Joined by two accomplices we headed off for one last crack at the Avon. They were super keen - up at the crack of dawn - while I arrived nearer to 8am, having dispatched my wife to work en route. Always a pleasure provide that service on my way to a day of leisure!
The usual car park encounter ensued. You know the score by now!
A squelch across the meadow and I caught up on the action. Nothing doing. A missed bite apparently, but nothing else. Contemplating where to start I looked around to see Brian clutching a heavily bent over rod, that was nearly pulled clean in. Sadly the hook pulled and the culprit was never seen. Cause for optimism though.
I settled in on the next peg downstream. Meat on one rod, coarse deadbait on the other in the hope of a zander. It was tough going on the meat - nothing in fact. The deadbait fooled an early jack though. A second take resulted in a lost fish that looked Zed like, but not particularly big. Then it went quiet.
I decided to relocate to the opposite end of my peg and go all out for zander. As I didn't have a spare predator rod, I tried something a little different - swingtipping for them. The low resistance offered by the tip seemed like a plausible idea.
Two missed bites on the float set up and then one on the tip, threatened to turn the air blue. Fourth time lucky I bagged what was to be my final fish of the season. Not the zander I hoped for, but the same distinctive jack I'd had earlier!
Now I've had my share of repeat captures over the years, but rarely in the same session. Oddly enough, it happened to me on the last day of the season last year though, with a Windrush brownie.
A sedate end to the season and I probably could have done better with a little more mobility in my approach. With pleasant, mild and often sunny conditions, I was just in the mood to relax. I'd done my share of legwork for the season.
Some days are just for taking whatever comes and for being thankful of a day away from the humdrum of the office. And sometimes, it's those around you who actually put the biggest smile on your face.
Brian had resigned himself to another blank, when another rod lunging incident saw him battling a lump. All suspects were put in the frame during the battle, until a carp eventually broke cover. Played patiently, the prize reluctantly graced his net after a stubborn fight. Believed to be his first river carp and a double to boot - 11lb 1oz. Well done sir.
Charlie had the last of the action with his first barbel from the stretch at 8lb 12oz. A nice way to sign off.
A strange old season for me. More personal bests than I've had before, but sandwiched between a lot of tricky times. I spent too much time flogging the same stretch in unfavourable conditions. That's often the case when you're presented with something new. I'll be looking for more variety next season during those tricky summer periods when the rivers are running low and clear.
Zander have intrigued me though and that's probably the biggest plus point from the season. I have my mind set on catching a double now and I have enough options to think it could be a reality for next season.
I'm now planning on a break for a few weeks to get some work done around the house and garden. I might sneak in the odd session though if the weather is particularly good. I have a pond to check out and I'll also be taking another look at a stretch of canal that I briefly dabbled with last closed season. Bank maintenance on one of the river stretches also needs fitting in.
I'll return properly during May, by which time the blogger's challenge for 2017/18 will be in progress. That's a great excuse to put some much needed variety back into my fishing. I really must get back to using a float more often again.
Decisions on tickets are getting ever closer. Three river based ones are a formality (one already bagged due to a January renewal date), but the last one (or two) keeps changing in my mind. For once, it's the stillwaters that are complicating matters. I'll figure it soon enough.
Roll on 12 weeks' time...