Posts Tagged ‘barbel Angler’

I’m very proud to be a part of the Barbel Fisher’s team (www.barbelfishers.com), which means I’m directly involved in the day to day running of the Association.  I’m proud because of the amount of charitable donations they make.  As part of the ABF’s constitution, fundraising for its various nominated charities, has become a very big part of the group and they raise large amounts of money for various Hospices and the MacMillan Cancer Support as well as Air Ambulance.  Sadly, cancer has affected many of our lives in way or another, so this is something the ABF’s members can do to fight back.

Recently we have just enjoyed a charity fish-in on the river Loddon near Wokingham and we have Simon Bartlett at Wokingham District Council to thank for his sterling efforts in allowing us to use this venue.  He wanted all profits raised by the event to go to MacMillan and we are more than happy to oblige.  The event ran from late afternoon on Friday  through to Sunday lunchtime and was held at Dinton Pastures Country Park.

The Loddon

The Loddon

The river loddon cuts through part of the park as it winds it’s way towards Twyford.  Its a beautiful clear river, with thick water cabbages and flowing ranunculus and a plethora of bankside cover.  Overhanging tress and bushes abound, along with numerous rafts and offers enticing cover  to the canny chub and barbel the stretch is famous for.

The Loddon

The Loddon

I arrived early to meet Simon Bartlett and Micky Holtom from the Barbel Angler website (barbelangler.co.uk) but prior to their arrival decided to enjoy the culinary delights of the on-site cafe.  After demolishing a full English breakfast (and jolly good it was too) I had a cuppa with Micky and enjoyed the sights of the park.  Lots of young mums to keep the brain active!

Simon arrived and he kindly offered to show us the whole stretch of river so we could start to gauge which swims we could fish.  A few of the guys had already arrived and so off we went for a recce.  It was a bit of a trek from the car park but without the gear hardly noticeable.  However once loaded up it was like trekking across America just to get to your swim!  We discovered lots of great looking swims that screamed barbel.  So we opted to list a dozen of the best looking ones and then have a draw for the pegs.  It worked well and everybody ended up with a peg they felt happy with.  In all there was 9 of us on that first night and we were joined by Paul Whiteing the following morning.

Fishing started in earnest as the light faded.  I think all of those leads and feeders being cast out in unison spooked the Hell out of the fish because only one bite came during the opening night to Crooky and he promptly lost whatever was on the end, although he felt it was only a chub.  The temperature dropped quite sharply overnight and so eventually I turned in for a decent nights sleep.

Early the next morning Micky was up and within a short space of time had his first barbel bite of the weekend.  A feisty 9 pounder being the culprit.  I felt this was a great result, for someone to catch a barbel in these conditions ( sweltering hot during the day with temperatures to upper 20s and bright sunshine to bloody freezing at night) was icing on the cake.

The following day was more of a social.  The cafe was the first port of call followed by the local pub and then back to the cafe for dinner.  It was an opportunity to chat, enjoy some banter and hear some great stories regaled in time honoured fashion whilst enjoying a pint or two.  I was also treated to a Wallis casting lesson from Paul Whiteing and with his guidance soon had something that almost passed as a Wallis cast.  Crooky on the other hand……well what can One say!!

Again as the light faded the serious fishing began.  Before long a call came through that Micky was in again.  This time it turned out to be an 11 pounder and really was icing on the cake.  What a great weekend for Micky and a good result for the ABF.  The only other bite was to Lee Sinfield who sadly lost a big fish on free lined luncheon meat.  Still it didn’t spoil what was a very enjoyable and very successful weekend.  The ABF raised another £150 for charity and we all got to meet both new and old friends alike.  That is the last of the planned fish-ins for this year but with more initiatives in the pipeline, we hope to raise far more over the coming months to support our nominated charities.


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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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