An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Barbel: Rolling meat does the business

After finding a couple of juvenile barbel recently, I was keen to find the Warks Avon's larger inhabitants. The hot, bright weather of late had given way to grey skies that threatened rain. All in all, the conditions were much more encouraging.

First double of the season
With the stretch to myself, I was able to bait up a spot and leave it to rest. This allowed me to try rolling meat in the faster water just upstream. The first few runs saw me experimenting to get the right amount of weight until I could feel that grating sensation as the bait moves across the gravel telling me all was just right. Then came the inevitable pluck. It's hard to describe as it's such as subtle sensation but you just know it's a fish. Instinct told me to strike. My rod hit a branch meaning I couldn't get a full strike in, but it was enough as the line went taught. The fish turned and made a couple of powerful runs downstream before it headed back up the fast
flowing channel. Unfazed, it just held station. I pumped the rod to get the fish moving when I saw the golden flanks just beneath the surface. It looked a decent fish. Netting it was going to be difficult. Overhanging branches and the strong current made life difficult. The fish surfaced. I could see the hook hold was less than ideal and I was sure it would pull given the amount of pressure required to draw the fish up against the rapid flow. My first attempt at netting my prize failed but lady luck saw the fish swim upstream meaning it then dropped back right into my waiting net. It was indeed a fine fish that I was sure would go 10lb plus. The scales showed 10lb 10oz with plenty of room to go bigger as the season progresses. It was my first ever double to come to rolling meat, a method that keeps producing when all else fails. Of course you need the right kind of swim and they are at a premium on a river like the Avon, which is quite sedate for much of its meandering journey to the Severn. It's a super method which is pretty underused. Yes, it takes effort but the rewards are there for all to see.

I then returned to spend the next few hours in my pre-baited swim. However, action was slow. A chub of 3 ½ pound did succumb to my static ledger tactics. A couple of other anglers had arrived by now although neither troubled the scorers. It just proved how valuable a moving bait can be in difficult conditions.


  1. Cracking Barbel there Lee, well done mate.

  2. Cheers Joe, it was certainly welcome given it's been slow of late.