The Man on a Mission…..

Conrad Farlow has set himself the task of catching a barbel from “50” different rivers! I have been following his progress for a while, and when he mentioned that the Bristol Avon was proving to be a lot more difficult than he had anticipated, I thought I would lend him some support and try to get permission for him to fish on my club water. Having made the necessary arrangements a couple of weeks ago, we were ready for a try last Saturday. The river had been going up during the week and fishing well, it is a river that fishes well on the “up” but not always well when dropping. With this in the back of my mind we set off for the river and a 9am start.
This start allowed us plenty of time to walk the river and get a feel for it, it was dropping back from a few feet up, so this would make the chances a little fewer & farther between, but we had all day and into the evening, so no problem??
I am so glad that Conrad`s company was good, because the fishing was awful, we had a good laugh and though not even a Chub pulled our string properly, he was magnanimous and more keen for next time.
I will keep you posted…

Conrad has caught barbel from 45 rivers so far!! For the full list you can click this link; http://www.barbel-fishing.com/blog/rivers-race/

From Low and Clear, to Up and Coloured.

We have had the builders in, so dust and chaos at home have been the order for us. A new bathroom and boy`s bedroom shall be the reward very soon…..We hope!
So last Thursday amid the noise and fuss I beat a hasty retreat to the river, there by late afternoon I planned to spend a few hours looking and trying, and then moving rivers for the evening spell. Having found very little to spot – standing on a high bank watching the gravel below – the orange of fins could just be seen, and the pale (well disguised fish) were happy to feed! The bite took 5 to 10 minutes and the small (well proportioned) barbel was taking me all around the swim.
Two hours later with the light fading fast and scurrying animals making their presence known, the rod tip plunged well beyond a twitch, and a second larger fish was on board. Buoyed with optimism, I went to the next river and fished well into the night without one positive bite! Nevermind there’s always next time for this river and it was as low and clear as it had been since the Spring, (excuses always in hand).
So this Tuesday with some very novel plans in hand for this weekend, (which i shall post about afterwards) the decision was made to head to rivers with the best chance of a big one. The rain had been pouring and the rivers rising rapidly, I would try the Kennet this afternoon for a few hours and then move off to another river that might be higher??
The Kennet (plenty of crays) had hardly any colour in it and was only an inch or so up, surprised, I set some traps (not cray fish ones) and roved a few swims in turn. Choosing one swim to fish into dark, a result way beyond my expectations followed shortly, this fish of 13lb 5oz!!
Time then to move on and once I arrived the river was 6 foot up and well coloured too, the fish were willing to feed if you could lay the bait down, and first cast a fish was on, a few more followed and the night was completed with this 10lb 2oz fish which fought like it had been hooked in the tail!! After a short sleep in the car – rudely interupted by heavy deluges of water – a quick cast before heading home and this little beauty took the biscuit!!
And my next instalment will be detailing a trip this Saturday with a man “on a mission”!!

Update…

The picture`s in “Some More Pic`s” are from this Wye trip and the following Bristol avon trip!
In this post I am playing catch-up as I have been for two sessions (one long one too) since my last brief post. The first session was another chance to try for some Bristol Avon fish with a view to then moving and sleeping in the car and fishing a different river. After spending an afternoon stalking and finding no fish willing to oblige, except “5” Chub to 4lb, (they were very keen) it was well into dark and time to try somewhere else just to get that great sport the Barbel gives. It is worth pointing out that I had seen a fish that was well into double figures and had a distinctive tail bite, it moved into the swim and fed in one visit, then left not to return. I would have to go back to try for this fish!!
So to the Wye where I would sleep in the car and fish the next morning before heading home. Upon arrival after coffee for the drive, I was still well awake and game to try for a bite, The first 3 cast`s produced 3 barbel and my arm had felt some action! One more barbel and I was off to sleep, and sleep I did. Morning came late and after several more bites and barbel, it was lunchtime and time to go home!
The nights are certainly getting colder and the days crisper and brighter, this morning of September 10th on the Bristol Avon was a beauty. The plan was thought out in my head, no feed this time until the line was in the swim, and everything hidden as best I could, time to try for that big girl. With the trap set it took 5 minutes for fish to arrive, the big one and a smaller one of 6lb or so. The dinner bell had rung but the big fish simply picked up one or two free offerings and left the swim heading upstream, the other fish stayed and after 20 minutes or so fell for the trap. This fish had a section of tail bitten clean away and still bleeding, as seen in “Some more pic`s”.
I thought these were the only two fish nearby, so recast in the hope that the big one would return, it did not, but another fish did appear and after a short time it was hooked. Almost the same weight as the other, this fish also had tail damage!
Before moving I had to try again, but the biggy still did not return and to my total surprise another barbel snuck in and grabbed the hook, at 5lb it was smaller than the other two but great fun all the same. Moving to one more area I managed one more barbel of 4lb before heading home for tea, this was quite a surprise after two blank sessions to catch “4” barbel on the B.A. very pleasing and not all Doom and Gloom!

We can`t catch all the time!!

It was the turn of my youngest to try for a barbel,in an afternoon session after our Sunday roast, she had been looking forward to this for weeks, we had great fun up and down banks and roving the Avon. But to no avail even for a chub! The river had been up and the fish feeding in the days before, but for all the anglers we spoke to the same was happening today, nothing. But for Isobel this was not as much of a disaster as it was for me, she loved being out and seeing the wildlife all around us, and looked forward to her tea al-fresco! It was back to school tomorrow so we had to miss that chance into dark, but we stayed till the light was fading and had some tentative pull`s that did not develop. We left with lots of talk about what would be next time!!

Body Boards and Wet Suits.

We are back from a spell in Cornwall, that`s right catching waves and making a splash whatever the weather!! Though I am itching to get out and have had reports of lots of big barbel to 16lb+ I am unsure of just where now to start my next challenge? But if that`s all I have to worry about then what`s the worry? Though last night looked very good for a bite I could not get out, so shall be out very soon and shall post how it goes…. Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY John!!!

Maggot Madness and A New Section of Severn to Try.

It was late in the evening and my wife had ventured to put the bins out in my absence, only to find maggots pouring from the top of the wheelie! What a laugh, she was mortified and I was telling her not to waste them and to be fair she did well, donning her marigolds and shying away. I was shortly home to help, and of course take a picture and have a laugh at her frantic panic that the bin persons may not take our bin. All`s well that end`s well, the maggots are now safely in a box in the bait fridge awaiting their date with destiny.
Next day was a short evening session to try a completely new venue on the Lower Severn for Mark and I, the location was said to hold rarely caught large fish. Our timing was not the best with conditions being low and clear and not ideal for the Severn at all, let alone the Lower reaches. The area was really quite remote and very promising, we had only cows for company and not a soul for miles and miles (or so it seemed). After a long walk and look around we settled on a couple of swims to bait and see if we could get a bite between us, the weather was muggy going into the last hour of sunlight and we were sure a bite would come. Sure enough as darkness enveloped all around, the tip`s began to knock, and a bite or two came, unfortunately the bites were not the barbel we were after, but Bream! Typical Severn Bream, big and hungry, we had a couple each and decided that this was a result (of sorts) as it was our first attempt and a short one at that. Maybe we shall try again when the river conditions are more likely to be obliging, but for now it`s home work done!

Back On The Bristol Avon!

I could not resist the temptation of my local river, and within minutes of just my journey to it, I was feeling quite high and optimistic, (ready to fork out for a local permit). Rightly so as it turned out, the afternoon was warm and sunny and you could see the fish to be targeted. The surroundings are beautiful and only the birds could be heard along with the rippling water, what a day to watch barbel and every other fish behaving naturally in their environment. This does not always mean they will be easy to catch, but it can fill the viewer with confidence for chances of a bite or two. And so it was in this vein that I dropped a line into a swim where 5 minutes before 5or6 barbel from 3.5lb to 10ishlb were avidly feeding. Having set the trap I awaited what I thought would be an instant response, it was instant….nothing. The fish had spooked and it was going to be a matter of getting their confidence back before we could see or hook one, so with regular feed little and often, the barbel could not resist coming back for a look.
This is when the adrenalin really kicks in, the fish were inches from the hookbait and as I watched fully expecting the lift and bolt from a hooked fish, the fish lifted off and breezed across the river and into the sanctuary of cover. This happened 3 or 4 times in the next hour or so, the need for change was upon me and so I would try bouncing the bait through a faster flowing part of the swim. As I did this on the first run through two fish were watching under their cover and they were twitching with interest, the rear fish pounced out and onto the bait, (wrench the rod went) and into the fight we went. The fish was fast and pulled to run around the midstream rushes using the current against me, we pulled at one another and (because of his size) I got the better of this prime fish!
As the sun set on a half decent summers afternoon, I felt completely attached to the surroundings and at one with the environment in which I was stood. With one more cast on dark I tried a meat approach from a different point in the swim, and it only took a few minutes to get a response, a positive pull lead then to a fighting fit fish of 7lb, one of the bigger ones! A wonderful result and a happy angler heading back to the car, for a much shorter drive than of late, and able to get take-away and see my beautiful wife before she had “hit the hay”!

A Lovely (bit wet) Day, with my Keen Daughter, and “10” Barbel!!

It was my eldest daughter Emily`s turn for a trip out on the banks of some river somewhere which might hold barbel for us to have a go at! The rain came down and made things a little difficult for comfort and for access, but nothing was going to dampen our enthusiasm today. After showing my daughter the ropes she was able to hold the rod and feel a barbel take on our first cast, it was a bit much and too heavy for her really. The river was running with a small amount of colour and the fish were willing to feed, so the bites came steadily through the afternoon. The swim is a typical barbel holding area with a snag and steady flowing oxygenated water to cast to, the fish will come up under the rod tip when they are feeding well, they were not far off on this afternoon! Emily was a tonic to be with, lots of questions and always willing to try, she seemed to thoroughly enjoy the day with dad, she also took these pictures! A photographer in the making! We finished the day on dark with 2 chub and 10 barbel to 8lb, another day to remember when the bites are a lot harder to come by.