Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Hard to Come By.


 During this 40 rivers challenge I knew there would be times that fishing would be tough, especially on rivers that I am not familiar with. This was in truth a large part of the lure of undertaking such a task, easy fishing is not challenging for the mind and yes, in lean times there is always a little part of me that thinks about just swinging by rivers I've already chalked off just to get fish on the bank. Thus far I have resisted as I see it as time not spent on rivers I should be on.

 On the ColnBrook for example I didn't think I would struggle, wrong again (seems to happening a fair bit of late). Six sessions down ( as of June 20 something ) and still not managed one, this scenario didn't at first appear to be in the balance as I spotted two Barbel last season within 30 mins of being on the river, unfortunately for me they disappeared quickly once a bait went out and since have found myself searching for the tell-tale bronze shapes caressing the swift and plentiful gravel beds. Inevitably if something is present and I spend enough time looking I am bound to find them, last week I did just that, one about 5lb and another quite possibly the very fish I sought.

Lightweight roving is so important to 
tracking down small pods of Barbel.

 Peering through virgin nettles is always exciting as you know no one has been there, then to see two Barbel sat hugging a small branch on the bottom in the first hour of trip 7 to the river, I knew I had to be stealthy and quick, I opted to put out a single SSG link ledger with a lump of meat on and in no time of the bait hitting the deck both Barbel left their holding point and charged upstream to the bait, I was poised to strike and simply hoped the bigger one would take the bait. Nope, that didn't happen.

It's a start, beautiful too.

 It was my first ColnBrook Barbel but really wanted the other fish, that could have meant wrapping up my efforts and moving on to another river, 5lb 6ozs of pure muscle and in immaculate condition, I do wonder if that fish had ever been caught before.

 Once that pocket rocket was released I continued my search which included locating the other Barbel that tore off downstream out of view. With fairly limited amount of time as I wanted to avoid the M25 peak rush hour my time swiftly came to an end. Another 3hrs spent on the river and some more solid evidence to go on, I am in the right places.

Nettles are good rod rests too.

But it takes a while to build up sting tolerance.

 Since that capture I have revisited the banks with a new sense of urgency, those two fish might not be around long and knowing that one had been caught would the other fish vanish owing to that pressure? It's certainly something thats gone through my mind as I searched low and hard for a fish and excluding the odd tit bit there was nothing to be seen and yes it is heavily grown over in alot of places hence my stealthy approach and roving with very little tackle, but the sense that there simply isn't many Barbel in the ColnBrook is growing ever stronger. Can I find that leviathan? or is the ColnBrook not going to be one of those rivers and eventually pull the plug and if so, when do I make that decision, and is that for the short term and revisit it in the future or never step foot on it again? That bigger Barbel I saw may just be the sighting I required to keep the interest.


  1. It's been a few years since I built a nettle tolerance James, but it's well worth it on rivers like yours. You just need the planets to align for one cast and it will happen..... one day.

    1. I find every spring that the tolerance needs to be rebuilt, you never quite get it completely either as younger shoots are often more potent. I really need lady luck here I think, it's hard and with so few sightings to go on that question of persisting on there is nagging in the back of my mind!

    2. You'll probably find that the first push of rain water, if it ever comes, and rolling meat will get you a result. In weather like this, the fish are stuck to their snags and undercuts and very hard to tempt.

    3. That certainly seems to be the case at the moment, I am looking to bide my time and see how the next two weeks goes, temps are on the up so I might break out the swimming shorts.

  2. I admit it, I zoomed in on your mobile meat buffet terminal tackle. No shame there.

    I'm loving hearing about the strategy side of things as much as the fishing James. When do you cut and run is always a hard question to answer. :)

    1. Korda, Korda, Korda :) oddly they do some great patterns for Barbel and rolling meat, the X gape or XX gape size 6 micro barb or barbless are great hooks, strong build and the gape is perfect too, I stuck with Drennan SS for years but they ain't a patch on these and no, I have no afrilliation to them just good gear in some cases.

      The thought of pulling off at the moment seems premature, even with just a few fish seen, oddly there aren't many Chub either, only had two so far of 6.06 and 4.15. Is it simply a case of low stock, no outside help from the EA and relatively poor recruitment? I have a few answers to search for, time will tell if I can find.

    2. 12lb Fox Illusion went straight in my basket. Sounds like we both need every edge we can get right now. :)

    3. It's good stuff that, doesn't mark easily either. Any advantage in our quests is much needed, just hope we start finding fish!


A Change of Scenery.

   Finally we have a summer that everyone can be happy with! That said, the Barbel don't appear to be enjoying it much, in truth I haven...