Summer is upon us & the season well underway..
Already I have been lucky enough to have had, and have been involved in, some memorable captures. The rivers have started well with fish coming out for many of those trying, and some big ones too, eh Matt Marlow?
I have also been taking part & helping where possible, with studies which are being sponsored and supported by the Barbel Society. I am now an RO (Regional Organiser) for the Bristol Avon catchment & general area. I am currently looking to set up regional meetings which will help raise funds towards research and conservation projects, so watch this space….
My friends and I started our season as every year, with camping and fishing around the river Wye, and as every year, it was a joy to be there! We caught plenty of fish, although it was a little slower than previous years, each one was appreciated (even the hoards of Chub). The social craic was as good as always!
With the rains we have had, the rivers have been up for the first weeks, and it has been difficult to decide where and when to fish.
The chance for the Avon popped up last week and I took it, the river had good flow and even a little colour which meant perhaps more bites……but a first cast fish of just under 8lb? So it was, a very “special fish” considering I had not visited the area for more than a year, and in those previous visits I was seeing Otters every time, which can be very off-putting. I had laid low and was fishing less than a rod length out over a little pre-bait of hemp, the fish had come in to inspect as I lowered a disguised rig nearby. Nothing until after 20minutes or so a pick up and bolt!! The fight was a royal one, the fish a beautiful one..
This fish had battle scars, part of it`s tail and dorsal had healing damage on them, more about this on a later fish! Just after this, the wind whipped up and brought a – dark as night – storm. This blew out after bouncing rain lasting half hour or so, only for the sun to shine again. This repeated (only not so severely) for the rest of the session.
Things were looking good, and after speaking to other anglers, and avoiding constant showers, it seemed there may be more chances! So I moved to another swim, and the formula worked again…Chub and Barbel up to darkness. Then things went quiet until a couple of bangs suggested fish were near, this didn’t take long to develop into an “I`m gonna ave your rod” bite…and fight. My rod, perhaps a little soft and under-gunned, doubled over in the flow, but managed to handle the battle admirably. The fish pulled so hard, I wonder what the fight would have been like if it had had all of it`s tail…..
It was 10lb 2oz and I was off for a sleep very happy with the afternoon.
A move then in the morning for a cast or two before heading home. Having walked and set up in burning sunshine and heavy rain the trap was set….I then received a call which meant I`d have to pack up and leave right away! I was just turning to do this when the rod decided to do it`s own thing, and head off for the river. Of course I grabbed it just in time, and the drag began to scream, this was an angry fish and felt heavy too!
The initial run had taken more line than I would have liked to allow! The fish had gone down the inside along the lily pads, and was beginning to get the better angle on me, so keeping the line tight, I stripped down to my pants. Waterproof trousers boots socks & all, had to come off quite quickly, and did! I was in the water and walking through the lilies, keeping the line tight very aware that this is when hook pulls happen….I was lucky for my efforts! The fish came up over & through, and was in the net. I was surprised to hear a voice from behind and turn to see another angler just arriving to fish here.
After explaining my wading habits etc I got myself sorted, and then realised the fish was bigger than I had thought, better take a picture…..
Hi all, and a very big welcome from me to the new season….Good Luck and tight lines to everyone out there enjoying our rivers!!
I shall try – as every year – to keep you posted here with updates of how the season is going, and any news or info regarding our rivers and some of the conservation work being done to keep them from harm!
All the best, & keep getting in touch too….
My last couple of colder weather sessions have been on the Wye this year, and I have to say how nice it is to get into some smaller fish and appreciate all of our Barbel, and the scenic places they inhabit! That`s still not to say I wouldn`t mind a Wye double, but I have been very lucky with them and had quite a few in the past seasons. So bites will do for starters…..
The approach and tactics are similar on most rivers in these conditions, particle baits are favoured with maggots being the first on the list, then something smelly, meat perhaps, and a moderate amount per swim! Getting the maggots “in” can often draw all fish and therefore tempt the Barbel into moving to feed.
This done, you can usually get a few bites soon after!
The weather has turned the wildlife upside down, they don`t know anymore if spring has sprung or whether they missed it at Christmas! This said, there was much birdlife on the banks last week with over 10 breeds counted, including a Buzzard and Barn Owl working the field of corn stubble on the opposite bank for movement of they`re next meaty meal, (and a Cormorant, no longer a sea dwelling stranger to our rivers). Not so many birds yesterday though, with a biting North Easterly wind sending all for cover, and making the banks quite devoid of much life at all….though a couple of Barbel still awoke from their new found wintery slumber, and duly put my rod and line under strain!
A happy and content angler is left with the impending close season drawing ever closer…..
Good luck all, I hope you have a fantastic end to your river season.
Just a couple of weeks now of what look to be unfavourable conditions for Barbel!!
But it is always worth taking the air, and trying your luck, perhaps some Chub or Pike may oblige also.
Season`s Greetings to all of you who look in, and best wishes for the new year.
I can tell you, that this year has been a busy one! There have been fish-ins, and away days galore, & all have been really enjoyable experiences with familiar faces, & new friends made too.
Conservation wise, progress is always being made, and I feel privileged to have been invited to work with some great people from whom, I am always learning! I thank everyone for their continued participation in logging observations from our rivers, and ask you all to keep doing so…
Thanks also to the customers I have had the pleasure to meet and share some new ideas and advice with. It has been wonderful to spend the time with you.
Special mentions this year for (in no particular order);
Barbel Fishing Prince of the River (F.B)
The Teme Severn Study
The Barbel Society
The ABF Charity
And, all those friends who have contacted me personally to share thoughts, contribute observations, and ask advice and opinion.
Merry Christmas to one and all!
I attach this picture of one of a pair of “Christmas” Barbel I managed to catch yesterday, conditions look very Barbelish if you can get out over Christmas!!