Di­ary of a Coun­try­man

...and it would be fish­ing its head off if it weren’t for the dreaded foam

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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.

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