Circumstances had conspired to allow me a chance of trying a new river this February, the river Wharfe. A beautiful riffle and pool river with a few Barbel in it too, (so I had been reliably informed). The temps were rising slightly though still very cold, and rain was pouring, allowing the rivers to flow and rise on the very day I was dropping a line!
I walked with great optimism across fields to find that no other anglers shared my enthusiasm for being cold and slightly mad…..”He who dares Rodders, he who dares”. I had found the Yorkshire air to be quite dramatically colder than South of the midlands. This was after the previous evening`s reccy which saw me get soaked through all layers, and this morning had to pop into a charity shop for a new/old/”dry” jumper. Fancy travelling all this way and not packing my usual quota of spare everything!!
The fishing approach would be a searching one, roving and trying different area`s, not waiting too long in any particular one. A good smelly bait, will usually get you a bite quite quickly in these conditions, if you are near some fish! In my third swim, I found I “was” near some fish. A couple of bumps indicated life, and just as I was on the phone to my mate…the rod pulled round into a fishy curve. As I explained I was in but not sure whether Barbel or Chub, the fish lunged and took line as only the Barbel will do!
I love this type of fishing, holding the rod and feeling for any movement, second only to seeing the fish you are trying to catch, and watching them take the bait. This one had, and after a spirited fight in cold water, a very lively and cold 6lb 3oz Barbel was in the net. It was approaching the warmest part of the day, and during Winter this is often the time you will find a Barbel willing to feed.
I was over the moon, and after adding a Chub to the day, I was off to visit an elderly relative, and have a good catch up.
My next trip may well be right out of my comfort zone, trying for some crocodiles from a boat on Chew Valley Lakes, I`ll keep you posted…