Diary of a Countryman
“I’d be happy with eight barbel in a session any day of the week”
ABUSY week, even by my own standards, but that’s the way I like it!
I made the trek across the border for a shop day at Edinburgh Angling Centre, and the guiding was good, despite a desperately low and clear Severn. I even managed an overnight session. Here’s how my week went…
A long drive up with Scott Graham of DAM for a shop weekend at Edinburgh Angling Centre. I had an early night because I wanted to be nice and fresh to meet my Scottish friends.
In the shop (massive warehouse, more like!) by 8am. The specialist angler can get most things here and I was told that Glasgow Angling, owned by the same people, is even bigger.
I talked to salmon, trout, pike, perch and carp anglers and made some great contacts which are going to take me to some great fisheries in Scotland – I can’t wait!
That evening Paul Devlin, Edinburgh and Glasgow shop owner and his family, took me and the other ‘stars’ for a slap-up meal ‘eat as much as you like’ buffet.
As a Black Country lad who takes a size 12 shoe but can get in a size 4 if they’re free you can imagine that I put that claim to the test.
I ate until you could see the food in my eyes and rolled into bed a very happy man!
Much of the same as on Saturday, with me talking fishing until my voice went.
The highlight was when top casting instructor Mark Roberts offered me a few days on his local salmon river to help me brush up on my fly casting technique.
I asked how much that would cost and he said: “For all the enjoyment that your writing has given me over the years, it would be a pleasure to take you fishing with no charge”.
Things like that make me proud of my work in the sport – thank you, Mark, for those kind words.
Mind you, I hope he still thinks that when I cop him one on the back of the head with a big salmon fly, thanks to my wayward Spey casting!
My time spent in Edinburgh was great fun, and when you see a tackle shop working so well you realise that there is a future for this sport of ours.
It took us five hours to get home on Sunday evening and my back was shot. Needless to say, only a few ciders could dull the pain...
Back to the guiding after a day off and trip out with Ray and Ross, from the lovely city of York. Although it was hard going in the low and clear water conditions we still managed eight barbel, and both lads had a personal best.
Yes, the Severn is fishing hard at the moment but as soon as a few inches of rain goes into the river it
will fish its head off. To be honest, though, I’d be happy with eight barbel in a session any day of the week. Nash TG boilies and my own hookers were the bait, fished over balls of soaked pellets.
Another early start for a guiding day with couple Mark Treasure and Gill Read. Mark is a good match angler and captain of the Daiwa Gordon League side from Gloucestershire, and he wanted to know how to sort out the better barbel in matches. Gill had never caught a barbel. No pressure then!
Mark went away with a few tips up his sleeve to hopefully to catch him a few barbel this year in his matches on the Bristol and Warwickshire Avons, and Gill caught her first barbel.
She’d never caught a fish before on rod and line and the 4lb 14oz barbel she was attached to really pulled her string. You could see the bottom all the way across the river but we managed another eight fish, no mean feat I’d say!
I got home at 4pm, had a shower and a bite to eat, then shot down the Avon for an all-nighter with Ray Cutler. We baited up with soaked pellets and boilies but all six takes came to my downstream rod. The best fish was about 8lb.
Strangely, they wouldn’t move upstream to give Ray a take. That’s fishing, though.
When you’ve done a guiding day and an eventful all-nighter you can imagine I was pretty tired when I got home. Maggie May, my wife, said: “At your age you must be mad!” No, even after 50 years of fishing I can’t enough of it.
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Ray and Ross from York, with one of eight barbel we caught.
Edinburgh, and a fan discusses a book of mine I had handy!