FIVE DAYS OF FRANTIC RIVER BAR­BEL AC­TION

De­spite low, clear wa­ter I catch well from the Sev­ern and the Trent – on boilies!

Angling Times (UK) - - DES TAYLOR: DIARY OF A COUNTRYMAN -

THE Sev­ern is get­ting lower by the day and with hot, dry weather pre­dicted, catch­ing fish is get­ting more and more dif­fi­cult.

But with my lo­cal knowl­edge and be­cause I’m will­ing to fish any time of the day I’m still catch­ing my share.

Here’s how my week went...

THURS­DAY

Headed up to a new stretch of river to look at some swims for perch fish­ing in the win­ter. I’ve heard that the wa­ter also holds some 20lb-plus pike.

As I pad­dled the ca­noe I saw big perch all over the place at­tack­ing fry, and a few bar­bel rolling too. I fancy a few days from the ca­noe with lures in the win­ter when the river is low and clear – I think it could be very spe­cial in the mid­dle reaches, with un­tapped fish­ing for sev­eral miles.

FRI­DAY

Took Neil Watkins from Wales and Macca Bradley on a guided day on the Sev­ern at Bewd­ley. I had never met Neil, but Macca and I go back a few years from fish­ing and drink­ing in Ludlow.

We had a great day to­gether with lots of ban­ter about them be­ing coun­try bump­kins and me be­ing a townie. In be­tween the laughs the rods went over 16 times to the tune of 11 bar­bel, one chub and four fish lost in a snag we had to cast near to in order to get a take.

In the present clear con­di­tions, some days the fish are not leav­ing the shel­ter of the snags, which make for very in­tense fish­ing and no room for look­ing any­where but at the rod-tips!

Neil got his first take as he was look­ing at his feet. “You’ve got a take!” I shouted. “Which rod?” came the re­ply. “The one with the mas­sive bend in it!” Macca nearly fell in the wa­ter with laugh­ter and that’s how it was all day. Great fun!

SUN­DAY

My mate Ray Cut­ler picked me up at 9am for a trip to the Trent for a 24-hour ses­sion af­ter bar­bel.

We were go­ing to a new stretch that had pro­duced some good fish in the past. The river was low and very clear and we ex­pected day­time fish­ing to be very dif­fi­cult. So it proved – we never even had a liner on our four rods un­til dark­ness fell. We were us­ing boilies, and in the dark we could hear the odd bar­bel rolling in our swims.

We ended up with four, the best fall­ing to my rod at 12.30 am at a very nice 10lb 10oz. The other fish were all around 7lb-8lb – a nice av­er­age. A bar­bel is a bar­bel. Let’s get away from this ‘what is your big­gest?’ syn­drome.

Some peo­ple think that if you have caught an 18lb bar­bel you are bet­ter than a guy whose big­gest is 14lb. Where you fish has a big bear­ing on the size of bar­bel you can catch. You sim­ply can­not catch an 18-pounder if there are none there and not every­one is like me, will­ing to travel any­where to sat­isfy a huge ego!

When it got dark Ray cooked steak sand­wiches and we swilled them down with a beer and a lovely glass of port, my cheeks red and warm.

MON­DAY

Af­ter four fish in two hours it went quiet so we packed up and left at 10am af­ter a fried breakfast

supplied by Ray­mondo. The Trent makes a nice change from the mid­dle Sev­ern. I must ad­mit the thought of hold­ing a 15lb-plus bar­bel ex­cites us both a great deal!

TUES­DAY

What a day! I took out Dave and Daz from York­shire, who had never fished the Sev­ern be­fore. They caught bar­bel to 10lb and chub to 5lb 2oz, and we saw a goshawk fly­ing over­head. It doesn’t get any bet­ter than that!

The fish­ing was slow to start with, when there was lots of foam on the wa­ter, but when it stopped the swim ex­ploded into life, with the bar­bel tak­ing the boilies as the rig hit the bot­tom. We ended up on the Bewd­ley stretch with Ray, and we showed the York­shire pair where to fish the next day.

WEDNES­DAY

Ray’s turn for a dou­ble, this time on the War­wick­shire Avon with a 10lb 12oz bar­bel. We both fished un­til about 5pm, when I had to leave for a meet­ing, but Ray stayed on. When I left I said to Ray there would be a chance of a de­cent fish that night and about 30 min­utes later he caught a fin-per­fect dou­ble on straight lead and boilie.

On a lot of rivers, es­pe­cially in low and clear con­di­tions, fish are scared to death of the feeder!

You get a whole new per­spec­tive from a ca­noe.

A 10lb bar­bel and a goshawk for Daz. What a day!

The 10lb 10oz Trent bar­bel I caught af­ter dark.

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