Sunday, 15 January 2017

Richard Walker Mark IV, Taming Barbel.

 On my social media page I have been very happy to have posted some pictures of landing myself a piece of angling history with the purchase of said rod in the title, I couldn't have been more excited when I learnt of its sale on eBay, for many years I've wanted to own one and the price of them has been the stumbling block. This time around though the price was right and I couldn't have coughed up the money any quicker. Once I had confirmed the purchase of the rod I organised to collect that evening and the hour drive was filled with anticipation.

 Upon arriving at the sellers property I saw an immaculate and seemingly unused Mark IV leaning against the wall of the passage, there it was! After all these years my chance to own one had come, all I was thinking about once I had collected it and left was when would I get the chance to use it?.

 It didn't take day actually and what better way to christen a new rod than target a wild river Barbel, just the adversary it was made to tackle. Most would resign it to a display case and mollycoddled for eternity, but not me, if I buy something I want to use it and use it I did. With the river that I chose to test it on running clear I had the opportunity to sight fish and that is great fun, I walked the bank for a while before deciding on where to start and even with the weather turning rather unstable with a strong prevailing wind I wasn't going to jack it in.

 In the first run I chose it looked good with plenty of cover and upon closer inspection I could see a Barbel holding station in the middle of the river, knowing it was holding there for one thing only I baited a size 8 hook with a lump of bread paired with an SSG shot and flicked out to trickle it down stream, on the second attempt the Barbel cruised across to intercept it and as the fish took the bread the 60+ year old stick came to life, a healthy bend and a high pitch whine as the brisk wind whistled passed the tort line, what fun it was too. It got to a point when I knew I had to glide it into the net but didn't want the fight to end. Such an unassuming piece of tackle could make an angler so happy, but it did and it wasn't just a small Barbel either as a frame of a double figure fish cruised in, what a start.

A stunningly dark Barbel, never gets old.

 The last six weeks for Barbel have been brilliant, this however was up there with some of my most enjoyable captures, just what it was made for and along with the split cane rod I used a Rapidex narrow drum to tame my morning's target. It couldn't have started better.......9.14 on the scales was the verdict and as it turned out not a double but clearly a frame of one, just a good meal away from being one, but I didn't read much into the weight as it was secondary to what I had experienced, a cold, drizzly and windy morning was never going to dampen the spirits.

A proper stunner! and a mat shot I've dreamt of for years.

 I knelt down on the sodden ground and guided the Barbel's head upstream and allowed her to steady in the flow before watching the sizeable frame slip out of sight into the deep water, I could have chilled from then on but wanted to see what else lye in the shadows. I afforded myself a rest for twenty minutes and have a drink when a large fish broke the surface as it hit some bread being fed to ducks upstream came past me, I didn't see the fish but within five minutes it repeated the act there or four times, I assumed it was a Trout or a Chub, so I felt that I'd like to find out what it was, on went a large piece of flake which was flung out in the general direction of where the last swirl appeared and as the bread went down it slipped just below the surface but still completely visible and instantly vanished, I struck firmly expecting a hectic battle from a wirey Trout and a couple of leaps, instead I got a complete shock as a decent Barbel slapped its tail on the surface before darting for the bottom, I had to double take on what I had just witnessed....crazy.

 The fight again was great and didn't want it to end, a couple of strong dives for cover were prevented as it would have almost certainly ended in disaster, when I put some power into it the fight lasted maybe another "two or three" minutes to which I slipped my surface caught prize to the safety of the net....strange goings on but nothing surprises me anymore. 8.04 on the scales.

 It was another of those mornings when you bag up and only had the hope of one!, it's happening a lot recently and I'm liking it very much. The morning didn't end there either as a youngster of around 21/4lb slipped up and later in the day a lovely 6lb+ Barbel gave in to its primal instinct to snaffle a perfectly placed piece of flake, been great fun and a maiden voyage for the new addition to my collection was worthy of the sport I enjoyed.


  1. What a superb day to christen a new rod, nice one.

    1. It was a fantastic way to christen I was very pleased, can only hope to have many more visits to the rivers like that, couple of trips to the Kennet coming up too ;)

  2. There is something about using historic gear like that, a quality that is a little undefinable, but characterized by a facial grin as it is used. I have a Mk IV Avon by Hardy's and still remember christening it with a grayling. Is your rod a Mk IV carp? Because, although the rod is an "Avon", I feel barbel would really need the Mk IV "carp".

    1. I couldn’t purchase it just to marvel at it. Was always going to be used, just have to look after it.

      It is the Avon 10ft, the carp model is stiffer, where this one hoops over like it’s never going to end! But I feel entirely confident in it for Barbel and touch wood it’s done well so far without a hiccup!

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