Sunday, 1 August 2021

Lucky 13

I might not be catching big barbel but I'm catching lots of them - so I grabbed a loaf of bread and headed to the river - see if I could wrap up the 100 Barbel Challenge in July.

And 13 barbel found the net, mostly to floating crust. Season total: 104 barbel - cracked it! Time to target something else - although I did spot a double - I'll be back for her!

Thursday, 29 July 2021

The Storm

It's been brewing for a while - the storm finally arrived! Two London hospitals flooded, sections of the underground became rivers and my garden had that much needed drink...

But did it wake the monster barbel from their summer slumber? Those big barbel that have eluded me so far this season - surely the fresh water would spark them into a feeding frenzy!?! Nope!

But I'm very lucky to have barbel within walking distance (still walking to the river) - and I don't care about size - 91 barbel landed so far this season! I've got Autumn & Winter to search for a double.

James is having better luck chasing the doubles, although on a different river, adding another one to his 40 Rivers Challenge - seven down, 33 to go - full story on his blog here.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Waiting For The Storm

A cooler day followed a much cooler night and it had been over a week since I last wetted a line - to the river! Although I managed 4 chub, 4 barbel (two of which were swing-jobs) and a dace with eyes bigger than it's belly - the bigger fish were spooking off the bait...

I think they are waiting for the storm...

Wednesday, 21 July 2021


It's too hot for fishing - expecially barbel - the water is warm and the last thing I want is one to go belly-up! But there is a storm brewing - kit packed and ready for the fresh water...

So instead I thought I'd do a Stag Beetle update; seems to have been a very good year with 36 beetles spotted (31 males, 5 females) - mostly at night or in flight when they're difficult to photograph!

Stag Beetle (Female) Stag Beetle (Male)
Stag Beetle (Male) Stag Beetle (Female)
First Sighting: 6 June 2021 -- Last Sighting: 13 July 2021

Friday, 16 July 2021

Fine Line

There is a glitch in my gudgeon fishing. The stick ‘n’ pin is normally set up in my office, I’ll occasionally think 'I fancy a gudgeon', grab the gear, tackle shop on route for half a pint of maggots (ones from the fridge out back - not the display models) and on to the river...

But the tackle shop has closed. A victim of Covid? Brexit?

It takes 24 hours to order maggots from Willy Worms - but I want to go now! Maggots are my go-to gudgeon bait - but bread will have to do. By the way; I’ve been told bread is a rubbish bait for barbel - all my barbel this year and most last year were caught on bread...

Barbel love bread. And gudgeon are pretty much mini barbel!

So on the river, half a bag of bread and... Boom - gudgeon first cast! Followed by a bit of a mixed bag; roach, chub, more gudgeon, ever-present barbel - even a rudd (which flicked out of my hand before the photo - not having much luck with photos recently).

Cracking couple of hours!

Wednesday, 14 July 2021


More small barbel (total now 75) but I did land one about 7lb - which escaped while resting in the net - at least it wasn't a double!

Talking of doubles; James has added another double to his 40 Rivers, 40 Doubles quest - check out his new-look blog here.

Thursday, 8 July 2021


I should try and track down a roach or rudd - but who could resist trundling a pinch of bread between those weedbeds?

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Bugs & Beasts 7

Welcome to the Barbel & Butterfies Blog! After a six hour barbel blank on the south coast, James and I decided to look for some new butterfly species before moving on to the next river - we're running out of new species locally - we never made it to the next river!

Species 37 - Large Blue - thought they'd be bigger.

Species 38 - Lulworth Skipper - is that all the skippers? Nope!

Species 39 - Silver-Studded Blue - on the windswept coast.

Species 40 - Grayling - perfectly camouflaged until they move.

Sunday, 4 July 2021

On This Day 2019

Two years ago today...
A stunning, ancient mirror-koi on the fly - feels much longer ago!

Friday, 2 July 2021

Quick Barbel Report (62)

I managed to hit the Small River five times during the opening two weeks in June (one full day and 4 afternoons). Action was explosive with 62 barbel landed - plus a small carp, a pound plus eel and about a dozen chub! The bigger barbel are still eluding me but I'll track them down. Cracking start to the season!!

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

On This Day 2012

Nine years ago today...
I landed my first double figure barbel - still up to my neck in nettles searching for them nine years later...

Monday, 28 June 2021

Changing River

Over the last 12 years I’ve fished the small river the water purity has improved year on year, there is far more insect life and the fish stocks have increased dramatically.

Does more fish mean smaller fish? There seems to be a lot more barbel in the river - in four sessions out this season I’ve landed 46 of them! The biggest so far going 5lb 10oz.

But over the past few seasons there does seem to be far fewer fish in the 6-9lb region, the next batch of doubles - or are they hiding in there and I can’t find them?

All rivers flow in cycles - and I’m not complaining about too many fish - plus I’m sure there is the odd monster lurking about in there - just waiting to be discovered! The hunt continues...

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Bugs & Beasts 6

My favourite butterfly species, a Meadow Brown posing in the sun.

An open winged Holly Blue - they don't sit like this often.

A Small Tortoiseshell fresh off the mint.

A battle scared male Adonis Blue - still flying about though.

And a female Stag Beetle - only seen two females so far this year.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Jungle Warfare

Creeping about in nettles, floating crust at barbel - lovely!

Keyboard is broken - that'll have to do - took ages to type that!

Friday, 18 June 2021

Ten Thousand Miles

On the opening day while searching for barbel I spotted a shoal of roach, some of which looked over a pound, so after a stormy night I was back - armed with bread and the trotting gear.

Not sure if the roach had moved or the barbel were beating them to the bait - no roach - just little barbel. Nothing over 3lb but 11 barbel on the float was great fun - they don't all have to be monsters!

I also noticed I have walked 10,000 miles since I started wearing a Fitbit - it took 4 years, 5 months and 16 days - that's a lot of walking for a lazy hobby! On to the next ten thousand miles...

Thursday, 17 June 2021


The long wait was over. The conditions weren't great after the recent heatwave, but the barbel had already spawned and I was looking forward to being on the riverbank - up to my neck in nettles once again - we're a weird bunch!

Unfortunately I was feeling the effects of my second Covid jab; sweating, shivering and a dead arm - with no sleep it took a lot of effort to get up early - but I knew I'd be alright if I could just drag myself to the river. By 5am I was on the water...

Floating crust in the gin-clear water was the technique - and to cut a long story short; 21 barbel, 4 chub and a carp found the net. No big fish but plenty of action - just what the doctor ordered. Exciting fishing - and the perfect way to open the season!

Monday, 14 June 2021

Pre-Season 2021/22

It's very nearly time to go fishing - river season opens on Wednesday - like you didn't know! New line on reels, bits and bobs restocked and kit ready to go - time to make a few plans...

I'd like to up a few personal bests this season; rudd, roach and perch are the initial targets - I'd like to crack a 2lb+ roach and rudd, so close to the target. And a weighed 3lb+ perch would be fantastic.

I can't ignore the local barbel - so I'm again aiming to bank 100 of them this season. I'd like to beat my PB (perhaps a 15?) - but I'll probably have to wait until February for one to hit that weight.

I have a couple of winter pike targets (after so few pike last season) - but with the threat of Covid making a return I'll post about that nearer the time - I don't want to curse it!

Right, hopefully on the riverbank on Wednesday (second Covid jab tomorrow and it made me ill last time). Tight lines bloggers - and I look forward to reading all about your adventures this season...

Friday, 11 June 2021

Bugs & Beasts 5

Species 35 - Wood Whites - not many places you can find these.

Species 36 - Adonis Blue - a female posing in the sunshine.

One of our rarest butterflies - the Glanville Fritillary.

The tiny Small Blue - not easy to photograph.

Common Newt - or is it a Great Crested?