Gold flashed and I ducked behind the shrubbery. In the pale morning light, a spectacle emerged. A thick black cloud of fry penned in by chub, barbel and bream. There was no urgency. The fish seemed to take turns at the soup kitchen. Fresh fish soup was on the menu.  They would slowly cruise into the cloud and inhale. Then move out as the next one moved in. Even the barbel and bream were enjoying the action.

 

They scattered as a beaded squirmy wormy plopped down. It was a light bow-arrow cast, but they were wary. Hoping that the soup kitchen would lure them back, I switched to an unweighted squirmy. Big chub love them.

They returned. This time the light patter generated only interest. A small chub swam over and had a taste. I let him spit it out. The target was the massive chub nearby. It sauntered over, the white mouth flashed and the squirmy disappeared.

It tore off to the deep channel on the opposite bank. A good 20 meter run. From there in typical chub style it was a slog. A huge bream partnered alongside, weaving backwards and forwards.

A vitalising scramble down the nettle covered bank, a slip, a splash. Into the drink I went. The comedy was not over as I retrieved the drowned phone. Fortunately, it was OK and I could get a few snaps of the enormous chub.

Heading back, I had one more spot to try. With a steep bank, it needed more light to sight fish. Peering down a shadow moved. Out went the squirmy and a chub floated up and lightly sucked it in. As the tussle ensued, a huge barbel waltzed over to investigate.

Mr Chub swam off after a few pictures and all attention was on finding the barbel.  There it was. In a thigh deep run, working over the gravel. This was a double figure specimen. A tank.  It ignored my entire fly box. It actively got out of the path of squirmy, or anything with gold beads. A traditionalist. It seemed attracted to hot orange, so perhaps a traditionalist with a twist.  I am sure that it nibbled at a brown squirmy, but cannot quite be sure.

Time was ticking. My dawn session was over all too soon and I had to get back to the office. My vice will be churning out some patterns for the next mission. That barbel.