My old friend Ron had paid for a day out on the Avon in aid of BS RandC Funds, and I was pleased to finally get it organised after a delay from last year, due to the awful river conditions we experienced twelve months ago. This year is quite the reverse, with low water and ever-clearing water making it much better for spotting of barbel and chub. We settled in a swim where fish could be seen easily, and fed them up until they were going potty for hemp and casters.

Ron was delighted with a barbel of about seven pounds on his first cast, and we relaxed and chatted about our days spent teaching and how things have changed for both teachers and kids over the years. We are both now retired from the profession, fishing instead of form-filling, and have much to reminisce about! Ron was so pleased with his barbel, he said I should take the next fish. On these guiding days, I do not fish, but try and ensure the guest has the sport, but for fun I relented and expected to get a ubiquitous chub next cast; the swim was full of them.

The rod walloped round and I was soon playing a very good barbel, and at 12.12 it was a significant specimen. I apologized to Ron profusely, as it should have been his fish, but he just smiled and congratulated me, a sign of a true angler and a real gent.

I made sure he was compensated though, and he took another barbel, several chub, and then a lovely first double on his pin and new rod, a beautiful stocky fish of 11.13. A wonderful day’s fishing, in excellent company, and some great fish to celebrate. I returned the next day and took another three barbel, with another eleven pounder to fall to the caster and hemp . A brace of six pound chub were another bonus, cracking fish in spotless condition. The dace were there in evidence too, a sign that this species is making a big comeback on the Avon.