Diary of a Countryman
...and it would be fishing its head off if it weren’t for the dreaded foam
ADISAPPOINTING week if I’m honest. The Severn has been in perfect trim and yet for some reason my catches have been well down.
It’s been holding a nice tinge of colour, 2ft-plus of warm water and dropping. You couldn’t ask for better conditions, but with foam on the water for four days on the trot it killed sport, with hardly a bite to be had anywhere.
Anglers are travelling from all over the country to fish the Severn, and rightly so. It’s full of fish, but when people can’t buy a bite they go home very unhappy and swear never to return, muttering things like: “This place is fishless!” Well, nothing could be further from the truth!
Anyway, I have asked the Environment Agency to contact me. Let’s sit around the table and sort this out, because the Severn should be fishing its head off.
Please don’t let our great river sport be killed off by sitting on the fence. What do we pay our licence money for?
A day’s carping with my mate Ray Cutler because the river was full of foam and not worth a cast. This was confirmed later when I spoke to anglers who had fished all day for not one bite. It’s a disgrace!
Anyway, we had a dozen carp and a great day, but we’d rather have been on the river. We caught over big beds of boilies within minutes of putting the baits out.
This time of year can be great for carp, and on cooler mornings you can see fish feeding well on the bottom, rather than on the surface. Many waters ban surface fishing or zigs, so seeing the fish grubbing around is good news!
All the fish were lovely commons that fought like tigers, the best an upper double. It’s fairly easy to put a few carp on the bank these days, compared to when I first started to catch them in the mid-1970s.
The hair rig changed everything for carp, and indeed all species. Sometimes I wonder if it has made it all a bit too easy…
Fishing with Geoff Dace from the Barbel Catchers. Again, we expected a few with the river in such good form, but the foam did its worst again. Two anglers who know what they are doing couldn’t get a bite, not even a liner.
We started at daybreak and finished at 2pm in a lovely spot at Coalport. We enjoyed talking about fishing over the years, but it would have been nice to see a few barbel on the bank.
We retired to the local pub for a pint and a sandwich and talked even more about the old days and catching barbel on the rivers around the country.
We caught nothing, but to be honest it was a great day in the company of a old warrior like myself and I ended up with a sore throat, I talked that much!
Took Karl Thomas and his father Barry for a day’s guiding. It was a Father’s Day present and my job was to catch Barry his first barbel.
It was tough going – foam again – but I did manage to get Barry a barbel. He was over the moon and had the biggest smile on his face when he was playing the six-pounder. Lots of anglers think barbel start at 10lb, and everyone has caught one, but that’s a million miles from the truth. Many are still after their first barbel, let alone a double.
When I got back I went down to my own stretch at Bewdley where there was no foam, and within a couple of hours I’d caught four barbel to 8lb and one chub.
A guy opposite and a little downstream was also catching and one looked a really good fish, maybe close to double figures.
From the way he was fishing, I think he was using casters or maggots, a forgotten method over the last few years but one that will still take its fair share of barbel on its day. Some anglers reckon you
have to feed small fish off when using maggots or casters but I don’t believe that.
I think the barbel move in and clear them off. Just keep feeding and they will come. The problem is cost. Maggots and casters are not cheap these days, and with this method you easily get through six pints or more.
Ben Griffiths from the Barbel Society wanted to catch a few on the Severn, as he had been blanking recently fishing a small river for a big fish.
He asked me if I knew a swim where he could get a few pulls, so I put him on the Dudley water at the back of my house for the night
and sure enough, using boilies he had three decent barbel to a best of about 7lb.
In the morning he jumped in the car with me and we made our way upriver to catch a few more of the same size – not big, but big enough to put a good bend in the rod and blow away the blank blues!
He had a double take, which is always fun with two rods bent at the same time. He handled them well and both fish were landed.
“When anglers can’t buy a bite on the river they go home very unhappy”
Ben Griffiths’ double hook-up... great fun!
A perfect River Severn at Coalport. Sadly, when I was there last week the foam had other ideas.