Angling Times (UK) - - YOUR FISHING WEEK -

S a young­ster brought up catch­ing small dace and roach on the North West’s River Dee, bar­bel didn’t ex­ist ex­cept in the pages of Angling Times.

And rivers like the Hants Avon might as well have been on a dif­fer­ent planet when you weren’t old enough to drive.

Then I dis­cov­ered that some lads in my lo­cal club ar­ranged an an­nual trip ‘south’ to the River Sev­ern to fish for them – I had to go. I fondly re­mem­ber the day I first saw a bar­bel in the flesh and the bat­tle it gave me on a feeder rod older an­glers would prob­a­bly de­scribe as a ‘win­klepicker’. My old DAM reel creaked with ev­ery turn of the han­dle, but the fish was mine – all 3lb of it!

Now bar­bel can be found al­most ev­ery­where. But their wider spread doesn’t au­to­mat­i­cally make them any eas­ier to catch. Take my col­league Mark Sawyer, for ex­am­ple. We put him on one of the Trent’s best swims for this week’s tackle test and for four hours he couldn’t get a bite, even though he could see the fish in his swim.

How­ever, as soon as the sun dis­ap­peared be­hind a bank of clouds he had one of those un­miss­able ‘bend your rod to the butt’ bites you only get with this species.

The re­sult was a fan­tas­tic dou­ble-fig­ure fish that looked like it had been freshly minted from some golden forge. Pick your time, pick your spot, use the right baits and get ready for the fight of your life!

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