It`s the ABF Challenge time again…

Yes readers, I am happy to say that I shall be getting involved with Jerry Gleeson`s annual ABF challenge next week…please help and give your generous support at // this link can also be found on the front page… I shall be joining the “Southern Fairies” team as a guest in the last day`s, on the rivers Severn and Wye…Everyone is really looking forward to “having a go” and raising lots of money for a worthy cause! Good luck to all for the Challenge!!

The Latest For July…

Well here we are a month in, and we have had some fun and games, and good fish to boot!
My diary updates begin from my close season ramblings and sightings, which – on certain rivers – looked positive, with fish spawning and even feeding a little too.


The Start of a New Season!! (Good Luck)

Well here it is my fellow enthusiasts…..a new seasons eve!!! I for one shall be out with many other like minded river lovers this week. I wish you all the very best of luck and good health for the new season…
I shall be posting some updates of the Close Season Spawning, Barbel Society Show and the “Observational Study” news, in the coming weeks, and – of course – any catch reports as they happen!
Oh… and some info and links for the latest Barbel Society challenge in aid of the ABF to follow too!
Tight lines…

The Last Week! (And Cold Feet).

The Barbel are biting! Spring is in the air…so good luck to everyone getting out this final week of the season.

Be sure to check the predictions page, I am like mystic meg!

The big story from my last trip was about the fish which took off like a rocket and nearly got tethered, once again I had to take off my bottom half and wade into a river only 6 celcius, (it does not take long for the pain to turn to numbness in water this temp). By the time we both managed to get out, I was shaking & shivering but we were both ok. My feet finally came back to me in the car on the journey home!

Here are a few pictures of some from my last sessions;

8lber with a sreaming take!!

8lber with a sreaming take!!

11lb 6oz... what a fright and fight this one gave!

11lb 6oz… what a fright and fight this one gave!

Finally resting and recovering to swim away, and fight another day.

Finally resting and recovering to swim away, and fight another day.

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.