Des Tay­lor’s Di­ary of a Coun­try­man

Sev­ern bar­bel sport comes to a halt when this tide of filth is flow­ing down

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

THE Sev­ern is now low and clear and, for most an­glers, catch­ing fish is get­ting harder by the minute.

I am still do­ing well by fish­ing a lit­tle dif­fer­ently from the rest, and my cus­tomers and I are tak­ing lots of chub and bar­bel. The good news is, the river is full of fry, which is great for fu­ture sport.

Here’s how my week went…

WED­NES­DAY

Went chub fish­ing on a lit­tle river but strug­gled be­cause the wa­ter was so low. I fished my own cheese paste and took four small ones to about 2lb.

I had to travel for about an hour to get there, and when I did ar­rive it was a night­mare. The banks were so over­grown I don’t think any­one else had been on there this year, never mind this sea­son!

Is it me, or are there more and more net­tles on river­banks these days? Some are as tall as I am, and they sting like hell! I’m just glad I didn’t go in my shorts – that would have been re­ally painful!

SATUR­DAY

Two broth­ers from Kent, James and Paul Thom­sett, had never caught a bar­bel so they booked a guid­ing day with me to see if I could put that right.

My ‘bait-and-wait’ tac­tics paid off again and they had six bar­bel and three chub. On a very clear river with the sun high in the sky that was a right re­sult. As you can see from the photo, they en­joyed film­ing on a day I think they will re­mem­ber for a long time.

Un­til about 10 years ago I don’t think I could have guided an­glers to fish the way I do now, be­cause I still wanted to catch every­thing my­self. These days I have reached the point when I think I can spare time to in­tro­duce oth­ers to the de­lights of river fish­ing.

I hope this will be my en­dur­ing legacy – that at a time when lots of an­glers are moan­ing about poor river fish­ing I am show­ing them that run­ning wa­ter is still the place to be.

SUN­DAY

I spent a few hours on my own, fish­ing into dark, and after a very slow start I caned them! I had nine bar­bel and a chub, which came right at the death when the bar­bel had stopped feed­ing, al­low­ing the smaller fish to get to my home­made boilie.

Among river fish, only bream can com­pete with the bar­bel when they are in a feed­ing mood.

Dace, roach and chub all have to wait their turn till the bar­bel have had their fill or you have scared them off! I got back home at about 1am and poured my­self a dou­ble Jameson Ir­ish whiskey, a birth­day present from a dear friend, and sat there with a rather big grin on my face.

MON­DAY

Another evening’s fish­ing, this time on a dif­fer­ent river but again after bar­bel. I caught a few fish, and good ones at that. My ‘bait-and-wait’ tac­tics are pay­ing off ev­ery­where I fish.

Most an­glers make their first cast well be­fore the fish have gained in con­fi­dence. Some­times it’s bet­ter to leave the rods out of the wa­ter and in the rests, rather than in the swim. So many an­glers think that it’s the tackle they are us­ing that will catch them fish, but what makes a good an­gler is not tackle but the way he feeds!

The prob­lem is, you can’t teach an­glers how to feed be­cause it changes each ses­sion, of­ten by the hour. It’s some­thing that comes with ex­pe­ri­ence, and I’m afraid you can’t buy that in a tin!

TUES­DAY

Another guid­ing day, but after four hours with­out a sin­gle line bite I can­celled the trip and made ar­range­ments for another time.

If the an­glers fish badly that’s one thing, but the dreaded foam

was on the wa­ter, the river was dead and the two lads didn’t stand a chance, so it was only fair to give them another crack at it.

This is the foam that has been wreck­ing fish­ing on the Sev­ern for three years now, and noth­ing is be­ing done about it.

I know some of it is com­ing from wa­ter treat­ment plants along the river and I also know that some of it is com­ing from the back-street car washes that flush de­ter­gent and acid for wash­ing wheels and body­work straight down the drains and into the river.

Thou­sands of an­glers sup­port these cheap car washes and don’t re­alise the dam­age they are do­ing to our fish­ing.

I walked up the river and spoke to five an­glers, but I knew what they would say be­fore I even asked: “Not a touch, Des.”

This is the time of year our river species should be feed­ing up, yet there are many days like this on the Sev­ern when they do not eat for 12 hours or more.

Where are the Angling Trust and EA? I’ll tell you what they say: “Des, can you phone when you see it and make out a re­port of days and dates when it hap­pened?”

Sorry folks, you lot get paid good money to know when pol­lu­tion is reg­u­larly en­ter­ing our river, and it’s your job to get off your back­sides and stop it!

Three years this has been go­ing on, and not a thing is be­ing done about the foam that ru­ins our sport – what a joke!

WED­NES­DAY

Got my gear ready for a few days away with my mate Ray Cut­ler.

We take our own gear, but I look after the bait and Ray looks after the grub – hope he re­mem­bers the Cor­nish cracker cheese from Marks and Spencer, my all-time favourite!

Just one of the many bar­bel I have caught this sea­son on my ‘bait-and-wait’ tac­tics’, with a boilie on the hair.

James and Paul Thom­sett en­joyed film­ing their ses­sion with me.

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