Winter barbel & the fish that found the thorns, a “bramble barbel”…

A lunchtime start saw me on the banks of the lower Severn on a fairly mild (for the time of year) day before Christmas. The wind was blowing warmer than previous days and the barometer was saying “low”, normally good conditions for winter barbel. A walk upstream from my first field swim of choice might buy me a bite or two.

After 15 minutes or so with rod in hand, pasted pellet on the hook, and a feeder full of goodies, would they resist? Could they resist?

Nope!

Two in a row before darkness descends and teatime looms, lovely. Moving nearer to the car, we were treated to a Geminid meteor shower, shooting stars while catching barbel, two more followed on this mild evening. A good sleep and move to catch up with some friends for Christmas before another try on another stretch. 

The water temps had risen and so had hopes of a bite! Until that is, I met a chap packing up after 2 bite-less days. Oh well, in it to win it and all that, I`m here now, (after a long walk with a squeaking bucket, bag and boots)! 

I chose a spot to leave the bait as long as possible…40 minutes in, it ripped off! Steaming downstream for freedom, the fish was strong and heavy, it finally came upstream towards me before running headlong through a whole bramble bush, & tethering my side of the line so that I could only pull against the flexible branches of the bush.

We were in a fix, the fish was well hooked, but we were both pulling to no effect, so with no other option, but to open the bail arm, I did. Then I set off for the long walk back to the car to collect my loppers, saw and waders, this had become a simultaneous capture “and” rescue service. Eventually, after “much ado” the fish was safely landed and the bush trimmed! I was also well warmed up after the walk and gardening…The troublesome beauty was 11lb 2oz and well worth the hassle!

 

After just the one cast taking so long with weighing and photographs etc added to the rescue, I had to have another and within five or so minutes this time, I was attached again!! A great scrap and this resulting fat fish of 10lb 4oz….

This one had a mark on it which I believe may distinguish it as one of the tagged fish from the recent tagging for the Teme/Severn barbel movement study, this is a nice turn-up to know that the fish is well, and back in the area that it was before, after extensive travelling through the summer!

After this pre-Christmas session I had no chance to get out until a post-Christmas/new year session with my youngest son. So a bit of camping and touring around the countryside was in order as well as a fish or two. Conditions were good again, catching the end of some mild weather new years day!

We were caught in some showers just getting to our swim and he was already “freezing” and letting me know it!! Luckily it didn`t take very long at all for our rod to bend into action, and this fighting fit fish of 8lb 8oz to arrive….

He was chilled.

A great result and strange to see that the fish only had one full barbule and 2 completely missing!

We moved on then to dry off and check out the Shropshire countryside, where we stopped off and slipped the net under another beauty before heading for home, happy with our lot. 

This winter is proving to be very mild and the fish are responding well , lots of bites on many rivers, check out the predictions page here…and make the most, tight lines!

Predictions of fishing on various rivers

A January Sale….

Hi to all who are looking in!

As we are all “too” aware the prices of everything are rising and for this business, fuel costs are near the top! (In fact a fuel sponsor would be the biggest asset, If you are reading, Shell or BP)…

To ease us in to the new year, we are going to keep our coaching prices as per last year, until the end of this season (for any days booked in advance for the summer also). So please do take advantage and grab a day at these prices before fuel and running costs create the next rise!

Please feel free to contact me for further info &/or follow this link….

Coaching

Is it time to fish yet….?

A big hello to all those who are reading this! 

It is close enough now to taste the new seasons arrival, so good luck to you all for a season filled with expectation, I hope it brings all that you hope it will and more!

To follow my progress, check in here for some regular updates on catches and experiences over the coming weeks, thanks for all the support you have shown over a very strange past season.

Tight lines & wet nets,

Shaun.

Opening day…..

Not long now folks until midnight and the start of another season! 

Good luck and tight lines to all of you who look in on here, I wish you all the very best wishes and fishes for the year…

Tight lines,

Shaun.

Barbel On The Move….

 Barbel on the move.
 
                     

One for tagging!! 10lb6.5oz

 
Following on from Dr Catie’s PhD Study, Pete Davies has carried the mantle over, and currently studies the movement of barbel as well as other migratory fishes which include: Shad, lamprey and barbel, for ongoing research with Bournemouth University.
 
In my own small way I have helped out where possible with catching barbel for tagging and following and locating barbel post tagging. I am happy to report that it is planned for more tagging to take place later this year.
 
The diagrams of fish movement make for fascinating viewing, with some fish movement surpassing expectations. The barbel are especially interesting, as they seem to have no “common” modus operandi, therefore fish of similar age and size can be seen to eat different things and travel in different directions and for different distances/reasons…?
 
Scale samples of these fish can determine age/diet and consequently, health and well being to some degree. 
 

Scale sampling..

 
Two examples of barbel movement findings are:
 
1)     A large female fish of over 10lbs was caught in the Lower Severn in Oct 2018, where she was resident for that winter. She then started “travelling” in March 2019 with 2 visits to a virtually impassible weir (Diglis). After these sorties, she entered the river Teme in April 2019 and travelled up that river passing 2 weirs only to be found in May (after much searching) several miles upstream at Cotheridge. This is one example of the travels and lengths one fish will go to, to spawn! She was later in July 2019 found to be back where she was caught in Oct 2018 on the Lower Severn.
Epic, by road, the journey is approx 18 miles (one way), by river it would be similar if not slightly more.
 
2)     Three fish of similar age (year group) caught from within a few hundred meters of each other in Oct 2018 took altogether different journey’s. Thereafter, one was last seen/tracked Jan 2019, 20 miles downstream and maybe up the river Warks Avon, heading out of receiver range! Another had travelled half the distance downstream and settled, while the third barely travelled more than 2 miles in any direction away from what must have been “home”. The movement is varied to say the least, the reasons are harder to find than the barbel!
 

Measuring..

                                                     Ongoing research.
 
Some of you may already know that I am currently looking after the fishing at a place called Bransford Court on the river Teme. You are perhaps also aware of the partial removal of the weir at Powick, which is downstream of Bransford and the only man-made physical obstacle to fish movement upstream – from the lower river Severn between Tewkesbury Weir and Diglis Weir – into the Teme.   
 
The migration between these rivers makes for very interesting reading. Given the chance, it seems, (as many anglers have said over the years) the fish of the Severn will travel long distances up the Teme and no doubt the Warks avon at Tewkesbury, for various reasons including food proliferation, and certainly spawning migrations.
 
I now look forward with bated breath, to the incoming data of movement from those barbel over the past winter and ongoing spring. Hopefully this summer we shall see just where and when these epic movements have taken place again. Having access to the Bransford fishery has enabled me to track and trace many different fish over the last several spring/summer seasons. Now the weir has been partially removed the results of last spring/summer were quite exciting, with groups of fish seen spawning, which had most likely came up from the Severn. Some then staying for summer and others moving on.
 

Aeration tank!

 
The studies are ongoing and shall hopefully reveal more as the seasons show themselves, and the fish travel with (maybe) more ease, than they were previously able. I shall let you know more as it becomes available….
 
                                                  All the best for the coming season,            
                                                   the angling conservationist.
 
NB, It was planned that Pete and I would hold a table at the Barbel Society Show this coming June, where Pete would produce the latest movement data and graphics, but please rest assured that whenever possible, these findings will be made available to all interested parties. 
Thanks to Laura Bullock and the EA for these images!
 

A Glorious start….

The 16th finally came, and with it, some fairly exceptional rainfall!! The rivers rose fast and were near the banks and over for some, but where you could get a line in to find the fish, they were generally there to find you and bite… as was the case with my biggest season starter here of 12lb 2oz!

A flooded summer starter!

Floodwater Fishing!

With the season begun, it was time for camping and refreshments (Ray) as well as a few fish. Also good fishing on falling rivers for a few of my customers, with the Wye and Severn both producing the goods. I`ll be sure to be out looking again this week and will keep you all posted….

The 16th!!

I`ll just take this chance to wish you all the very best for the new season, enjoy, and make the most of those moments which only anglers will understand!!

See you all around, tightest lines,

Shaun.

Update No 2….

Here we are with the season fast approaching, and the rain tapping our windows, so perhaps we won’t have the scorching start of 2017 after all. Hopefully we won’t have the flooded start of 2012 either!

This diary account is the catch up for my season`s end ready for a fresh start after the new seasons beginning. So it was a pretty special season in many ways, and I had some truly great days, sometimes it took hours before things came good, and others, only minutes.

Back when it was a little colder, just a couple of day`s before Christmas….low pressure, constant rain & higher air temps had prompted a night roving trip. After a chub and some knocks a move was required, I met up with a friend and caught several chub on maggots before it was time for him to pack up and say goodbye, as he was loading the car my rod pulled positively round and on!

To both of our surprise this was most definitely a barbel, after giving a great account of herself she fell into the waiting net and was bigger than either of us had thought. The scales tipped over 13lb to 13lb 5oz, what a beauty and worth the wait. The photo`s were kindly taken, and the fish was rested, as I bid him good bye and cast one last cast (slightly downstream and away), before heading home for Christmas.

That last cast did not take too long (ten minutes max), before turning into a screaming running fish which took line for fun and played hard in the extra winter flow. As she emerged it was evident that she was another big fish and she weighed in at 10lb 4oz, two in two casts after an hour of quietness and my friend could only have been at the end of the road! Merry Christmas.

Another great session followed in the new year with 10 barbel from a slightly rising level and temp river Severn. These came in a few hours through the afternoon, so I stayed over until the next day as conditions seemed to be improving! And so it proved, the fish were feeding once again and i beat my record for barbel caught in successive casts (12) with 13 this time before a missed bite. Then followed up with a few more and finished with 17 on the day, no chub both days!

These day`s don`t just happen for me, as was proved when with customers for a couple of days on the Wye. The first day was good and we had a pb and several barbel for them, but rather than follow this in the same way the next day, I decided to take them somewhere with a chance of more….and a chance to try a variation on methods already tried. This worked out well and after building a swim each they both caught several barbel in stunning surroundings about as natural a day as we could find.

The season ended with high waters, but not impossible, I finished with this fish of 8lb4oz among a few others! 

Update No 1….

Hi all, the Bristol Barbel Botherer is back with some news of captures, and I`m going to start this one as a bit of a tribute to my customers so far.

Many thanks to you all for your support!

And to everyone who recommends to others taking some of my coaching, you too have helped a lot.

I have been lucky enough to take out some great people who have been responsive, enthusiastic, and good fun. Thank you.

The day`s have ranged from half day “walks and talks” with a view to my approach and/or guiding on certain areas, to, a full day (and more) angling experience with (hopefully) a fish or two thrown in. As is the case with fishing, you can never be 100% sure of catching, or any other circumstances for that matter, but with this in mind, we have done very well!

  • New for May and early June 2019 – “Walk, Talk, & Stalk” A chance to at least have a look and talk fishing even if you can`t wet a line! Just contact me for more details…