Des Taylor’s Di­ary of a Coun­try­man

I’m not su­per­sti­tious, but soon af­ter get­ting mine I bag a near-5lb chub

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

SUD­DENLY the morn­ings have changed. There’s a slight chill in the air and leaves are fall­ing on to the river. Au­tumn is al­most with us.

But this is a great time to go fish­ing. Water­side plants are dy­ing off, which makes it eas­ier to get down to swims, and fish are feed­ing well in prepa­ra­tion for the win­ter ahead.

It’s a shame so many an­glers pack their gear up now un­til spring be­cause with­out doubt be­tween now and Christ­mas there is some great fish­ing to be had – and I’m cer­tainly go­ing to get my share!


Tried some new swims for my cus­tomers and af­ter a few hours I got into some lovely-con­di­tioned bar­bel that looked as if they had never been caught be­fore. They fought like tigers too.

No mon­sters, but where I fished is slow-flow­ing and deep, with silty ar­eas that should be rich with food, so I ex­pect the odd dou­ble.


The river looked per­fect for a guide day with James Har­g­reaves and Andy Dal­garno on the Severn north of Bewd­ley.

So it proved. Bar­bel nearly dragged the rods off the rest and fought hard in the well oxy­genated water. But the river is con­stantly chang­ing and al­ways throws up surprises.

The sur­prise to­day came in the shape of a 2lb 1oz roach that Andy caught on a 14mm boilie, 12lb line and size 10 hook! I have seen and caught big­ger roach, but never in my life have I seen a bet­ter look­ing spec­i­men. It was scale and fin per­fect, and a credit to the river.

It’s time that an­glers in the area start think­ing of roach again this win­ter be­cause that is not the first 2lb roach I have heard of be­ing caught on boilies or pel­lets.

For years now, roach and other species have been eat­ing them but have hardly ever been caught on the rather crude tackle the bar­bel lads use.

With a bit of ‘fine tun­ing’ in the win­ter months I think the Severn will spring a few roach surprises. The main rea­son I moved to Bewd­ley 33 years ago now was for the roach fish­ing, and I had a lot of fish over 2lb, but for the last 10 years I have hardly cast a rod for them. That needs to change!


It was a plea­sure to take two ‘bar­bel vir­gins’ on the river – James and his fi­ancée Abi. They were not vir­gins for long, as both caught bar­bel, the best at 9lb 2oz to James, although Abi did stop the rod go­ing in from the take!

Bar­bel are easy to catch and fight like hell. Even a small one of 6lb is a big fish to most an­glers, so ev­ery­one is a win­ner, and most an­glers that try it get hooked and go out on the river to do it by them­selves.

It was great to hear Abi say: “My god, I can’t turn the reel han­dle!” as a bar­bel sped off down­river.


My mate Ray Cut­ler and I spent time up the river talk­ing to a nice guy on our stretch. Pete Hen­don had won a com­pe­ti­tion on Face­book to fish the water.

He had not fished the river for 10 years, but he caught 10 bar­bel to 9lb-plus. He said he’d for­got­ten how good river fish­ing was and would be do­ing more of it in the fu­ture. It’s just a mat­ter of get­ting an­glers on the river and re­mind­ing them what they are miss­ing!


Ray Cut­ler and I headed up­river for a plea­sure fish­ing ses­sion with small boilies. It was all go­ing swim­mingly un­til an hour in, when two ot­ters ap­peared. They seemed to be fight­ing, one be­hav­ing very ag­gres­sively to the other, and af­ter they had cleared off the whole area was dead. We man­aged four bar­bel and a cou­ple of chub be­tween us from some of the best swims on the whole river.

It was strange that I was hav­ing no bites at all un­til Dean White­head turned up. You may re­call that Dean is the fa­ther of young Char­lie, who I took fish­ing a few weeks ago. Well, Char­lie had sent his dad with a present for me in the form of a bar­bel badge. I put it on my hat and straight away I was into a chub just short of 5lb.

The badge also brought back mem­o­ries of Bar­bel Bill, an el­derly gent from Peter­bor­ough who’d brought the same type of badge with him and could only put it on his hat when he’d caught a bar­bel.

In the end I think he caught eight and went home a happy man.

Cer­tainly those bar­bel badges are magic for get­ting you a fish, no mat­ter what species hap­pens to pick up your bait!

I caught this near-5lb chub soon af­ter pin­ning my bar­bel badge to my hat. Thanks Char­lie! Misty-morn­ing bar­bel from a new area. Au­tumn is on its way.

Andy Dal­garno’s 2lb 1oz roach… on a 14mm boilie!

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