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!!