Des Taylor’s Diary of a Countryman
The pressure is on to catch barbel for customers and film crews
ILOVE to catch fish, and big ones at that! Indeed John Wilson said in a review of my book ‘Great Days’ that “Des certainly has a penchant, more than any other angler I know, for landing monstrous great fish”.
It was of course an honour to have that said about me by the great man himself, my angling mentor. But there’s a lot more to angling than just catching big fish. Over the last few years I’ve enjoyed being out there in the countryside more than ever and no, I’m not just turning into a sentimental old fool! It’s the feeling of being satisfied with my lot, realising how lucky I am to have the chance to spend so much time in the great outdoors.
Sometimes, as I sit there dreaming and thinking, it’s a shame to get interrupted by a bite! Chances are I have caught a fish that size a hundred times or more before. I might well have been thinking of a monster fish bigger than I have caught before, and that’s more enjoyable than catching just another fish for me.
On a different note I see that a few gremlins were at work a couple of issues ago, saying that my 6lb eel was my second over that weight in my career when it was in fact my fourth, the best being 7lb 3oz. This is how my latest week panned out...
Took Bob Palt and his wife Sue up to the Severn at Coalport for a day’s barbel fishing. On the way I explained it was going to be hard, as lots of leaves had blown into the water and the level was rising from rain in Wales the day before. Where I wanted to put them, the river was running like a train and would have made fishing almost impossible. But I knew a swim that would fish and held the chance of a decent fish in such conditions.
I told them that we wouldn’t catch many fish on a rising river and I remember Sue saying ‘Okay but maybe we might get a big one’.
After baiting up with soaked Nash Krill pellets and boilies we cast in two rods – upstream for Sue and downstream for Bob. After an hour and not a touch the upstream rod bent double and a barbel was on. Sue played the fish well and I knew as soon as I landed it that it was a very good one.
I carried the fish to the unhooking mat and the scales and Sue said ‘Oh my God it’s a monster!’
And so it was. Not all rivers throw up 18lb barbel or 10 doubles in a day. This was the real world, and a double is a rare fish for many anglers. I lifted the fish in the weigh sling and recorded a weight of 10lb 1oz – I think Sue was shocked that she had caught a specimen that most anglers can only dream about. I was so pleased I was there to see her smile. We sat and reflected on the catch and the fishing was slow, to say the least.
A few hours later we decided to call it a day, but as I packed the
gear away from the back of the swim Bob’s rod bent over and a good fish hurtled down the river.
On the scales it went 9lb 6oz. That’s the way to finish a day’s fishing! Isn’t it great when a plan comes together?
A filming day with the Nash team, back on the Severn at Coalport on the Rowley and District AS water. Alan Blair and I enjoyed a day targeting barbel. It
was actually very tough, with the water really low and clear, but in the end we caught five barbel and lost one.
It sounds like fishing for a living is an easy life, but when the bites are hard to get and so many people are there waiting for you to supply the goods it can be a stressful time!
A couple of moves of swims, a few rig adjustments and we were into a few fish – job done. Carl and Alex did the filming while Paul Garner took the stills. It took from first light till last knockings to put the film together, but with a magical autumn backdrop, the playing of strong fighting barbel and some sound instruction and chat we all agreed it should make a nice piece.
Went to the Monument to do some carping with Mick Hopkins but the air pressure dropped through the roof and no one caught on Monument 1 or II! No carp were rolling or showing, yet there are 440 of them in here!
Mind you, soon the ‘maggot season’ starts on these waters and I’m booked on for two days, so if it all goes to plan I’ll be filling my boots! I remember years ago using maggots for the first time on Monument 1 and I had nine winter carp in a day, most over 20lb to a best of 32lb.
Lots of anglers think maggots are a small-fish bait but don’t believe it. On their day they will catch carp anywhere, and I have lost count of the number of twenties I’ve had on maggots in the past!
Nash’s Alan Blair, me, and a
A great day’s filming with the Nash team.