Nice To Be Back..

Friday was my chance to make a dash up the M5 for my first session of the year, and try for a Barbel before the romance of “St Valentine” took over…..really?
After a lot of colder weather, the river temp had risen from 3ish c to nearly 5c in a few days. The pressure was dropping and air temps staying above water, so there may just be a chance. I made it there just before sunset and was keen to get a line in.
Within 5 mins the rod was bent over with a good take and a lively Chub, an unexpected and pleasing start, though this fish was very cold. A couple of casts resulted in more plucks and then hitting one of these, I hooked a bigger Chub than the first, this one nearer 4.5lb. I decided to move, as I had a “hunch” for another area, so took the walk. After fifteen minutes I heard a splash, and witnessed a big Otter pop up mid river just above my swim, it then proceeded to swim mid river right over the top of my swim (which luckily was approximatly fifteen feet deep). It sounded like a cow panting along the river heading purposefully downstream, and then dived.
Just as I was thinking negative thoughts for any chance of a bite here, the rod in my hand began to pull – with strength – over in my arm, I was into a Barbel!
It felt like a big one in the ensuing fight, and made some hard run`s before coming to the surface under the rod, and rolling into the net. It was indeed a big one, 11lb4oz in fact. What a great fish to start the year with, and end the longest “in season” layoff I have had since starting out for Barbel in 2006. I had one more cast in the first swim and another nice Chub resulted, time then to drive home and write the card!
Only 4 weeks now until the long lay off so good luck and tight lines.

An Anglers Observational Study.

As many of you will be aware & some not, I am involved in an observational study of our rivers from the eyes of anglers who fish them. The data has been gathered since the beginning of our rivers season in June 2014 & is proving very useful in giving an overview of locations for various predators and pests – from Cormorants to Cray fish and Otters, we are gathering to create a picture of the health of our rivers. Please do contribute whenever you see anything of concern!! Your input is much appreciated….

An unfortunate but common sight on some rivers.

An unfortunate but common sight on some rivers.

Another Day….

After a nice little break in Cornwall, and ready to settle into a New Year with many changes afoot, we were on the high road (A30) over Bodmin with snow coming down & a snowstorm ahead. Then – as if – from nowhere the road turned white and the next steep hill saw cars stopping and sliding back down! So we pulled over and I had to put my boots onto my nice warmed feet, and my coats back on, to help push those further up the hill!

After some hard pushing and eventual high fiving, a couple of us had managed to get everyone moving again. I ran back – watching my step as I did so – to our car, feeling good and wanting to get moving again before this next storm took affect……

We were on the move, and slowly, as the snow and hail was setting in again! A couple of miles along the road we saw a snow plough followed by a couple of police cars and an ambulance, and then another plough…I think we made it out just in time! (Its the first time I have experienced how people and their cars can get stuck very quickly).

As for the fishing recently, I am sad to report that I have not even managed to get out since before Christmas due to many reasons beyond my control, but I am very happy to report that in the preceeding weeks from Oct to Christmas, the fish (Barbel) really were obliging!

I Started the ball rolling with my first double of the season of nearly 13lb (12lb14oz) from the Warks Avon and followed that fish with others of 10lb 12oz, 12lb 8oz, and 13lb on the nose from the same river in the space of a few sessions which saw 18 Barbel come to the banks. Naturally pleased with these fish I tried the Severn, and could not believe my luck!

In one unforgettable session on the Severn (my first one of Oct), the rods would not keep still. I had two out at first, as the sun was setting. The downstream rod went and after playing and landing the fish, before I could bait up the rod, the other was going. The “tit for tat” continued….so only one line was in at a time! The fish got bigger with 4 x 9lb+ fish and a new Severn P.B. of 14lb 2oz. I was made up with this, and over the next couple of weeks 4 more doubles including an 11lb12oz and 11lb10oz, both of which would have beaten my previous Severn P.B. The BIGGER fish certainly were biting this Autumn!!

It was great to be out and catching some larger fish, as I had been catching plenty of smaller ones to 9lb or so (more than the last couple of sesaons), but had not until then, managed that elusive “double”. And then – like buses – they all came at once!! Here are some pictures;

A welcome 12lb 8oz!

A welcome 12lb 8oz!

11lb 10oz Severn Beauty!

11lb 10oz Severn Beauty!

A lovely 11lb10oz Severn fish.

A lovely 11lb12oz Severn fish.

Happy New Year!

To everyone who looks in….I wish you all the very best for 2015!! Good luck, and I hope you have all you need in the coming year, of course that will include some bendy rods!! Take care.

(I shall post a new diary account which will include details of all thats been caught and experienced, over the last couple of months).

Emily`s Day (Written by Emily)

We set off after school to stay the night in the valleys. Daddy and me cast a rod out at one spot and then another. When it was time to go to a different swim we pulled in the line and at the end of the rod was a gudgeon. Then we moved swims. It was 7.30 and the sun was setting we had 4 casts and three barbel. When one rod bent round the other rod went too. Here is a picture of the fish…



Then we went back to the car and I got into my Poppet onesy. Daddy made us some tea (sausages), and a cup of tea and we went to bed. We woke up and went to the bathroom for a freshen up. Daddy had a talk with a canoe man and he chatted to 3 anglers altogether. We then set off to the same place again had two casts and had nothing. So we went back to the swim, where we had the 3 fish, but no fish could be found. The river was full of canoes so we left.

It was alittle drive to daddy’s special spot. We saw 4 fishes in the swim, but none came to us. By then we had breakfast and I was making clay with mud and water. We went in to the woods

If you go down to the.....

If you go down to the…..

and Daddy showed me a secret clearing where there was a fire circle. Then I got scratched by some thorns and had a scab (and I still have it). We came out and walked to the waves which went up the mountain. Then we left for home and went back to the place from the night before and caught 3 barbel again. Then we went back home and I fell asleep in the car on the way back. We picked up chicken for tea with Mummy and then I went to bed.

Some fish and a herd of “killer cows”!!

We have been long talking about what we shall do for our friends 50th, and the time had finally arrived…We were off up to the higher reaches of the mighty river Severn! The plan, to camp, fish, and enjoy the time away in good company. After no debate at all we were in the pub! We (semi) planned the next couple of days fishing and were ready to get out there and catch from pastures new. 


Day one produced some bites for half of the party and new fish too, it was a very promising looking quiet stretch.

The next day saw a more challenging Upper reaches day where we managed to spot a couple of Barbel and my friend lost one to an uncharacteristic braid brake near the hook! A shame but that`s fishing…

But the amusing factor here was that when I went walking and stalking, I ran into some over friendly cows. (They had horns too)! I tried my usual “mush” technique, but it seemed they thought I was calling them! So they all came running at me…I ran with rod & net in hands as fast as I could, but when I looked around, there was one there right up to my face, I turned and ran harder. As I arrived over the brow of the riverbank, my friends were surprised to see me so flustered, then I explained, and there was some laughter before we got out of that field.

The farmer later explained that it was his fault as he hand feeds the cows! So they thought I was “calling” them rather than “shooing” them. Back in the pub one of our group explained that he was sat watching and laughing at the whole commotion from a distance down the bank where I did not know he could see. When I asked why he did not help in some way, he said he was too busy falling around laughing!

Next day was the Birthday, and the “Boy” had a few fish to celebrate with!! As did most of the party, before heading back to our local for a nice meal. A good trip for us all.


A Long Overdue Entry……And a P.B. For My Boy And I!!

I know I have been busy but I didn`t realise how busy, I have not posted an update for the whole of July. There has been some fishing going on and lots of Barbel caught as well as many other exciting things…

After a very encouraging start to the season with several fish for our group in the first days, the weather stayed fine and settled, and seems to have helped fishing all round for many rivers. We even had 10 Barbel between 3 of us off the Teme on the 17th June!! The beginning of July saw me do a reccy for one of my customers before our day out, this produced “15″ Barbel between 6 & 9lbs!

A nice June Barbel!

A nice June Barbel!

The day out came and we caught several quality fish, and his first for the river too. Once we had said our farewell`s and he had hit the road for a 3hr drive home, I headed for a charity event not far away, it was a sponsored Barbel fishing match (Bag a Barbel Lets Beat Cancer) organised by Andrew Poole. It was a credit to him and his family that the weekend went so smoothly, and everyone enjoyed many laughs and even plenty of fish aswell, the charity is one close to all of us and you can still donate by clicking on this link; and whilst on the subject of charity events there is another Barbel related one happening as I write. It is in aid of the “Army Benevolent Fund” and is mentioned with a link on my cover page, there are 5 brave souls from the Barbel Society attempting to catch “20″ double figure barbel from 10 different rivers around England in 10 days, the link for this very worthy cause can be found here;   (I can report that 3 double figure Barbel have been caught so far, so well done guy`s and keep them coming)!!

Back to my diary entries and my last session 65 miles from home with my son Joseph very keen to get out in our new car, and spend the night in it, as the seats fold down to make a double bed. So we had a couple of hours evening fishing before getting our heads down, we started first cast with a 4.5lb Bream, it was a bite at least! Half an hour or so after, the pull was much harder and a hard fighting barbel was coming to the net…

Bright lights on tired eyes!!

Bright lights on tired eyes!!

It was midnight and our last cast, the rod started nodding like another bream bite but as I lifted the resulting fish towards the net, it was no bream at all….The silver side and red fins showed us a beautiful “Roach”, it was a very pleasent surprise for me and my biggest ever at 1lb 15oz! So close to a 2lb river roach, we did not get a picture because after weighing we let it go. While fishing for “Barbel” I have now had P.B`s of three other species.

Little did we know, that events the next day, were going to take the turns they did…….After a good nights sleep in our new family vehicle, I decided we would have a good chance of catching and spotting some fish on a different river. As we attempted to drive away, I promptly realised that we had a flat back tyre (surely I haven`t put on that much??). “No problem” I thought as I reached for the spare tyre……which was FLAT! So we put the kettle on, and while we waited for the AA, I set a rod up for Joseph to see if he could get a bite here. After a short while – he was still holding the rod and I was messing with tyres – I heard his call “Dad dad helllpp”! Standing up the bank, I watched as Joe was getting dragged around with the rod tip pointing at the fish and the drag clicking rapidly. It was great!! The result was the fish pictured here;

Joe`s P.B 7lb 15oz !

Joe`s P.B 7lb 15oz !

After lots of laugh`s, we baited the swim and cast back out for another go. I received a call from the AA to ask for directions to our riverside location, and was told they would be with us in 10mins. Low and behold 10mins later Joe was calling and the same had happened, and as we played the fish, so Dave fom the AA arrived to say “what a whopper”.

Another P.B!! (What a Whopper)

Another P.B!! (What a Whopper)

We put air in the spare and fitted it, it stayed up, Dave carried on to another job while Joe and I would have one more cast and another cuppa! Yes, another Barbel was on. We landed the fish and went to check on that spare…..It was flat, another phone call and we had an hour to wait, another cast?? Of course. We had another barbel and then a phone call, similar to the last, as our rescuer was arriving, the rod – in it`s rest now because Joe`s arm was aching – decided to bend in half and start heading to the reeds! Joseph got fingers to it, as I helped and tried to gain control, the fish knew where it wanted to get and was already half way there when we started to play it. As it was nicely getting buried in the bulrushes, a boat was heading our way… was our rescuer….and this fish was not!!

Joseph made a run for the far side of the river, I explained gently what was happening to our rescuer, and then asked the kind lady on top of the boat (my faith in boaters is restored), to take the rod and pass it across to Joe. She did this happily as I ran across to join Joe and play this fish from the best possible angle! The boating couple were now captivated, as was our rescuer, all we needed to do was catch this fish, and eventually we did persuade it out of the rushes for a good old tussle before netting. Everyone was happy to see the result of such commotion, it weighed 7lb8oz!!

One for Dad too...

One for Dad too…

Oh,,,,, and we made it to the tyre fitters to do the necessary!!!