On the quiet a plan has been slowly building to do a small tour of some of t' northern rivers, chiefly the R.Derwent but also one or two of the lesser known waterways where Barbel do reside and more importantly, double figure Barbel. The last few weeks I've spent collating info where I can and also a couple of local anglers have given me snippets of info to go on, for example what club books are hooey and what ones are worth investing in.
Before I made the 204 mile trip to the Dearne sandwiched in between Barnsley and Rotherham an impromptu diversion was made to the R.Lea, of course good Barbel are known to live here so I really fancied my chances of getting off to a great start. After getting lost and costing me 40 minutes of extra walking I finally reached the area I had earmarked to fish ( google earth is your friend, that is of course the map is the correct way up....), with that very very blonde moment firmly behind me I got to finding the potential fish holding areas and not before long I had stumbled over a classic looking Barbel swim, decent gravel run, deeper than most of the section and plenty of cover.
So when I settled into the peg all I could think about was how big and how many I was going to catch...the Chub however did not read the script and along with the numerous now deceased Crayfish decided my dreams of a Barbel would not come to fruition, nevertheless when they are this big one can really really not complain!!
My first R.Lea six pluser and a back up upper five pounder ( 5lb 11oz ) to boot!.
|6lb 2oz Crayfish muncher.|
Wonderful swims like this greeted me as I roved around in between moderate rain showers (on a 2/3day fishing bender, having wet gear ain't fun!!) with the hope of finding a Barbel but with the increasingly colouring up river my chances seem to be diminishing as the afternoon wore on. I am reliably informed that those conditions are not great at all, low and clear strangely seems to be the Barbel' preferred feeding time and they say every river is different! This is no different. Arriving from the R.Lea around 9am I set about rolling meat through the numerous weed beds to try and tempt a Barbel out of hiding. This process to find one took longer than I thought as the first 3 hours yielded nothing but one Chub (4lb+), but then my chance came in the shape of a Barbel around 8/9lb mark, not quite my target size but an opener on a new river some 4hrs from home, fortunately for the fish my technique was lacking and as its nose buried in the ribbon weed to take my lump of meat no bite was indicated until it was too late, I watched the Barbel then come up in the water column with the bait in its mouth but the bow in the line was too great and I didn't have direct contact with the fish and the opportunity was gone, in fact that chance turned out to be the only one on the Barbel front on the R.Dearne!
|What a little stunner.|
As 4pm approached I felt like I needed to get back on the road, with 55miles of unpredictable M1 south traffic and accident riddled roads I knew if I wanted to get into one of the good night pegs I needed to get there a couple of hours before dusk, so I could set up and get settled, hoping for a sleepless night!
|Base Camp and waiting for Ol' Bertie.|
This section of the Derwent is heavily fished and not before long I was flanked by anglers up and down of me, not my kind of fishing but given my limited knowledge of the river it was the best I could do, assured it was a good night section I stuck it out and waited, waited and more waiting when I decided at 0130 that it wasn't going to happen and with a distinct hint of Autumn slowly creeping closer I retreated to the car for some much needed sleep. 37 hours, no kip, hundreds of miles driven, work, fishing etc.
|6lb 7ozs, Certainly can't be disappointed with that fish.|
A very nice Chub indeed and another six on my travels since Thursday night. I released that Chub and then continued on downstream, fishing hard and pretty well too as the cobwebs in my rolling meat technique were being blown away well and truly. Roughly 45 mins later I found myself rolling a very tight run with a raft of floating vegetation on the far bank and got the chance to tuck a bait under the raft and then roll the bait down the gravel gully where I could feel the bait bouncing freely in between the weed beds that I found a couple of times, even without seeing the bottom as I was at water level I was beginning to picture the topography mentally and knew if there was a fish present I stood a chance in between the weed beds, then out of nothing! I got a little tap on the finger, felt the bait stop, so I gave it a tiny lift when the rod immediately responded with a sharp lurch down stream!
|A real pretty place, I felt quite privileged to be there.|
I could not have asked for a better outcome on the R.Derwent, the drive back down to the R.Lea from Derby was fairly uneventful and soon found myself trudging the banks of the Fishers Green section in search of a Barbel, but nothing materialised, I could not be unhappy with that ending and the Lea is very close to a lot of my work, so I'll get plenty of time to bag a R.Lea double yet. Until then I'll feed off the positives of this wonderful trip that I had embarked on, it'll live long in the memory.