Saturday 23 October 2021


Barbel number 150 of the season, and more importantly Small River barbel number 1,200 over the 12 years I've fished it. That means I've got my average up to 100 barbel a season - something I couldn't have dreamt of even 3 years ago!

And as it happens this also includes 25 doubles (including recaptures) - so that's an average of 2 doubles per season. Due to excessive note taking I've collected a mass of data as a by-product of fishing here... Let's see... Total weight of barbel caught: 2.3 tonnes!

It's not an average I'm planning on maintaining - the river is close and convenient, and I'll keep fishing it. But I think it's time for a new fishing challenge - what that challenge is needs a bit more thought - wish there were some local pike..!

 Season No 5+ 7+ 10+ Best
 2010/11 27 1 0 0 6lb 6oz
 2011/12 44 14 8 0 9lb 12oz
 2012/13 56 34 20 6 12lb 4oz
 2013/14 8 5 4 0 7lb 13oz
 2014/15 71 33 16 1 10lb 1oz
 2015/16 127 45 15 0 9lb 4oz
 2016/17 70 31 15 2 11lb 15oz
 2017/18 132 56 23 2 10lb 9oz
 2018/19 101 36 13 1 10lb 3oz
 2019/20 164 69 28 5 12lb 1oz
 2020/21 250 77 20 6 14lb 2oz
 2021/22 150 21 6 2 11lb 1oz
 Total: 1,200 422 168 25 Breakdown

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Secret Stream Silver

Very few places fill me with more anticipation than fishing the Secret Stream (I’ve never mentioned it’s name) - less than a mile long, shallow, gin-clear water and flowing though the most beautiful countryside. And James and I found ourselves lucky enough to be fishing it on the opening day of the grayling season.

It’s been nearly two years we last laid eyes on it - our 11th visit in six years - and we were on the riverbank, gear set up, long before the sun broke the horizon. As soon as we had enough light it was stick ‘n’ pin, maggots and searching the gravels with polaroids for grayling among the many trout and millions of minnows.

The minnows were ravenous but the trout were pretty well behaved - except for the triploids - I landed a few of those, one of which was well over 6lb (would have smashed my river PB if it was in season). And we found the ladies of the stream - beautiful bars of silver - fantastic fishing - cracking day in the autumn sunshine!

Monday 18 October 2021

Evening On The Itchen II

A return trip to The Itchen, and while James tried to add another barbel to his 40 Rivers Challenge, I tried once again to land a 2lb+ Itchen roach. I could see them ghosting in and out of a shallow gravel run - but to cut a long story short - I couldn't tempt them!

I tried a variety of bait but the roach weren't going to be fooled on this trip - a blank was saved by a grayling, a brown trout and three chub to 4lb 13oz. A quick photo of the largest chub - before hitting the road, no time for sleep - there was grayling to catch...

Saturday 9 October 2021

Ghost Barbel & The Twins

Whatever was putting the fish off a few days ago has washed through. An afternoon wander and five barbel found the net - including the 7lb 2oz very distinctive 'ghost barbel' (above) and an 11lb 0oz double (below). Oh, and another double spotted for next time...

The eleven was sat with her twin - there couldn't have been more than an ounce or two difference between them. Both rushed the rolled bread, this one beating the other to it - a recapture of my September double - but I know there is at least one more there...

Thursday 7 October 2021

Fresh Water

After an afternoon thrashing the canals to a foam with lures without so much as a follow I thought I'd hit the Small River for some barbel action. This much needed rain must have sparked a feeding frenzy - nope - just one fish! Anything but predictable!!

Sunday 3 October 2021

London Pike

Chasing rumors. I'm very lucky with my local fishing, I'm a walk away from some fantastic barbel, chub, trout, roach and gudgeon. There are ponds if I fancy targeting carp and canals for bream. But one species I haven't got at my fingertips is pike.

The last few seasons I have fished The Royal Parks with diminishing returns and stories of a big fish-kill that wiped out the pike. The once great Penton Hook hasn't produced a pike in years. And the river and stillwater I used to fish are no longer available on a day ticket.

Looks like I'm going to have to head away from London to find pike, my last local hope is the canals (much of which now display 'No Fishing' signs). Time to wander the towpath and chuck a few lures about. Or am I missing something right in front of me?

River pike within the London tube network, 13lb 1oz (2018).

Canal pike within the tube network, 15lb 0oz (2015).

Tube network stillwater pike, 11lb 12oz (2015).

A Penton Hook double, 17lb 8oz (2011).

Tidal Thames, boat caught double, 12lb 9oz (2017).

And my biggest London pike, 18lb 3oz (2019).