An­other busy week on and off the bank and a cure for my bout of ‘bar­bel ma­nia’!

Angling Times (UK) - - YOUR FISH­ING WEEK -

MY DAYS are to­tally con­sumed by angling, whether I’m out on the bank or writ­ing and talk­ing about our great sport.

I know how lucky I am to have such a full and in­ter­est­ing life, and this is how it went this week – I cer­tainly cov­ered a few miles!


I trav­elled up to the River Wear near Durham for a day’s fish­ing with Scott Gra­ham, the Coun­try Man­ager for DAM.

Scott wanted to show me the river’s salmon, sea trout and coarse fish­ing po­ten­tial. It took two-and-a-half hours to get there, but once I stood on the banks of this won­der­ful lit­tle river I fell in love with it straight away.

Like many other rivers in the coun­try, the Wear is at its low­est in years, and I knew the fish­ing was go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult. As it turned out, it was im­pos­si­ble!

I tried for a bar­bel in the large salmon pool, but af­ter a few hours it was ob­vi­ous that night was the only time to be on the wa­ter and ac­tu­ally catch fish.

Next we did a lit­tle fly fish­ing – again no joy – and Scott even tried a float­fished shrimp. That brought a cou­ple of very del­i­cate takes from salmon, which sadly Scott missed. Did he swear? Too right he did, and I don’t blame him!

Scott showed me a num­ber of swims that are good for sea trout at night, and it cer­tainly whet­ted my ap­petite. I can’t wait for the rivers to re­ceive a flush of wa­ter so that I can get up there again, hope­fully to put a bend in the rod.

In the end I caught a very small brown trout on a worm, and Scott pulled out of what was pos­si­bly a de­cent sea trout or a small salmon – it was just not his day!

We stopped on the way back at a Toby Inn. Af­ter a long, hard, hot day on the bank I kid you not, my pint of cider was the best I have ever tasted in my life!

Men­tion the North East to most peo­ple and they think of mines and in­dus­try, but there re­ally is some marvellous coun­try­side up in this neck of the woods.


I took four lads, who had been com­ing down to Bewd­ley for a num­ber of years, on a river walk. Each year they would fish the same spot and their catches were start­ing to di­min­ish.

They wanted me to show them some new spots and the tac­tics I use for bar­bel, be­sides pel­let and feeder. Af­ter three hours I had shown them some de­cent new pegs and a cou­ple of spots where they could night-fish.

The lads had been given a ‘quick fix’ for their fu­ture fish­ing. All they need to do now is put that knowl­edge into prac­tice!


A guid­ing day on the River Severn. It had rained a lit­tle, so I was hop­ing that the in­flux of fresh wa­ter would liven things up.

Sadly, when I ar­rived there with Gra­ham Cox and Paul Miles the river was still on the rise and loads of rub­bish was com­ing down. But we still man­aged five bar­bel – a ‘nine’, two ‘eights’, a ‘seven’ and a ‘five’. They were in great con­di­tion and again were caught on boilies fished over pel­lets.

The pel­lets I use are a mix­ture of Bait-Tech carp pel­lets, Nash Krill pel­lets and Nash 2mm Method pel­lets, which help bind ev­ery­thing to­gether well af­ter be­ing soaked overnight.


I fin­ished off an­other chap­ter of my up­com­ing book, due out just af­ter Christ­mas. It’s called The Ram­blings of a River An­gler, pub­lished in a lim­ited edi­tion of 500 by Lit­tle Egret Press.

The com­pany is mak­ing a list of peo­ple that want a copy re­served for them. There is no money up front, and it makes sure you will be of­fered a copy when the book comes out.

The book is full of of fishy tales, ad­vice on how to catch and learn­ing to be at one with na­ture on the river bank. To get your name on the list, log on to www. lit­tlee­gret­press.com and click the ‘con­tact’ but­ton.


My mate Ray Cut­ler picked me up for an af­ter­noon and evening of fish­ing on the River Avon near Eve­sham. He’d been catch­ing a few chub to over 5lb there.

Ray and I were talk­ing in the pub the other night about how we had both caught ‘bar­bel ma­nia’, and been miss­ing out on other sum­mer fish­ing.

It’s funny how lots of us who got bored sit­ting be­hind rods for still­wa­ter carp are still sit­ting be­hind rods, wait­ing for the buzzer to sound or the cen­tre­pin ratchet to scream. So it made a pleas­ant change to break out the quiv­er­tip rod and ac­tu­ally strike at bites in or­der to hook the fish!

We caught a dozen fish, most of them over 4lb, on Ray’s cheesep­a­ste. They all looked like they’d never seen a hook be­fore, and that’s prob­a­bly the case be­cause how many an­glers fish for 4lb chub nowa­days?

Face it, the press and the spec­i­men world don’t want to know about a chub un­less it’s over 7lb – a sad state of af­fairs, be­cause so few places can pro­duce fish of this size.


WHY not book a day’s fish­ing with Des this year? Just visit destay­lorstack­le­den.com for all the info and lots of great gift ideas.

Scott Gra­ham casts a fly on the RIver Wear but the fish are not hav­ing it!

A nice chub of 4lb-plus from the Avon near Eve­sham was par for the course.

I spent some desk time writ­ing my new book this week.

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