I decided to catch the river with temperatures rising and levels falling slighty. It was a late start after settling the house for bed, I decided to head. I would be on the river by a civilised(ish) time (all being well). But junction ’9′ was closed! So I diverted up to 8 and back down to 9 on the southbound side. Still I was fishing by around the “eta”, and tried a couple of swims before the “right one”. It was just below a swim that I knew fairly well.
After just 5 minutes or so, on the Special Spam, a good take and this fighting 9lb 4oz fish!It had some war wounds and fin rot as shown here,
so I applyed some Friars Balsam as recommended by no other than Ray Walton, and released it to fight another day!
I moved then, onto an area that has done well in the past for me. The river was pushing hard and I could just get down on the bank to cast. After a couple of fruitless cast’s – with big bow’s in the line – I landed a good cast. Holding the rod high it did not take long for an indication.
I thought the tapping bite may be a chub at first, then it took off like a barbel upstream. As it got level with me, it shot off hard and low like a “big barbel”, the fight had really begun. And when I thought that the fish was beat, it kept using the flow and it’s weight against me! Even on the last, I had the fish over the net, it was huge, as I laid the rod down to pull up the net the fish was out!! I grabbed the rod and 5 minutes more fighting ensued. Finally I managed to do what I thought only two people could do, and landed the giant!!
I slept in the car, and the next day had this nice 6lber before heading back for lunch!
Not too cold, but so wet it will be hard to find a spot from where to find a fish!!! Relish the challenge…
Here is a link to a very interesting article which explains just how little regard there is for all things natural, when it comes to greed….. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/13/flooding-public-spending-britain-europe-policies-homes
This also goes a long way to explaining why – in recent years – the low levels of our rivers have been so low so fast, and probably why the habitat for all river life has become less sustainable.
2014 and what wonderful conditions for a New Year Barbel Bite, with these rivers so far up and coloured, everyone should go extra careful and not take any risks!!
I have not been out since that Christmas Barbel event and will be looking to get out again soon…
It`s been a quiet couple of weeks for me – on the Barbel front – and I have not been out since having that first Thames Barbel on the 12th. This was partly due to being busy with other things, but mainly due to the unfavourable conditions for Barbel fishing! So…. A tale of that adventure on the Thames.
I had only tried the Thames once before last season, much higher up the river above Oxford where the fish were said to be very few and far between, and so it proved as my friend and I looked at a perfect looking environment for all fish and left biteless! Being told by a dog walker that “no-one really fishes here anymore, though they used to, lots of them.”
I had agreed a year or so ago with Gary Lucas to meet up on the banks of the lower Thames near where he fished, at some point this season. I had been watching for weeks for a favourable time to try, and when we arranged our meeting the river had just started to fish quite well. Though this was going to be a “window” of opportunity as the temperatures were set to drop the very evening we were to meet!
Arriving slightly earlier than our arranged time, I just had time to have a look at the river near Hampton Court Palace, it looked daunting and deep and had a lot of boat traffic. A cup of tea and a walk and the air temperature was dropping with the afternoon sun.
I knew Gary from his site, Barbel Fishing (The Prince of the River) and could tell his enthusiasm for all things fish was going to make for a good afternoon and evening. And so it proved, a very genuine guy and now (I like to think) friend of mine. We started out in a likely pair of swims and fished them into the setting sun (which my photography did not do justice to) but alas, moved on to our next swim with only a tremor or two on our rods.
But that all changed on my first cast, as I was moving a lump of meat through the swim a definate indication from a fish was met with my lifting strike, and my first Thames “Prince” was on!!
This fish put up a good account and we had little idea of its size until it was up for netting;
After this, all would be a bonus, the night air temp was dropping like a stone, and we roved to a couple more areas before returning to our first swim where I had a Roach of less than 1lb on a medium sized pellet!! Quite a surprise. We were going to give it until midnight, so I decided to have the last hour in the “Barbel” swim, first cast again and a pick-up, another Barbel was on but, I could tell it wasn`t a monster right away, beautiful none the less at around two pounds…
So after this fun fish we settled back for the last half hour or so, and just as Gary was arriving to my swim with hands he could no longer feel. I had an indication which I struck to nothing, and so it was that midnight was here and I would have that One Last Cast….
The bait had been out for just a couple of minutes when the tremors started and I struck into the third Barbel of the evening, another very pretty fish of around 3lbs this time, what a warm finish! Little did I expect that after catching my first Thames Barbel of 5lb 8oz any Barbel that followed, would be smaller!! The frost was down and ice shining and we were leaving.
My great thanks go to Gary for showing me his river, it is a wonderful feeling to catch from a new river, these Barbel truly are Princes.
Rest in Peace Steve Stringer.
It was with great sorrow that many many fellow anglers and I, followed this tragic story of Steve Stringer who was a regular visitor to the stretch of river which last weekend took his life. He had been fishing as was usual, an area on the river Kennet which he was very familiar with, but on this Friday he did not make it home to his family. When I heard his body had been found and read tributes to him, like many others, I felt overcome with sadness.
Please let this be a reminder to us all to think of the chances/risks we take as anglers, and that we are very small when out there with nature, take care of yourselves and one another when enjoying your passion.
God Bless Steve.
To donate money for a wreath for Steve and towards his chosen charity please click the link below;