Archive for February 20th, 2012

Another annual event in the angling World took place on Saturday; the Barbel Angler Grayling Day.  Organised as always by the Mad Hatter himself; Mr Jez Brown and given the green light by Micky, owner of the Barbel Angler website.

We descended on the Winchester services for the usual over-priced and over done breakfast.  After recovering from the bill, we engaged in the usual banter and p taking.  Then a fight broke out between the Fantastic Four; Jez, Luke, Danny and his son Callum.  Luckily it was only a water fight but who knew what might kick off later!

We arrived at the river and everyone shot off up to the top end.  As the day included the word ‘barbel’ I thought it only fitting to try and tempt an Itchen barbel, as I’d never caught one before.  So whilst the masses set up their float rods, I found a lovely deep swim with loads of cover.   I baited quite heavily with hemp and maggots and then rested the swim for about 40 minutes.  A real strong, cold wind sprung up and the forecast was for some heavy rain.

I had numerous baits but opted for a boilie wrapped in paste.  I used this in conjunction with a 2.8oz blockend feeder loaded with hemp and pellets.  I swung the bait out into the swim and about 20 minutes later the rod was almost dragged in.  Barbel on.  It gave me a great scrap in the flow and was a beautiful, plump, golden barbel.  On the scales it registered 7lb 4oz.  I hoped for another after such an early success.

Meanwhile reports were that the fishing was tough.  I guess the strong wind didn’t help.  A call from Dan informed me that he had just caught a salmon of around 4lbs and lost a much bigger one.  Later Kevin also reported a salmon, this time 4lb 11oz I think.  Geoff was managing a few grayling but that was it from the boys.  Little else came through to me.  Then a certain Northern ‘gentleman’ arrived somewhat later than expected after suffering from a pretty rough night in a noisy hotel.  The Association of Barbel Fishers very own Conrad Farlow.  Having just been co-opted onto the committee for the ABF myself,  it was great to meet the driving force behind the group at last.  We had a quick chat and off he went to catch a barbel.  I was pleased to have caught barbel from approximately 12 different rivers.  This pales into insignificance when compared to Conrad’s 37 rivers!  Sadly he didn’t make it 38 but his new target is 50, so good luck with that one!

Then that angling legend and Grisly Adams lookalike Keth Speer moved in just above me and did his thing with a stick float.  I knew I was in for a treat when almost the first cast led to a nice chub.  Numerous chub and roach followed in fairly quick succession.  Without doubt he is a master at this float technique and a pleasure to watch.  Later on he even hooked but sadly lost a decent barbel.  I also sadly lost a better barbel when the hook inexplicably pulled out.  I also managed a nice brownie and lost a chub.

Conrad wandered down with a fish in the net and called me up to Keith’s swim.  In the net was something quite unusual; an albino Orfe or a Blue Orfe (te he-blue orfe-school boy giggle) which won him the ‘Big Ook’ trophy.

The results were hard earned.  Many found it tough.  There were a few nice grayling out and reports of some near 2lb roach by the ‘right raving looney party’.  All in all another great day with the lads.  Lets hope there are many, many more to come.



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Had a call from rod builder extraordinaire Ian Tucker of Custom Fishing Rods, filling me in on his recent trip.  He was treated to a day on the Longford Estate in Hampshire fishing the beautiful Avon.  Longford is probably the place to fish on the Avon and has been for decades.

He had a great day taking 8 chub to over 5lbs and a 2lb 3oz grayling plus a few other bits.  He was then whisked away to fish the Test at Stockbridge where he caught plenty of grayling to 1.8lb and loads of trout to nearly 6lb.  Jammy git!

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