Monday, 27 January 2014

This and that

The Barbel Show 2014, Sunday 4th May 2014

Chesford Grange Hotel, Coventry Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LD

Speakers include;
John Bailey all round angler, author, TV presenter
Bob Roberts
barbel angler supreme and latest DVD available
Paul Witcher
presents his new DVD Magical Waters
Terry Theobald
barbel fishing my way and assorted tales
Dr Mark Everard
the science of barbel and roach

Large trade room, bait, tackle, books, DVDs, etc all at pre-season prices.
Mega raffle
Tickets available from address below or via Paypal on the BS website.
Members £8 Non Members £10
Wives/partners/children under 16 free.
Tickets in advance from The Barbel Society 17 Mayford Road Poole Dorset BH12 1PT, include SAE.
Cheques payable to The Barbel Society
Paypal surcharge of £1 if paying online

Message from Steve Pope

It really would be good if we could get the next Barbel Society magazine, our tribute to Fred Crouch, out before the Barbel Show. 
For this to happen I'm going to need all the features in by the end of February. 
So what I'm asking is this. 
Anyone who has their own story to tell about Fred please start work on it now, it doesn't have to be long, a mixture of short anecdotes together with a few 1500 word essays will be great. 
Photos as well, I have plenty for back up but if you have your own personal shots that would be brilliant. 
I really want to make this special so I'm relying on a really good response. Many thanks.


Having been watching river levels of both the Trent and Witham I have decided that I don't want to drive for an hour on the off chance of finding either location fishable.
The Lady Pitt stretch access is I'm sure difficult, hearing second hand reports about the long slope up from the river,it was bad enough on my last visit but a lot of water on the fields since then.
The upper Witham is at it's highest so far this year, so not ready for the chub yet.
Praying for a dry patch and frost.
So I decided to go down in the valley for a go at some roach in the big reservoir, but the place is waterlogged access was difficult, the natural springs must be full to over flowing!
So I abandoned that, not wanting to get towed out of the mud.

Another holiday

Having dealt with some things that needed to be done in respect of Jim's house, and still not in a position to progress the sale or clearance,I decided to check out Australia.
I've been wanting to get down there again for some time, picking the time has been difficult.
Anyway we've  bitten the bullet, decided that the best time to visit my brother was out of the cyclone season and to miss high summer and the 40 plus centigrade they've recently been "enjoying". It's tipping it down today!
As I've also been promised some sea fishing from my nieces husband on his new boat, I thought,why not ? I may not get the chance again.
So it's now booked, we are off to Kuala Lumpur for a two night stopover, then Sydney for a few days, fly up to Brisbane, and then fly onto Cairns for a few days.
We have arranged to hire a car to skip down the east coast back to Brisbane, for another couple of days, and then flying across to Perth.
We then fly up to Exmouth to stay with my brother for a week. Australia's coral coast
After that back to Perth for another couple of days with my two other nieces, and nephew.
All in all, a month away from blighty.
As can be imagined we are looking forward to our latest adventure before time closes in on us too much.

First snow of winter

We had some big flakes this morning, heavy for a while and it settled for a while.
It's now gone!

Well,fancy that!

Guardians of the waterways!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Gone but never to be forgotten

Fred Crouch
20th April 1937 - 19th January 2014

It was Sunday afternoon when I read on Steve Pope's blog that Fred Crouch had passed away.
I met Fred at one or two Barbel Shows and met him on the Kennet a couple of years ago.
Most of all, during the putting together of 10 editions of Barbel Fisher, I had long telephone conversations with him in respect of his regular piece for the Barbel Society's members magazine,
Thoughts from The President.

They were long, but enjoyable conversations too, as Fred discussed the content and explained his mostly controversial views.

I came to the conclusion that he thought very much about his world of barbel fishing and using Steve Pope's words, this is how I will remember Fred Crouch. Rest in Peace.

“If you have followed Fred’s writing over the years you will know that there were always a number of subjects that he felt passionate about and where he would often take issue with perceived convention at any given opportunity.
Fred’s arguments were always compelling, he liked to challenge popular beliefs and he had a way of making you look more deeply and question your own. His logical mind and depth of knowledge would mean that you would be in trouble if you took him to task without putting the same effort into your own research.”

See the full text here
Steve Pope has a few words about his best friend.

The latest Thoughts from The President 

Now that would be a good book title, The thoughts of President Fred !

Barbel fishing diary 2007-2008 part 2

Season 16th June 2007 to 14th March 2008 

7th November - Hazelford

I thought I would have a short evening session tonight before darts night and before the forecast heavy winds for the next couple of days.

On arriving at 3:30pm I found that Hobby had already netted 8 barbel from the wall swim, and Steve Brown had arrived just before me and was setting up in "the patio".
 So I decided to fish just down from them( in 111) ,just before the willows.
I checked the very low foamy river, and it gave me a temperature of 10.8c. Air pressure was on the rise from 1021.
I decided to fish both of my Nash Specialist rods, one with the quarter tin of gSpam down the inside under the willows, the other with pellets out into the foam.
One or two chub knocks on the pellet rod, and a couple of twitches that didn't develope, on the inside line.
At 5:15 I started to pack away the pellet rod so that I get away by around 6pm for the journey home.
I wasn't concentrating for the touch on the other rod, so when it suddenly sprang into life with the proverbial three foot twitch, it nearly caught me on the hop.
The Avon Royal Supreme had it's noisy ratchet on, and this bought Steve and Hobby to my side to see what the commotion was. Hobby with the landing net.
After a very good tussle, it was in the net, Hobby said "it's a high 9". 
Rested and weighed it came in at 10:6ozs, my first Trent double.
Steve, took the photo's and I was really  you would expect, and can see!.

After my recovery I finished packing up and headed off along the A46, thinking what shame the darts match was tonight. 
Two hours driving for less than two hours fishing, but I'm not complaining!
A few celebration pints and a good game of winning darts made the day just perfect.

Learned later from the syndicate on- line report that Hobby had 13 barbel and Steve 4.

4th December - Hazelford

 Had time for a few hours again on  filling coloured fast flowing river. The water temperature was 7.9c and the air pressure falling from 1010.

I fished just below the willows for an hour or so but didn't feel confident or comfortable with the river conditions. So I upped sticks and wandered to the end of the fishery.
I set myself up with the two rods and was very soon into a fish on lob worm that I lost having tangled up with my inside line Spam rod!
Nothing happening on the Spam rod, but I continued with two rods, and the worm.
As I was starting to think of giving it up as a bad job, the worm paid off again and I landed after a good tussle a barbel of 7lb9ozs.
So far my quest for a barbel a month is on target.

14thJanuary - Hazelford

 A late morning start saw me at the bottom end of the fishery again, the river was coloured and falling and at 7.4c. Air pressure was rising from 990.
 Once again I fished with two rods the new found method down the inside and the other out into the current, just my side of a fallen willow.
Two barbel of 7lb10oz and about 2lb.
Two hook pulls later saw me off the fishery by 3pm, with my mind telling me no point in staying on.

24th January - Hazelford

I arrived at 11am with the river pushing through and high, once again I headed to the bottom end, to find Steve Frost, MB and PW already in residence in the 2 swims above my intended spot.
No fish caught yet. 
The water was at 8.7c and pressure was rapidly rising from 1024
I had decide to fish one rod with an open end feeder stuffed with damp pellet infused with
N-butyric acid!
I was very quickly into the barbel with fish of 8lb2oz and 9lb8oz and lost a very good roach.
That was about it, with the river still rising,and it felt a bit pointless carrying on,so I packed up at 4:30.
I learnt later, that about an hour into darkness MB landed an excellent roach of 2lb11ozs 

7th February - Hazelford

I arrived at 11:30am to find the river running off but high and with colour.
During the session the water temperature was rising from 7c, as was the air pressure after starting to drop from 1029!
I picked a swim about half way down the fishery and used two rods with halips and gSpam. 

All in all 7 barbel caught, 6 between about a pound and a bit and 8lb 2oz, and  on the big Spam  a record matching from the Trent, a bent backed one eyed fish of
10lb 6ozs. MB was on hand to take the photo's.

1st,6th and 7th March - Hazelford

March arrived with me needing just the one fish to complete my barbel a month target.

The first  trip found me blanking, and the second with a chub of 4lb8ozs on the quarter tin of meat!
Third time lucky, and getting near time to call an end to my quest, found me fishing next to the wall with the usual 2 rods.
Fishing from 10:30 am to 5:30pm without any sign of fish, found me getting desperate, and wondering if I could fit in another session, when a barbel of 6lb2oz decided take my pellet.
That was good enough for me.

My barbel tally 44 after  20 day trips

June                   8 
July                   11
August                3
September         2
October              6
November          1  (10lb6ozs)
December          1
January               4
February             7  (10lb6ozs)
March                 1

So, my two targets were achieved the barbel averaged around 6lb8ozs a piece.

Next season will find me part way through, editing Barbel Fisher and joining the committee of the Barbel Society.
I shall be fishing a few more locations, gradually weaning myself away from Hazelford, but beating my personal best with a barbel, and on the last knockings of the season, matching my chub personal best, both fish from the stretch.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Barbel fishing diary 2007-2008 part 1

Season 16th June 2007 to 14th March 2008 

I've  set myself a new target for season 2007/8, once again at a barbel a month, and I've added a Trent double to add some spice to my quest.

15th -16th  June – Hazelford

Ah the glorious 16th, I still get the buzz.
It’s the eve of the new season, and I’ve arrived at 8:30pm, after a difficult journey through a flooded Middle Rasen.
Met up with TR, CP and AC in the car park.
The river is full to spilling and rising after continuous rain, the evening is now cloudy with showers, the air pressure at 1000 and dropping.
TC commented that in all his memory he had never seen the Trent in flood on season start.
I picked a swim someway down from the weir, as we all did, I was in peg 93 where the river wasn’t pushing through with so much force. The others were upstream of me.
I set up my Fox multi-tip with the pound and three quarter section, the Shimano 5010 loaded with 10lb Pro Gold, a running heavy open end feeder, and a hook length of about 18inches to a size 4 ESP Raptor barbless.
My choice of baits tonight is apple cored pieces of garlic Spam and Teme Severn hali pellets
We await the witching hour and at 12 midnight on the dot, after some daft bugger lets off a firework, we all make our first cast., me with garlicSpam.
My first fish is landed within 10 minutes and is a barbel of 6:12, a great start to the season.
This continues until about 3am with fish of 7:12, 7lb, 3:14, 3.12 & 8:08.
It all went quiet for about an hour and a half for me, and in the meantime I changed to pellet.
and landed a barbel of 5:4, I lost one in the bank side grass and nettles, then a pup and finally a chublet.
All in all a great start with eight barbel in very wet conditions.
Packed up and left for home at about 6am.

5th July – Hazelford

I’ve guested my neighbour Ray Coleman today, the water is rising and is up to the top of the lock wall, much higher than the first day.
We’ve certainly had our fair share of rain this summer…so far.
The forecast is more due!
We wandered downstream away from the main flow, and I fished 93 again, the air pressure 1010 and dropping, the weather cloudy and bright.
Fished with cored garlic Spam from 6:30 am until 12:30pm and landed 6 barbel between 5lb and 9:2.
I lost 4 or 5 to flood snags and nettles, and two hook length breaks.
I must keep a closer eye on my hook lengths for wear and tear in these conditions.
A bonus chub of 5:11 took a liking to the Spam.
Ray had seven barbel to about 7:08, a bream of 5:8 and a small roach.

14/15th July – Hazelford

I’m guesting Gary Knowles for an overnighter. 
He’s bought me down two Nash Specialist barbel rods at 2lb tc; in exchange for a Shimano 10000 which I can’t see myself using.
We meet at 6:30 pm, did the exchange and walked the length of the fishery.
Gary decided he was quite happy to set up next to the wall, so I took the next swim down just before the willows.
It rained all night! The water temperature was 17.3c, air pressure was up and down between 1003 and 1007.
Gary moved down stream at first light after a non productive night. 
A bright cloudy morning and the river was on it's wa y down.
He ended up with 7or 8 chub and a few barbel, but lost more barbel than he landed….fishing too light I think!
All of my fish were chub between 3:8 and 4:10 all on garlic Spam, I also lost a few fish.
We have a new snag brought down by the floods.
The chub appeared to have just finished spawning, one or two still spilling milt!
We left at around 10:30am.

20th July – Hazelford

It’s raining again…!
 An early evening session from 4pm, I’m fishing under the willows, the water temperature at 17.3c.
Steve and Wendy Spiller from Bristol were down as guests of a fellow member, we had a chat I had not met Wendy before, nice couple, although Steve is a bit different when out with the boys. They are staying overnight on the bank.
Barbel are still not having it today, just two chub one at 5lb and the other 4:14 both on gSpam.
I left at about 8pm after saying my goodbyes.

27th July – Hazelford

An afternoon session from 1pm on a bright cloudy day, water level was down from the lock island, about a foot from the top.
I wandered down to 93 and had 2 barbel on gSpam, 3 on pellet along with a 4lb chub, a small bream and roach. The barbel weighed between a 1lb and the biggest being 6:5.
Finished at around 8pm,  meeting Barry the baliff on the way back to the car park.
 He had been fishing from 11am down at the bottom peg where he had 14 barbel "all of an average size".

2nd August – Hazelford

Once again I am guesting Ray for an early morning session arriving at 6:30am
The river is about a foot down on my last visit, but still scooting through.
I fish below the willows, water temperature 17.6c, the air pressure 1011 and rising.
Access to swims is a bit soggy the river needs to drop about another two feet to be at normal levels.
I caught a couple of chub of about 3:8oz and a 1lb on gS.
Ray had one barbel of around 2lb.
We packed at about noon both of a view that the fish weren’t playing, and relaxed over a couple of pints at the Bromley Arms.

9th August – Hazelford

River now at summer levels, temperature 18.6c, AP 1021 and falling.
I started at the wall around 1:30pm, fished for around two hours without a knock.
Met for the first time fellow member Keith  C.
Moved down to the last swim under the willows and within half an hour had a barbel of 4:6 and by the time I left at 7pm no more barbel,but a couple of chub of 3lb and 4:8oz and two very nice half pound roach. All on halips.

23rd/24th August – Yorkshire Ouse - Hazelford

I had a day yesterday on the Yorkshire Ouse with Paul Thompson up from Hereford, he’s staying with us for a couple of nights.
At last knockings, 9pm,  Paul had an 8lb barbel on a quarter of a tin of garlic spam, right under his rod tip, and opened my eyes to a different way of fishing.
No bites for me.

Today, we are at Hazelford and have dropped down to the bottom boundary.
The river is at summer level and it’s a bright sunny day, temperature of the water is 17.8c and air pressure is on the rise from 1025.
I started to use the quarter tin of gSpam as shown to me by Thomo, it required a bit of roughing up, and I fished it straight through to a size 4 Raptor. 
Paul started just up from me and moved back up stream during the afternoon.
Bearing in mind he fished down the inside yesterday, it seemed to be the way to go, so I cast out into the flow and let the meat find it’s own station on the nearside.
In a very short time, with MB sitting behind me for a chat, I felt the line tighten and moved the rod towards the fish. Shorlty after and with a few nudges, that had me twitching to strike, it started moving off taking line off the freespool, I reeled in to connect the freespool and struck. 
The fish, was on it’s way at top speed across the river before I had a chance to do anything about it!
Unfortunately I had my 5010 tension fully tightened up. I had not checked it and loosened it off!
To cut a short story short, my 10lb line broke with a crack at the spool rim. 
So an unseen big fish was off and running with a few yards of line still attached!
We guessed at a carp, or maybe catfish, but no idea really!
My first barbel to the new method was at about 5:30pm and weighed 8lb6oz followed an hour and a half later by one of 9lb4oz. 
Two chub followed, one of 3lb, and the last fish on my last cast, of 4lb8oz, it took the quarter tin in one go as it hit the water!!
Thomo blanked!

21st/22nd September River Wye - Moccas Bredwardine

Ten of us from the syndicate had been organized for a couple of nights at The Red Lion.

I arrived at 2pm and got myself booked in, had a pint and a chat with the owner/landlord Mike, before heading off to the bridge and an upstream trudge.
Having never seen, let alone fished the Wye, it was all a bit of a surprise to me. Especially the almost vertical banks
So at about 3:30 a bit knackered,  I started fishing, having walked some way to avoid the steep banks and taking too much tackle and bait. The river was up and coloured.
I fished a swim, I think called the rapids, anyway it’s between two sets of them.
I tried the big spam, and on my first cast I was into a lumbering fish that came off after a few minutes, I didn’t see it, and my spam came back unmarked.
It was later surmised by DB, to have probably been a pike.
Later I switched to pellets and maggots and had two small barbel of around a pound and a pound and a half on each bait, and a few small chub.
I packed up at about 7pm for the long trudge to the Red Lion, before it got dark and so that I could find my way back.
After a session in the bar and a good night sleep, we were up for breakfast and  off upstream in a car with TC and Scottie, not certain where we were but access to the river was through a farm yard.
We fished from about 10am to 7pm.  I had a small chub, and that was about it.

3rd October – Hazelford

A morning start at 7am with Ray again.
The river is low with a water temperature of 13.6c and pressure was falling from 1019.
It was bright and cloudy and I decided to fish just before the willows, Ray in the wall swim.
I used my Grice & Young matched with the Nash Specialist, again straight through with the quarter tin, allowing the meat to drift in with the current to under the willows.
Within the first hour I had two barbel of 9:4 and 9:10.
No further fish on that method, so I switched to halips, and had 3 more barbel of 6:12, 7:4 and 8:12. Between 10:45 and when we left for the pub at 1pm.
Ray in the meantime had lost two fish to snags, and an eight pound bottom! 
I gently reminded him that to fish for barbel in this stretch, he needed to step up his gear.

30th October - Hazelford

I guested Mick Howson today on a low clear river of 12.1c and rising pressure from 1020.
We fished from 8am and Mick chose to fish the wall and “the patio” without catching.
I dropped just below him and had one barbel of just under 5lb on pellet.

Two o’clock found us in the Bromley Arms!

My barbel tally 30 fish so far after 13 day trips

June                   8 
July                   11
August                3
September         2
October              6

So, more barbel than the whole of last season so far, but who's counting...certainly not me, I have never been a numbers man.

Part 2 will follow shortly. November starts very well for me.