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Posts Tagged ‘Barbel fishing on the River Lea’


I headed to the old Lea today with me old mate Jules, to have a bash at the ‘Green’.  The Lea is hosting some of the Olympic events from Friday onwards and I might add that the roads are already chaotic.

With the temperatures soaring to 30c I was in no rush to get to the river and after a late night in London watching Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths in Neil Simon’s play the Sunshine Boys, which was such a rare treat to see two such superb actors in full flow, I certainly wasn’t going to be going early.  We arrived around 3pm in the sweltering heat.  We wandered along the river, checking out a few swims and found a couple that we both fancied for the evening.

So to start we decided to both have a go at rolling.  I struggled.  The water was unusually coloured and it was difficult to see where the weed was, especially without polarised sunglasses.  So after about 90 minutes and sweating buckets in the blistering heat, I decided to move into my chosen swim a little earlier than expected.

I had picked a swim where shallow water dropped down into a much deeper section.  The swim was only around 3-31/2 feet deep with loads of far bank cover.  Directly above me was a shallow, weedy section.  On a warm evening like this I could envisage the babel heading up to this area to feed…..well hopefully.

So after slowly moving the remainder of the gear into the swim I popped down to Jules’ swim  for a cuppa and a lay down in the shade and waited for the temperatures to abate.  At around 7.30pm I went back to my swim and tackled up.  I opted for an Andrew Witham feeder from cagefeeders.com and plugged some small mixed pellets with a little groundbait.  I fished a couple of large elips pellets on the hair.  I recast every 30 minutes onto the edge of the trees and into an area of smooth water.  As dusk approached I started to get a few knocks and taps and then had a persistent tap, tap, tap.  I decided to strike and it turned out to be a reasonable roach but it fell off near the net.

Darkness soon enveloped us and still nothing had happened.  Just as the light was fading I saw a flash of iridescent blue as a Kingfisher hurtled past.  I think it was in training for the Olympics!  Time was passing quickly and we had decided to call it a day at 10.45pm.  About 10.30 the rod top kicked a bit and then arched violently round.  I was quite taken aback but soon grabbed the rod, which was resting on my chair.  The fish pulled back a little too hard to be anything other than a barbel.  I called down to Jules that I was in.  He came up to net the fish….well hopefully.  At this stage I couldn’t quite decide how big it was but then it turned on the surface and we saw the size of her and she looked a good double.  The fight lasted longer than I thought it would but we soon had her in the net.

On lifting the fish out we both thought it was a mid double.  She was long and looked quite plump.  The scales read 12lb 10oz and although not a PB (although it is from the Lea) was my Olympic gold.  She was stunning.  Long, fin perfect and an absolute stunner.  I took a couple of quick snaps and got her back in the river.  After a few minutes she was fighting strongly in the net to get away and she powered off upstream on her release.

12lb 10oz

12lb 10oz

It makes those blank here all worthwhile when you get a result like that.  Wonderful.

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