It’s been a While……………………..

The final Coarse Angling Today magazine

The final Coarse Angling Today magazine

 

It’s been a few years since I was regularly writing and uploading blogs onto these pages. I’ve had the odd technical article or guest piece but realistically nowhere near enough content to hold any interest or make having a website worthwhile. The main reason I ceased to write a regular blog was due to my commitment to Coarse Angling Today magazine and my ‘Bankside Sessions’ diary style articles I wrote every other month. Having a regular piece, under my own name in a monthly magazine is something I’m immensely proud of but as the old saying goes ‘all good things come to an end’ in this case is very true because sadly CAT magazine is no longer in production and therefore any material I have will now be published on these pages again. It’s a great shame CAT is no more and just goes to show how much the internet has had an influence on hard copies of the written word. As the last man standing of specimen publications it was a magazine I and many others looked forward to reading each month but you only have to look at the shelves in your local WHSmiths to see if a fishing magazine doesn’t have ‘carp’ in the title it’s not there when it comes to coarse angling, a great shame. Hopefully one day we’ll have a replacement but I won’t hold my breath.

I’ve gone backwards and forwards a hundred times whether to cover some recent events in barbel fishing as the abuse myself and a few friends encountered on social media because we dared have an educated opinion was disgusting but as this is my website and I’m free to express my views and opinions as I see fit I feel it’s worth writing about, even though it may reopen a can of worms.

In early November a picture of a large river Severn barbel started doing the rounds on Facebook, nothing unusual about that as there have been a lot of very very good barbel being caught this season, especially from the lower reaches of the river by some well respected barbel anglers. The interesting thing about this picture is it was emblazoned with a weight of 17lbs 9oz, now this is a huge fish for any river but for the Severn it would be truly exceptional, especially considering where it was caught. Unfortunately the photos didn’t do the fish justice and a few of us questioned the weight,  with so many spurious claims being made these days, especially in barbel fishing this was going to happen. When you take into consideration the pics were grainy and awful, the fish was being held out at arms length, the venue in question has had no form for fish of this size for some considerable amount of time and the fish was reported to have been landed using a 5lb hooklength (not out of the realms of possibilty on a snag free, clear river but on a flooded river Severn doubtful to say the least) it’s safe to say this fish being a river record for what is probably the most prestigious barbel river for many was stretching it a bit. Now rather than hold off and claim the record before putting the pics out for publication this fish was splashed all over the internet and in the weekly magazines (where amazingly it won a weekly award in one, thankfully The Times saw sense and didn’t award anything before the facts were published). Like I said a few, including myself questioned the weight and the sheer volume of abuse we had to encounter both publicly and privately was nothing short of disgraceful. Eventually the records committee of the Barbel Society collated all the evidence from the captor and witness and due to insufficient evidence and discrepancies in the weighing procedure the record claim was rejected. This came as no surprise to a lot of barbel anglers but the shit storm, mud slinging and lies were only just beginning. It didn’t take long for the ‘my face doesn’t fit’ claims to start and the claims of if it were a known angler then it would have been awarded to start. The fact of the matter is that a well known angler would have got credible witnesses, have weighed the fish correctly and got pin sharp, well exposed photos. Well known anglers are just that because they do things properly and in such a way as to not need to be questioned as the evidence they present speaks for itself plus they spend many years working hard to gain a credible reputation, one they won’t damage with a spurious claim. I’m not a member of the Barbel Society but many of my friends are and I felt truly sorry for them for the grief they had to endure and lies that were spread about them in the aftermath of this sorry episode. Thankfully there is a weighing protocol and procedure being drawn up by the records committee that will have to be followed if a record claim is to be made, haven’t followed the protocol you can’t make a claim, which should stop any spurious claims and outright lies about big barbel weights. I dared to mention privately that an apology wouldn’t hurt to those who were given grief from the captor for questioning the weight originally, what I got called for asking that is unprintable, just goes to show the level of intelligence you are dealing with. Real shame grown men can’t have an open discussion and difference of opinion without threats or abuse being hurled around, something social media has a lot to answer for.  I do wonder though if these same people would be so brave if they weren’t hidden behind a computer screen, somehow I doubt it.

Anyway onto things a little more positive, I actually managed to get out fishing recently, I know I can barely believe it myself! With work being so busy and having a 5 month old son at home my fishing time has been somewhat limited to say the least in the last few months. Having my gear all set up and ready to go at the drop of a hat has been essential as my sessions have been anything from an hour to 3 maybe 4 if I’m pushing it and usually once young Riley has gone to bed meaning I need to be somewhere I’m familiar with as it’s been a case of arriving once full darkness has set in. My approach on short, impromptu sessions like this is the same all year round, maximum attraction using a good quality bait, minimal feed (I only want 1 bite not a shoal feeding competitively) presented correctly in the right place. If you get all 3 right and the barbel are there you WILL get a bite, no ifs no buts a bite will definitely come your way. In the summer I’ll give the swim no more than 20 minutes before moving, the higher water temperatures help carry the scent trail further and the barbel are also much more active and mobile thus they will find your bait quicker. Once we move into November I will give the swims upto an hour as it can sometimes take the barbel this long to find the bait as the follow the scent upstream, no bite in an hour then I’ll move. This might not work for everyone but on short sessions it works very well for me and has done for a long time. The conditions so far this autumn have been nothing short of brilliant for barbel fishing and I’ve been fortunate enough to catch 3 lovely double figure barbel in 2 sessions during November, only managing 3 bites it was remarkable that all the fish were of specimen size pulling the scales down to 12.8, 10.14 and 12.8 (different fish). My tried and trusted short session tactics working perfectly on both sessions with the results speaking for themselves.

12.810.14

I’ve really enjoyed my barbel fishing this season and despite my limited time quite a few doubles and some stunning Wye fish have fallen to my rods, getting the location right is the most important part in barbel angling and once that’s sussed a good session should be on the cards. They aren’t intelligent fish and as long as you are confident in your approach and don’t make any mistakes to spook the fish you will be ok. Bait plays a huge part in confidence as without a good bait you have faith in then things start to get difficult. Throughout this season I’ve been privy to the new Pacific Tuna boilies from CcMoore and related dips, glugs and hookbaits for my barbel fishing. Not due for release until February 2016 this bait has been doing very well for a number of species. Now I’m no bait guru, far from it but I know enough to recognise a good bait when I have it in my hand, this is just that. Designed primarily for carp fishing, I saw it and knew straight away it would do well on the river, don’t get me wrong it’s not a wonder bait (I’ve never been a fan of this term as there is no such thing, any good bait will catch fish) but it is very good. The results speak for themselves as this particular bait has been responsible for a phenomenal amount of great carp captures but also a few of us have caught some stunning barbel and very big chub from several different venues.

 

Pacific Tuna, it's a bit good!

Pacific Tuna, it’s a bit good!

The glugs are out now keep your eyes peeled for the boilies!

The glugs are out now keep your eyes peeled for the boilies!

A Tuna caught double

A Tuna caught double

 

That’s it for now so until next time I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!!

 

2 Responses

12.14.15

Top read mate welcome back

12.14.15

Your Comments Nice write up Lewis with many good points. Unfortunately the keyboard warriors will always hide behind the cover of a computor, but sensible angles can see past the smoke sreen they generate. I am one of those that judge the river records and am often acused of only accepting BS members or ‘well known’ names when a claim comes foreward. Nothing can be further from the truth but I do want to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt that a claim is correct.

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