Tuesday 22 August 2023

River Ribble Double, That's A Wrap!!


 While taking a break up in the Lakes with the family I knew that could present an opportunity to take the gear up north in the car and seeing as we crossed the Ribble on the M6 heading north it would be rude not to give it a go at some point, the Ribble is one of my most northerly target rivers and to achieve the unthinkable would be immense.

 The only time I ventured on to the Ribble previously was back in March and the river was in a terrible state where 5oz leads didn't hold bottom in the margins. This time around things were very different. 

Slightly less benign.

What I was greeted by on Sunday evening.

 Sunday evening I made the 50-mile trip south with the gear and made my way up to an area where it was reputed to hold Barbel and somewhere that I felt I stood a chance. With such a big river it was a bit daunting as to where I should start exactly. So I leaded around briefly to try and find any gullies or drop-offs where Barbel might patrol and within 5mins I found a good gully in between two shallower banks, this was to be where I would set my traps.

 A single 12mm robin red pellet with a small PVA bag on one rod and a large lump of Spam on the other rod was my go-to, all I could do now was wait and hope that there was something moving around. As mentioned above, the conditions on my previous visit were not ideal. However, they weren't fantastic this time around either as the river was really sluggish and barely moving owing to very little rain where it matters. I just hoped it wouldn't hinder me and around thirty minutes later as I was staring at the shooting stars arcing across the skyline my pellet rod went into meltdown, nearly losing my rod in the process!

 Immediately I had to loosen the clutch as the fish really fought hard from the get-go and knew I was attached to a Barbel or a Carp, obviously, I was really hoping that a Barbel was pulling on the other end and once I finally got it out of the gully and over the rocks I saw what I was attached to and knew it was my target fish, all that was left was the small task of coaxing it into the net which it was not happy about, she stripped around 30yards of line off and was back in the middle of the river before I could blink, such was the power of this fish I was not in complete control for around a minute, once I finally got it under control she came in gently with no more than a plod for the bottom, the battle was over and even better still it was a double! The scales were readied along with the mat, but oddly not the camera...yes, I bloody well left it at home in the middle of the bedroom floor. I could not believe it, but thankfully for me my iPhone is pretty decent and the couple of images I got were sufficient.

 My first and last Ribble Barbel weighed a very pleasing 10lb 13ozs and represents the 20th different river across the U.K that I have managed a double figure Barbel from and the halfway stage of my epic journey.

Very happy man!! No: 20!

 That. Will. Do!!

 The mighty Ribble conquered in very quick fashion indeed, it was the fish I needed and the hard work was mainly done before I had even stepped foot on its banks. Once she had left the sanctuary of the net and back home I sat back thinking about the achievement that's just been made, that sense of success is so good when I calculate all those times that I fail, every day is a school day!

City lights with Mars shining as bright.

 The rest of the 3hr session passed by without more than chublet pecking at the Spam and a small chub falling off as it was coming to the bank on the pellet rod, Mission Complete, on to River Number 21!!!!!


  1. Its not so bad "up North" - well done!!

    1. No it's not at all, I think the north (so far) has treated me very well barring my last visit to the Ribble but the weather played its part in that and still had a 7+ off the Tame so it wasn't all bad and got to see my mate up in Stockport who has had very sh*t year.

  2. Just 20 more mountains to climb then.

    1. Indeed it is, I didn't have a plan as to when I would have liked to hit this milestone but I'm sure after less than 3 years to be at this point is not something I envisaged, I set this out to be a 10 year plan given the enormity of it, but having had a great 2 years and 10 months floating about I find myself where I am currently.

      But it's only going to get harder, the final 10 will certainly be the hardest!

  3. That’s a massive milestone, number 20 in the bank - not many anglers will ever achieve that - nice one! On to number twenty one…

    1. Certainly is! Barbel off of 30 rivers across England and Wales to date with 20 being double figure fish, mega!!

      Onwards and Upwards to 21!

  4. Great work James, another ticked off !! half way now wow

    1. Cheers Mick, opportunistic fishing at its finest, very pleased with that one too as the Ribble hasn't kicked into gear yet looking at all the online forums and speaking to a couple on the river that night, so I feel even more elated!

      On to number 21!

  5. Replies
    1. Super chuffed with that, to drive all that way up to fish the Ribble would have been a grueller, so taking that opportunity whilst I was up that way was an inspired decision. Not even sure how I shoehorned the gear in, in an already packed car!


What A Start!

   Since the river season ended I've taken a 3 week hiatus from fishing, work as usual the excuse! Storm Kathleen however was predicted ...