I'll narrate as to what is happening from up here but be prepared for the unexpected he chuckled. Right Derren its going to go any minute get ready to whack it!! With that my arm was nearly wrenched from its socket and a big puff of silt exploded and the fish boiled on the surface for a bid to freedom to the far bank cover. Soon i was in a very uncomfortable position wobbling on the tree trunk rod in one hand, net in the other try my hardest not to fall in and have them giggle at me like a pair of kids. Luckily for me all went well and my first Teme barbel was stalked, weighed and returned. "Who says you cant catch em in daylight hours? you just got to find em, and feed them a little and then whack em boy!" "come on, back to the sequence and we'll try here again on our way back". Derren 1, barbel 0........Thanks Tref, you ain't as silly as you look Ithought.
The moral of this tale and it goes for all types of angling is..........
Keep it simple and find em!!!