An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Barbel: Great start to 2016

December was a great month for barbel. The mild conditions and extra water meant there was great sport for those on the bank. Unfortunately for me, various commitments meant that I missed out on the barbel bonanza. I did manage to visit the Warks Avon a couple of days after Christmas to find the river about 5-6ft on and a temperature of 9.5°C. It seemed perfect but I didn't get a knock. Neither did the other angler on the stretch or the two people I knew were fishing a stretch upstream. I often find the Avon rarely delivers in so called perfect conditions so I vowed to return 48 hours later. However, the day before New Years Eve saw torrential rain all day so I bottled it and stayed in a warm house. By NYE, the river was again at the top of its banks and I was certain the new water had caused a temperature drop. This didn't bode well.

With the river fluctuating for days, today finally saw it around 3ft up on normal level and pretty steady. The morning had seen more heavy rain but by lunch time it had started to wane and by 2pm I was making my first cast. The weather meant I had the stretch to myself, which is just the way I like
A great way to start
it. I was travelling light with just the one rod tackled up with a small cage feeder. Inside this went some scaled pellet that had also been flavoured. Bait was a chunk of flavoured meat mounted on a size 2 hook. After 40 minutes I decided to move on and by the time I had set up in my new swim, the heavens had opened again and I was hunched underneath an umbrella. This swim did however produce the first fish of the day; a barbel of around 6lb that was in fine condition.

With a blank avoided, I recast for a further half hour but as no more sport was found I moved further downstream. Again I cast just shy of the main flow into a swim that provided smooth water. About 25 minutes had elapsed when another, albeit tentative, bite arrived and I was into a better fish.
This 8 pounder was the largest of the session
It made some great runs but was finally tamed and a chunky 8 pounder graced the bank. The session was nearing its conclusion as the light began to fade. The wind had picked up and was quite chilly and I could see another weather front moving in. I started to gather my kit together when another fish took a liking to my bait. Another good fish was hooked but it found some debris. It wasn't stuck solid and I could feel the fish kick but disaster in the shape of a hook pull meant it was lost. The rain had started and I had a dilemma: go home whilst I could escape relatively dry or have one more cast. The latter won the day and I sat under the umbrella as daylight turned to dark with the wind howling and driving rain finding its way to soak me in determined fashion. To be honest the rain lasted longer than I thought it would and I found myself ensconced for almost an hour, not daring to brave the elements and dash to the car. The hour was not without event though. By now I was feeling for bites in the darkness. I felt the presence of a fish and moments later the line tightened. I was into
Not the best looking barbel
the fish before the rod tip even had chance to flex. A lively fish came to the net. It was a scabby looking specimen of around 3-4lb. I had another cast and felt that had I stayed on the fish were in such obliging mood that I would have undoubtedly added more. But as I trudged through the mud to my car I could not help but feel pleased with my efforts. Three barbel on my first outing of 2016 is a great way to start the year. Once home, I discovered that the river had started to rise ever so slightly during my session. Only a few inches but I do wonder whether the start of a rise was the reason for the fishes' indulgent feeding spell. Thank you for reading. As always, your comments are most welcome.


  1. Nice start to the New Year, my attempt proved nothing was interested. Just some small taps.

  2. Cheers Pat. Don't worry, I get those kind of sessions too.

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  4. Great way to start the year indeed! I haven't been as lucky but that doesn't mean it hasn't been fun! Cheers to more productive fishing trips.

  5. Thanks Lisa, has to be said I have not much to write about since.