Sunday, 15 September 2019

One Hundred

Not a monster but I can’t complain about this 4lb 10oz beauty - barbel number 100 of the season - fantastic!

A total of 25 sessions, mostly about 2-3 hours, with the odd half day here and there - cracked it in just under three months.

And what now? I think I’ll get some sleep in the mornings instead of getting up at stupid o’clock - the mornings are closing in anyhow!

For the records: 5lb 0oz, 4lb 10oz, 3½lb, 3lb, 3lb, 2½lb, & 1½lb (100)

Friday, 13 September 2019

Ninety Three

Cracking morning, six barbel between 5lb 0oz and 8lb 1oz (5lb 9oz pictured) plus a bonus 4lb 1oz chub. I did loose two good barbel to hook-pulls but I won’t dwell on that. Getting close to my target!

For the records: 8lb 1oz, 6lb 8oz, 6lb 1oz, 5lb 13oz, 5lb 9oz & 5lb (93)

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Screw Loose

Stick ‘n’ pin, half a loaf of bread and an afternoon on the river. And it started so well; four roach, three over a pound; 1lb 0oz, 1lb 2oz & 1lb 3oz and six gudgeon - the biggest of which flicked out of my hand before I could weigh it - definitely over 2oz.

Then my centerpin fell to pieces in my hands - I couldn’t have tightened the screw properly last time I cleaned it. I reassembled it but dirt had got in - my trip was done - back home to wash, oil and reassemble it properly - now it needs a test - I’ll be back...

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Hidden World

I cast out a ledgered cube of meat and in the clear water I watched a barbel rush towards it before it had settled - I thought this is going to be quick - but the barbel inspected it and backed away.

The barbel seemed to be alone in the pool and over the next 20 minutes came and examined the meat a couple of dozen times - didn’t touch it, no indication of it’s presence on the rod tip.

I’d given up hope of it taking the bait - but interesting behaviour to watch. Then it grabbed the bait and tried to steal the rod! Makes you wonder what is really going on in this normally hidden world.

For the records: 4lb 10oz & 4lb (87)

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Groovy Baby

Continuing with the weird carp baits, and as I said I would, I hit the pond armed with a packet of Bassetts Jelly Babies - none of that supermarket own brand stuff, I’m taking it seriously!

And they worked - was there ever a doubt? But what colours you might ask? Red 1 carp, orange 1 carp, green 1 carp, yellow 0 carp and black 0 carp. It’s like science (only dafter).

And as this is science I also fished a second rod with a more conventional bait of halibut pellets as a control - Jelly Babies 3 carp, pellets 9 carp... And I’m wondering what to try next...

Friday, 6 September 2019

Old Bag

There can be no better tackle review that using an item to destruction and replacing it like for like. So even though I rarely mention brand names I’m going to have to recommend the Korum Day Sack. I’ve had the old one for nearly six years and I’ve really put it through a rough ride! Right then; time for a quick test...

For the records: 5lb 12oz (85)

Monday, 2 September 2019

Too Much To Resist

I’ve seen this koi swimming about numerous times, but being highly visible she’s seen it all before - still I couldn’t resist. An early start and I positioned myself upstream, floating bits of bread down to her, she examined each piece but wouldn’t commit.

After 15 or 20 minutes she finally sucked in a bit of crust - the next one had a hook in it! Hell of a scrap in the fast water - what a beauty - had to get a quick photo of both sides. Mission accomplished I celebrated with a few splasher barbel.

For the barbel records: 5½lb, 1½lb, ½lb & ½lb (84)

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Sausage Roll

I was fishing for carp and eating sausage rolls (as you do) and I thought: I wonder if carp like sausage rolls?

Turns out they do! Not really a big surprise, after all it’s food that fits in their mouth. Wonder why they’re so finicky sometimes?

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Monday, 26 August 2019


A couple of very quick morning sessions and I’m closing in on my 100 barbel target - twenty needed, can I catch them before pike time?

For the records: 6lb 0oz, 4lb, 2¾lb, 2½lb & 1½lb (80)

Friday, 23 August 2019

The Chub II

Sneaking about in the nettles (again) I spotted another monster chub - first cast the luncheon meat was hit by an unsigned barbel - landed, weighed and photographed - the chub was still there...

The next cast she nailed it - short fight before I was looking down on her in the net - I couldn’t believe it - another monster. But I recognised her as soon as I lifted her out of the water...

I did feel a bit guilty - she’d moved about half a mile, lost weight (5lb 14½oz) and who was there with a baited hook! Not a deliberate recapture - I don’t want to see you again until February or March!

For the barbel records: 6lb 9oz (75)

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Barbel On The Top

Probably not the most efficient way of catching bottom feeding fish but the takes are spectacular! Not the subtle way a carp sucks in bread off the top - barbel explode onto the surface, turn and then try and rip the rod out of your hand on their way back to the riverbed.

I think the trick is to not jump out of your skin and let go - especially if you’ve got them feeding directly under the rod tip. I had to have another blast at a surface barbel and after a couple of smaller fish I manage to tempt this 8lb 7oz barbel into it. Exciting stuff!

For the records: 8lb 7oz, 3lb & 2¾lb (74)

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Twelve Hours

Twelve hours is about as long as I’ll spend doing anything, so when I headed off for a bait ‘n’ wait for carp with Richard that was my time limit. And I’m not night fishing - I want a daylight thirty...

Yeah, I’m making life difficult for myself! Twelve hours is a long time without a run - and I can’t wander far in case an alarm sounds - but this is my best chance to land a wise old carp...

To break up the day this monster of a carp swam in to say hello - estimated by Richard to be 38-42lb it was inspiring to see - but it didn’t want a bait. We’ll be back monster carp, we’ll be back...

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Barney Rubble

On the river for the crack of dawn and while the world slept a battle ensued - and a beautiful double was swept up in the net - just hitting the magic mark at 10lb 0oz - well worth the early start!

I also managed two more, both caught on surface fished bread - my first barbel caught off the top (still aiming to get one on the fly when the nettles die back). And back home for breakfast and meddles!

For the records: 10lb 0oz, 5lb & 3lb (71)

Saturday, 10 August 2019

The Chub

Last time I was on the river I spotted a monster chub, already over my time limit and packed up I was forced to leave it for another day (plus it was in an impossible spot to cast to). I was pretty excited and phoned James... “I think I’ve just spotted THE chub we’ve been searching for”... And told him exactly where I’d seen it...

James is on a bit of a chub mission himself at the moment, so I had to be the first to try and catch her - an early start - straight back to the spot - and it had bloody moved!! But after much searching back and forth (getting stung) I found her sunbathing about 20 yards downstream and flicked out a freelined piece of bread...

I watched the bread trundle down in the shallow water - the big girl moved across and nailed it - all hell broke loose as she tried to get in every snag going - a short dirty fight before she was safely in the net. What a fish! On the scales she went 6lb 2oz - a fabled six - my best from the river and second biggest chub ever - absolutely delighted!

And as my barbel tally from the river was standing at 698 I was keen to try and add two more to chip me over the seven hundred mark. I’d spotted a few on route and while on chub search. Retracing my steps I landed barbel number 699 and 700 (above) - and added four more barbel & a regular size chub for good measure!

For the barbel records: 4lb 7oz, 4lb, 3½lb, 2½lb, 1¾lb & 1½lb (68)

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Efficiency Is Key

My barbel sessions tend to be quite short, 2-4 hours, so to maximise my catch rate I take a lot of notes. I’ve recorded the date, location, bait, weight, method and water conditions of every barbel I’ve ever caught from this little river (current total 698).

Obviously things change - floods alter the riverbed, barbel don’t always stick to the same areas etc - but it gives me a great jumping off point. Anyway, another morning mission and six barbel found the net - plus a surprise 1lb 2oz roach. All added to my notes!

For the records: 6lb 11oz, 5lb, 4lb, 3lb, 2¾lb & 1½lb (62)

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Quick Mission

Well I had to check the river was still there! Very quick session - and a speedy result - two chub to 4lb+ and this 6lb 7oz barbel - splendid!

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Wandering The Wye...

Red and raging in winter, the summer Wye is a different river...

Low, gin-clear and full of life...

Less than ideal conditions to try and tempt a fish...

But we still found a few willing chub.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Woodland Wander...

Tourists in our own past...

Me and Paulos revisited the playground of our shared childhood...

Some truly beautiful ancient woodland...

And a quick cast in the secret pond for old time’s sake.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019


Well it looks like this hot weather is going to stick around for a little while, with talk of a new July record happening in the next few days. Probably best to leave the small river barbel alone until the normal drizzly English summer is resumed!

Last couple until then - bullied out and well rested before being released. Still going to try and locate those river carp though, and maybe target the bigger rivers with more oxygen - oh, and those stillwater carp are still very much on the radar...

For the records: 6lb 8oz & 5lb 10oz (55)

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Bait & Wait. And Wait.

An estate pond, my quest for a thirty and rock hard fishing - only one thing for it - bait ‘n’ wait! Fortunately I had carp guru Richard on hand - because the rig for my river carp a few days ago consisted of a size 6 hook tied directly to the 8lb main line...

My rigs for today consisted of metal and rubber and screws and putty... I’d love to put a photo on here but they’re top secret. And don’t get me started on bait - I had to sign a NDA (non disclosure agreement) before he’d even open the bucket!!

A very long day, dawn ‘til dusk, for only one fish - but a 20lb 2oz beautiful common carp made it all worth while. Massive thank you to Richard (who also bagged a twenty and a ‘pasty’), now just for something half as big again - we’ll be back!

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Black Gold!

Walking along the river, eyes always glued to the riverbed, I noticed the silt had recently been disturbed. I sat back and watched, waiting for the culprits - and soon enough three carp swam into view.

A few bits of bread crust floated down to them and they were soon feeding off the surface. And my freelined crust was instantly nailed by the biggest of the bunch - cracking fight in the fast water.

A jet-black chalk stream common carp - 12lb 9oz - but weight is really unimportant when they look like this - beautiful! And to my mind there is no better way to catch them than off the top.

A fish like that would make anyone’s day - but she was the last fish in a bit of a mixed bag, along with three barbel, a chub and an eel - an absolutely fantastic afternoon in the sunshine.

For the barbel records: 5lb, 3lb, 2¾lb (53)

Sunday, 14 July 2019


It’s technically a fly but is designed to look like a dog biscuit, half a dozen real dog biscuits with this cast in the middle and it should be like shooting fish in a barrel... Easy!

Nearly 3 hours of fishing later no carp, they’d take it but spit it out so quickly I couldn’t hook one - I did land a random chub, I think it’s the first one I’ve ever caught from a stillwater so a 10oz PB.

I had a break for a couple of hours before returning and eventually bagging a carp - that was a lot more work than I thought - not the easy cheat I was expecting - back to the zig-bugs then...

Friday, 12 July 2019


Couple of quick missions to the river in an attempt to get my barbel count to fifty. Was hoping to do it in one trip but they’ve wised up and are getting harder to find - but target accomplished!

For the records: 6lb 14oz, 4lb, 3½lb, 3½lb, & 3lb (50)