Thursday, 23 June 2022

Third Time Lucky?


 At least I was hoping so, 177 miles each way with diesel now costing a years salary to fill up the tank I needed to make it worth while, I needed to catch fish and catch well, preferably get my Severn double, the taste of defeat on my previous two visits and £80 lesson on why not to park in fields was still very fresh, I really wanted to banish those memories and kick off proceedings with some Barbel. 

 So I set off from home in the early afternoon and arrived in Holt for my first port of call. My first venue was Holt Fleet on the BAA book which as a side note is an extremely good value for money membership to have, varied waterways across the midlands to try your luck on. For me, flowing water and plenty of oxygen was my original thought, with the Severn flowing sluggishly I thought a weir would be a good place to start, I couldn't get any closer if I tried. 

Very comfy!!

A nice place to spend some time.

 I started off getting a load of 4 & 6mm pellet out about 2/3's of the way across where I found a deep gully beyond a gravel bar that was very weedy - which I was to find out later on to my dismay. Fishing both rods to begin with on banded 8mm single pellet I set the traps 15 yards apart on the same line, first up, Chub and quite a few of them. The rigid tips on my 1.5TC Korum All-Rounders were pinging constantly and knew it was Chub, but I knew at any point a Barbel could come along and snaffle my hookbait.

 Wrong. A procession of Chub came to the bank with alarming regularity which wasn't filling me with hope that actually the Barbel would get a chance!, they seemed ravenous, but out of nowhere the rod hooped over and knew immediately that this was a Barbel, she rolled over the gravel bar, showing herself completely before ramming into the weed bed I eluded to earlier, nothing I could do and even with fairly stout tackle the game was up, after a few seconds of the pressure coming off of the fish I felt a brief thud, then it went slack as this fish came off, annoying to say the least, but if I can take any positives from it it wasn't a double and likely to be around the 8lb mark.  

 By 2245 which was nearly kicking off time I found myself head scratching and where I was going to go next. With a lovely sunset beyond the horizon I set about moving on to the next leg of my journey, which was to do the night in Bridgnorth on the town section, a stretch I kind of know and hoped would finally break my Severn duck.

 26 miles north of Holt and 40mins later I arrived in Bridgnorth and got straight on with unloading the gear, I was a man on a mission. A quick 5 minute trudge upstream bought me too a peg I was shown by a friend last year and remembered roughly where it was, by midnight I was fishing but had to wait an hour and half for my first bite, when it did come there was no doubt what it was, a powerful take followed by a powerful fight, I was at last on the winning end of a Severn Barbel and not long after it was resting up in the net. 

6lb 3oz and off the mark, at last!

Link for release video here ----->  6lb 3oz Barbel Release

 Finally done, now it was time to get that double figure specimen I really want, chalking off another river early season will give me a huge boost of confidence in which I think will be a very challenging season.

 Unfortunately the remainder of the short night bore no more fruit, so at 4am, I packed up again and headed downstream to Knowlesands to fish a few spots where again I know Barbel do frequent. I made the long walk down the hill and downstream on the fishery some way before finding the peg I was looking for, a nice deep churned up hole littered with big rocks, a risky move but I felt it was the deepest peg in the whole section and fish would be seeking some cover in the bright sunlight.

 I set up in the same manner as Holt Fleet, but instead of bait dropping freebies out I decided to use PVA bags for a more compact feeding pattern, with the turbulent water a bait dropper would have been much less accurate. I set up the first rod and flicked it out just into the main flow, then set about getting rod number two ready when the first rod screamed off, nearly bouncing off the rod-rest and into the river! pure power and as I lifted into the fish I knew it was big, it stayed low in the current and headed at pace downstream, unluckily for me I don't know the exact topography of the swim, but the Barbel did! Very cunningly it headed for a big rock and decided to smash me up on 15lb hooklength that was freshly tied, no imperfections present, a clean cut and a lost fish that could have been any size, I do fear given my extensive experience targeting the species that it was probably the one I wanted, but such as life.

Smaller one around 5lb.

 After plenty of swearing and more swearing I finally got myself together and now fishing with two rods, from this point on I was converting all the action which was roughly coming at a fish an hour, not exactly prolific but amongst that was another six Barbel with the best weighed 8lb 1oz and in post-spawned out condition as to be expected, the others averaged 6lb with a little one thrown in for good measure. 

Long lean fighting machine.

 Around 5pm the peg went quiet and thought about moving pegs when a Barbel rolled in front of me, two rod lengths out, so naturally I bought a rod in and hoped it was feeding. 7pm came and went and still no more bites, I decided to call it a day and head to the ColnBrook for a go there, but the weather was foul and remained on the M25 homeward bound. 

 So I didn't get my double but felt like I was close, I think to be honest I am going to wait a little bit before going back, give the fish time to bulk back up, because it'll just be my luck to have a spawned out 9.14/9.15 on my next trip! A nice fish but would not be the one, so I am going to be patient on the Severn, think that's a wise move.

 Also ordered a ton of hemp from Monster Particle and the heat seals went on two 10kg bags of hemp, the juice was everywhere and seed took me ages to get cleaned up, possibly lost half a pint in the clean up...


  1. Holt fleet was my closest section of the Severn as a youngster . The lock island and also down past the holt fleet pub hold many happy memories for me . Great to read about it . Are there still chickens on the lock island.
    Once we have some rain I will be paying a visit myself .

    Tight lines

    Baz peck

    1. I don't think the chickens are still there, lovely spot to spent some time. Plenty of Salmon around and being caught, some really good fish too.

      A return is definitely on the cards. That Brummie accent takes some getting used too!

      Good luck when you go, be intrigued to see how you get on.

      Tight Lines, James.

  2. This way madness lies. Great account and let's face it, if it was easy it wouldn't be worth it.

    1. Nothing in this game is easy, and if it was that easy someone else would have taken the plunge, just hope that it is a task I can complete!

  3. Well done for putting the time and miles in. Rewards are due!

    1. There will be plenty more of that going on! Would like a double in June if possible, but time is running out for this one, July I should managed a bit more time out.

  4. Enjoying the journey so far, let’s hope these diesel prices drop soon !!!

    1. I'm enjoying it thoroughly, its a challenge like I knew it would be, making the grey matter work overtime, just trying to find fish, once I do I feel a lot more confident of a Barbel hitting the bank.

      And yes, the prices seem to have held at £1.99.9 for a couple of weeks now, needs to halve!


Wash Out Wye.

   Brian and I had a trip earmarked for the R.Wye to target the Barbel, ultimately the plan was to play the numbers game and catch a double ...