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


  1. Are we all weighing in tons nowadays? That sounds like a dangerous trend you could be setting Brian, the weeklies headline writers would be all over that.

    1. OK, that will be 4934lb 4oz (give or take).

    2. An average size of 4lb 1oz

    3. And most productive bait was humble bread.

  2. I love data. Data is beautiful, especially when you can turn it into insight - something that can be applied in future.

    Assuming your angling skill is a constant, and that you would always choose the best method for the conditions on the day, what is the most productive month for barbel would you say in your 10 yrs of fishing?

    My instinct says June or July but scanning your tables says September?

    Excellent work either way Brian! :)

    1. I love data too! Assuming I took 4 years to ‘learn’ the river, I’ll base the best month data on the last 8 seasons. I need to work out the average barbel-per-session-per-month. Sessions were different lengths of time but using 8 years of stats they should pretty much average out.

      Barbel per session per month:
      Jun: 7.3
      Jul: 4.9
      Aug: 4.1
      Sep: 3.4
      Oct: 3.7
      Nov: 3.4
      Dec: 3.1
      Jan: 2.7
      Feb: 2.8
      Mar: 3.5

      So June (when it’s warm and after they’ve had a break) is by far the best month. Go data!!

    2. So in the last 8 seasons (well 7½ really) I’ve fished the Small River 272 times and caught 1,063 barbel an average of 3.9 barbel per trip.

  3. Thank god for that! :)

    After all, surely instinct is nothing more than a collection of historic data points which form a discernable trend.

    Carry on gathering matey, and more the better if you have fun whilst doing it. :)

    1. Some people have instinct - I have notebooks, tables and graphs :-)

  4. Good stats! I do the same with pike, I log them all in a spreadsheet against weather, pressure, river level, wind direction, moon phase etc. Some interesting trends to be seen! What I’ve also done is logged all the 20+ fish from the wye I hear about/know about with the same data too, to build up a bigger dataset of just the big ones. Some 70 odd 20s on there now!

    1. I used to do something very similar with pike when I lived next to The Wye - only in a notepad. And well done collecting data on 70 Wye twenties - that’s a lot of work!

      More recently I’ve been looking at the time of day pike feed; in the Royal Parks (before the fish kill) you could be fishing for hours without a touch then suddenly they would switch on. I’m working on the assumption they are such a proficient hunter they only need to feed for about an hour a day.

      But I think the best bit of info, for all big fish, is location - can’t catch what isn’t in front of you!

    2. Really interesting on the feeding spells, I’ve not previously been a believer in them but there’s definitely something in it, on some venues more than others.

      Yep that’s the main thing! A lot of the areas I fish I know are decent based on previous catches and what mates have had etc, but getting a big one out of the blue on a new stretch is the dream for me

    3. Ps. Quick afternoon trip to the wye today and managed one just under 18 so happy with that! Although it’s only half the size of the one I netted yesterday!

    4. I’ve always found afternoons better for Wye pike - despite thousands of early mornings.

      And I agree, finding an unknown river or stretch that contains neglected monsters really is the dream!

    5. Great stuff with the 18 - really want to get back on that river!

      Biggest I’ve ever seen was a 35 (that was on The Wye) - inspirational stuff!!

    6. Cheers. I bet! Let me know if you’re ever back for a go.

      I think I’ve seen the pic of that one you’ve posted previously - unbelievable fish for a river!

    7. Hopefully back next month - water conditions permitting!

  5. Am still coming down in November, I will be expecting 1.7 of Barbel in November for 1 session?!?!

    1. November is 3.4 average (and about 6.2 hooks lost in the snags)..!

    2. Ah yes, I thought that was overall month so I was assuming you had more than 1 session. I will take that. I will bring 7 hooks with me!

    3. You never know with fishing! I tend to pick my days when the water is clear - they move around a lot and it’s easier when you can see them - but we’ll see what we can do...