Wednesday 14 November 2012

Bobs blog has moved....

Dear all,

I've 'emigrated' my Blog to the oppositions website and can now be found rambling on about my angling exploits here Bobs new Blog

Thank you for following my Blog so far I do hope you've enjoyed it and wish you all tight lines for the future...


Tuesday 10 January 2012

Barbel Fish-Ins 2012

Barbel Fish-Ins 2012 River Severn Atcham

The barbel fish-ins run twice a year and are aimed at giving river novices the chance to hook into their first barbel and experience the tremendous fight you get in the flow of a river like the Severn. Each novice is allocated a mentor for the day and the pegs at Atcham are allocated to give them the best chance of a barbel. It's also a great social event allowing club members the chance to meet up and enjoy a chat over the famous BBQ which is expertly run by Bill.

The fish-ins where started by 'Sir' Cliff Taylor some 6 years ago, he has organised the twice yearly event ever since and no doubt encouraged many novice river anglers into this fantastic sport.

After the September 2011 event Cliff announced his retirement as an organiser but rest assured he will be in attendance at future events even if it’s just simply to fish and pass on his experience and enthusiasm for this great species. Here is an extract from Cliffs post on the forum;

“Finally, I’m sorry to say that September’s barbel fish-in will be the last one I run for the foreseeable future. I started the fish-ins around six years ago and they have increased in popularity throughout that time to the extent where they have become a major event in the club’s calendar. But I believe it’s time for new blood, with new ideas, to get involved and to develop the fish-ins further. I have already spoken to a couple of people who have said that they are willing to take on the task and, knowing them well, I am confident they will do the events justice.

My best wishes are extended to all that have attended the fish-ins over the years. I have thoroughly enjoyed organising them and have made many new friends. Special thanks go to Nev Henshaw and Bill Last who have brightened up the day with their fishy tales and humour.”

I am delighted to be one of the people Cliff has asked to take over organising these events and I look forward to the challenges ahead. The fish-ins have provided a great opportunity to get involved in barbel fishing and there are many testimonials to their success on the forum. It allows the novice river angler to ‘have a go’ under the expert guidance of our mentors who freely give up their time to help out plus it’s a great social event and an opportunity for many to put faces to familiar names within the club.

The 2012 events will follow a similar format to previous years and will fall on similar weekends in July and September, there may be a later start time of 12 noon to encourage anglers to fish on into the late evening when barbel are known to be more active but other than that I firmly believe in the old saying ‘don’t fix it unless it’s broke’ The Raven Café will remain as our initial meeting place for a hearty breakfast or you can go straight to Atcham for the traditional welcome and induction session.

The July event will take place on Saturday 21st July 2012 followed by the September event on Saturday 8th September 2012, some members have previously made a weekend of it and stayed over till the Sunday, myself included, but if you just want to have a taste of river fishing for the mighty Barbus Barbus then the Saturday’s will provide you with that opportunity and you may even win a prize, donated by the club, on the day!

There will be a post started on the forum in February 2012 to confirm the dates and take names for each (or both) events and I will also post all the information on tackle and tips to ensure you get the most out of what promises to be a very enjoyable days fishing. In the meantime if you want to look back at previous events just search for ‘Barbel’ on the forum and follow the fish-in threads.

I look forward to seeing you in 2012,

Tight lines,

Graeme (aka Bob).

Barbel Fish-Ins 2011

23rd July 2011 - Atcham River Severn Barbel Fish-In

The barbel hunters gather for a group photo........

This years event was kindly sponsored by Hinders Fishing Superstore who kindly donated well over a £100 of thier specialist barbel baits, this was dived up into lots and each angler drew a number out of the hat, I was lucky enough to get the Spicy Salamiz Barbel Barrels which Hinders say have added elips oil making them a fantastic barbel bait.

The barbel fish-ins run twice a year and are organised by 'Sir' Cliff whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time at Daisybank. Cliff is an accomplished angler with a passion (some might say obsession!!) for barbel fishing and he has organised the fish-ins for 6 years to date.

Cliff (centre) chats with other members

The event is aimed at giving river novices the chance to hook into their first barbel and experience the tremendous fight you get in the flow of a river like the Severn. Each novice is allocated a mentor for the day and the pegs at Atcham are allocated to give them the best chance of a bertie barbel on the day. It's also a great social event allowing club members the chance to meet up and enjoy a chat over the famous BBQ which is expertly run by Bill.

Bill and his famous BBQ

A great social is had by all...

I had my name down for the July event as soon as it was announced on the club website and I was really looking forward to the day especially with my successful session 2 weeks previously.

We met at the Raven cafe 7:45am for a full English breakfast and left for Atcham at 8:15am. Once we arrived at the car park and after a quick introduction to the day by Cliff we headed off to our designated pegs.

I was in the right hand field from the car park on the second to last peg from the, on my right and the last peg was Steve and Phil.

As before I didn't rush to get a rod out but instead baited up swim with a around 6 balls of ground bait. At 10am I started casting in every 20 minutes with PVA stick of pellets threaded on the hook link and an 11mm pellet on the hair.

I positioned one rod to the left about 2 rod lengths out under an overhanging tree the other dead ahead a third of the way out. I repeated the routine every 20 minutes to get hemp out in black cap feeder.

The river was a lot lower than it was a couple of weeks ago as we'd not had any rain worth speaking about and there was a fair amount of streamer weed on the line when reeling in to recast however at 12:20pm the rod that was out a third of the way in front of me started nodding and although I thought it must be weed I decided to strike and bingo I'm into a fish.

It didn't put up a fight so knew it wasn't a barbel but I was very surprised to find it was a decent bream and certainly a new PB. Once unhooked it weighed in at 4lb 11oz and was indeed a new PB and my first river bream. Steve kindly took the picture.

First fish of the day and a new PB bream at 4lb 11oz...

I had nothing further until 7:40pm when I had a small barbel about 3lb which went nuts under the net caught two thirds across first cast as I had been fishing closer previously.

I packed up at 8pm and made my way down to Poachers to join Ash, Phil and Big Dave for the evening. I setup the bed chair on the peg (no room for a bivvy) and after a bite to eat and a chat to the lads I settled in for the night.

I'd set the alarm for 5am and woke up to a fantastic early morning mist rolling across the river.

View from my bed chair, 5am dawn at Atcham...

The view was without doubt a fantastic sight but despite it's promise the river wasn't going to give up it's barbel in this swim so around lunchtime we decided to pack up the over night gear and move back to the right hand field where I'd had my first session a couple of weeks earlier.

Blue skies and a clear, low river...not ideal conditions

The wildlife where enjoying the warm weather...

That was to be it for the afternoon and with no signs of fish I decided to pack up and head off home, very tired but thoroughly enjoyed my first barbel fish-in and now looking forward to the September event where hopefully a few more fish will come out. In the meantime here are a few more pictures from the day...

3rd September 2011 - Atcham River Severn Barbel Fish-In (Take 2!!)

I returned from a very relaxing 2 week family holiday in Spain on the 31st August and I was really looking forward to getting back out fishing. The second Barbel Fish-In of the year was once again arranged by Cliff and his band of merry helpers for Saturday the 3rd September.

I arranged to travel down to Atcham on the Friday and spent my 47th birthday with Ash (Brimful) on the eve of the fish-in. Hoping to get a head start on the famous river Severn barbel we set up camp on a double swim in the left hand field straight ahead from the car park.

With the day shelter and bed chairs installed out of the way behind us we surveyed our swim, the river was lower than it was in July and the bay in front of us was full of bright green algae and some kind of pond weed.

Our swim but not our rods... taken the next day occupied by AndyP and guest

The green algae and weed was thick and uninviting to both angler and fish...

It didn't look promising but I started to catty out good sized balls of Hali and Hemp Crush in an effort to build the swim up and generate a bit of interest.

It was dark by 7:45pm and we cast out about mid way not knowing what the night had in store for us. At around 10pm I had a show of interest on my left hand rod and lifted into a very welcome barbel of around the 3lb mark, all wasn't lost and I later managed to take another small bertie and a chub!!

Shortly after Ash was into a barbel and much to our relief we landed it successfully at around midnight.

Ash with a well earned barbel...

We called it a night around 2:30am and retired to bed after setting the alarm for 5:30am intending to try the swim at dawn.

Sadly it wasn't to be and after a hearty breakfast we packed up the over night gear and headed back to the car park to meet the rest of the club members.

As before our swims where allocated for the day and we set off once again full of anticipation. They day passed slowly and know one was catching, unusually for me I managed to get 40 winks whilst keeping one sleepy eye on the rods.

Big Dave arrived for a chat and we talked about the poor conditions, Cliff and Bill joined us and we talked about the poor conditions... to be fair it is almost impossible to arrange such an event in advance and guarantee the ideal conditions but the day wasn't wasted because to me and the majority of the barbel hunters it's about enjoying the crack and meeting other members from the club. Ash and I reeled in around 2pm, had a cuppa and headed off to the BBQ...

Bill tends his world famous BBQ...

Well if the berties aren't feeding we'll make up for it...

Willow0809 keeping a close eye on his burger!!!

All wasn't lost and the lads dug in for the evening session, one or two even managed to wangle out a barbel or three.

Wayne holds his prize proudly for the camera...

Ken looking rather pleased with a pristine Atcham barbel...

Bluesparks stuck it out and shows how it's done...

And finally myself and Ash moved swims around 9pm back to where we'd started and fished through till midnight. After just hanging up a call to Cliff, who had headed off home, I managed a lovely chubbly of around 3lb...

To finish off the evening 'Sir Cliff' had arranged (or so rumour has it) for a fantastic fireworks display which preceded to light up the sky to our right over Atcham bridge!!

The display ended the evening perfectly and we retreated to our cars and headed home, once again delighted by the days events.

The following days saw the announcement that Cliff would retire from organising the Barbel Fish-In's however he was to be commended on the magnificent job he'd done. The club and it's members showed their gratitude via comments on the forum and e-mails to Cliff shortly after.

The event will most definitely continue and I for one (of many) will ensure they live up to their reputation in years to come, thank you Cliff for all your hard work and enthusiasm you've put in to the past six years and for the advice you've personally passed on to me and countless others which I've no doubt has influenced our approach to river fishing, your an angling legend and your event will most definitely continue in the future. We sincerely hope we'll see you there as our honoured guest in years to come!!

'Sir Cliff' with a magnificent Atcham barbel weighing in at 7lb 9oz

Sunday 1 January 2012

Barbel Clinic

  "Barbus Barbus"

Hello and welcome to barbel clinic please feel free to contribute or indeed ask any questions relating to barbel or river fishing in general. I will endeavour to answer or comment on every point raised but I am by no means the 'font of all knowledge' on this subject, in fact at this point in time it has been less than three months since I hooked into my first barbel but...

you never forget your first barbel 3lb 8oz River Dane 18th June 2011..."thanks Billl you're a gent"

If you are one of those anglers who are blessed (some might say afflicted) with the sometimes "frustrating" path of specimen angling then you'll agree barbel fishing is "funny ole game" and as Forest Gump once said;

"barbel fishing is like a box of never know what you're goin' ta get"

This post aims to discuss all things related to fishing for the magnificent species "Barbus barbus, the barbel native to Britain is known simply as the barbel and is a popular sport fish." (1) taken from Wikipedia

I've also quoted the introduction to the Wikipedia definition;

"Barbels are group of small carp-like freshwater fish, almost all of the genus Barbus. They are usually found in gravel and rocky-bottomed slow-flowing waters with high dissolved oxygen content. A typical adult barbel will range from 25 to 100 cm in length and weigh anywhere between 200 g and 10 kg, although weights of 200 g are more common. Babies weigh 100-150 g.

Barbel roe is poisonous and causes vomiting and diarrhoea in some people.

The name barbel derived from the Latin barba, meaning beard, a reference to the two pairs of barbs — a longer pair pointing forwards and slightly down positioned — on the side of the mouth.

Fish described as barbels by English-speaking people may not be known as barbels in their native country, although the root of the word may be similar. For instance, the Mediterranean barbel, Barbus meridionalis is known as barbeau méridional or barbeau truité in France, but also as drogan, durgan, tourgan, turquan and truitat."

I hope you enjoy this post and can find the time to read it through or contribute,

Tight lines,


14th October 2011

Lets start with a contribution from "Sir Cliff" a long standing member of Lymm Anglers and an accomplished barbel angler.

"Sir Cliff" admires a magnificent river Severn Atcham barbel...

Cliff has posted the following on the LAC forum on 5th September 2011 in response to questions raised at the September LAC Barbel Fish-In;

"What are the right conditions for barbel fishing on the middle river Severn?"

The single most important aspect to success when fishing for barbel on the River Severn is the condition of the river. When conditions are favourable, fishing is easy but when they are not catching barbel can be nigh on impossible.

At the two fish-ins this year we have been unlucky enough to encounter extremely poor river conditions for two very different reasons...

Cold Water Releases
At the first fish-in in July the river levels were reasonable and on first glance confidence was high that quite a few fish would be landed. However, even though there had been no significant rain the preceding days the river rose slowly throughout the day. Significantly, the river did not change colour throughout this rise. I realised that we experiencing something that I had often read about but not come across previously and this was the effects of a release of water from a dam named Llyn Clywedog in mid Wales.

The dam was built between 1965-67 to regulate the flow of water in the Severn, both as a protection against flooding of the upper sections of the river during the winter months and also to ensure the maintenance of a minimum flow in the river during the summer. Hence, every now and then during the summer months water is released into the Severn system. This water comes from the bottom of the dam and is therefore usually much colder than the water in the Severn. The sudden drop in temperature switches the fish off the feed instantly.

Apparently there is a telephone number that you can dial to find out whether water has recently been released but I don't have this number just yet, having never needed it previously. I'll certainly find it out now for my future summer barbel fishing sessions!

Low and Clear River
At the second fish-in last Saturday, I took one look at the river and thought "oh my God, they've got no chance". The river was lower than I had ever seen it to the extent that large amounts of Canadian Pond Weed had formed in several swims. At one point during the day I went wading with just my wellies on!

Leading up to the event I had checked reports from around the area and the news was glum with very few fish being landed. However, one of the anglers who took part in the fish-in said he had been for an evening session there on the preceding Tuesday and between him and his father they landed six barbel between them. So, maybe there was hope after all? Wrong! The fishing was simply dreadful with the results being the worst of any of the fish-ins over the last 6/7 years. Just 5 barbel and a chub were caught across 30+ anglers.

Getting Info on Water Levels
So, why were the fish feeding on Tuesday but not on Saturday? A quick check on the River Levels Wales website when I got home revealed that there had been a slight rise in levels on Tuesday. This was caused by a number of heavy storms over the preceding Bank Holiday weekend and the extra water, although small, had resulted in an instant feeding binge from the barbel. The illustration below is from the River Levels Wales site and shows the rise that took place on Tuesday:

One of the really good things about the River Levels Wales site is that is shows the levels from high upstream on the Severn right through to the Worcester area. By looking at what the levels are like upstream you can assess what is going to happen in the Atcham area 24/36 hours later. For example, if the river at Montford Bridge has risen to 3ft above normal level you can expect the level at Atcham to rise by around 1ft some 24 hours later.

Even if you don't intend going fishing it's worthwhile studying the levels during the Autumn and Winter months to see what effect rises that occur upstream have further downstream and how long this takes. Armed with this information when you do go fishing you will know exactly what to expect when you get there and, more importantly, whether or not the barbel are likely to be on the feed.

The monitoring stations on the Severn are listed below, starting from the upmost point and working downstream:

1. Caersws
2. Montford (just upstream from our stretch at Rossall)
3. Welsh Bridge (Shrewsbury Town Centre)
4. Bewdley
5. Diglis (near Worcester)

You can get to the he River Levels Wales site by clicking here. You will need to register on this website to get access to the river level data.

The Environment agency do something similar (although in my opinion not as good) and the site can be accessed by clicking here.

To see a live view of the condition of the river at Atcham, click here.

Best Conditions for Catching River Severn Barbel
1. When the river is coloured after a warm weather front has crossed the country.
2. When the river is on the rise after being low for a while.
3. At the peak of a flood.
4. As the colour is starting to drop out of the water after a flood.
5. After several days of frosts followed by heavy rain.

Worst Conditions for Catching River Severn Barbel
1. Very low and clear
2. Snow melt entering the river (kiss of death)
3. Cold water release from the Llyn Clywedog dam.

Best Time of Day for Catching River Severn Barbel
In perfect conditions the barbel will feed throughout the day and fish can be caught quite steadily. However, the best time of all is undoubtedly around two hours before dusk through to an hour after dusk, especially if the river is carrying litttle on no colour. So, if you can, time your visit to coincide with this feeding period.

Most of my best barbel sessions have taken place when I have fished the river after work. I typically arrive at the river for around 6pm and fish through to 10.30pm and would expect to have anthing between 4 and 10 barbel plus the odd chub during this period. Barbel will continue to feed throughout the night and often you will find a quite spell of an hour or so is followed out of the blue by hectic, arm-wrenching action.

Flood Water Conditions
If you arrive at the river to find the level at the top of the banks and ripping through, don't be put off. The barbel will still be feeding heavily, especially if the level has peeked and is starting to drop off. The bigger barbel are often caught in these conditions.

During the summer months you should take a mental note of each swim so that come the floods you will know exactly what is in front of you. Ideally, you are looking for a swim that has a tree upstream of it. The tree will slow the flow down considerably, leaving a slack area in its wake. Fish here! The barbel will use it as a refuge/resting point from the flood. But be prepared to move if you get no action within an hour.

Don't try and cast into the main flow as your feeder/lead will most like like end up snagged in the marginal vegetation as the current pulls it round towards the bank. Heavy feeders (3oz to 5oz) may be required but leads can be quite a bit lighter as they won't get moved so easily by the current.

What's the Best Time to Target a Big Barbel?
1. During a flood
2. Mid September to Mid October and the last three weeks of the river season.

When to Go Next?
There is heavy rain forecast overnight tonight and throughout tomorrow. The weather is also looking unsettled for the next week or so. I'm not going to tell you when you should get out next; just take a look at what I've said above and judge it for yourself.

Tight Lines to All


Friday 30 December 2011

December and the weather forecast is......

Actually fairly mild for this time of year!!

Welcome to my fourth and final post for 2011 in Bobs Blog.

If this is your first visit and you'd like to start from the very beginning then click on the September link under Blog Archive on the right or simply click here but please be aware that my first post is a lengthy account of the past 12 months and may require a good bottle of red wine to accompany it's reading!!

In the meantime here is my fourth post which will cover my limited fishing exploits during the month of December 2011......enjoy.

Tight lines,


10th and 11th December 2011 - River Dane Saltersford and Wrinehill

I'd planned a full weekends fishing for payback of a lean Novembers outings but the weather started to get nasty mid week and severe weather warnings started to cast a shadow of doubt over proceedings.

The trouble with short winter days and working Monday to Friday is very limited time on the bank so when Andy Pikey and myself hatched the plot it had to be followed through otherwise we'd have missed the opportunity to do the overnighter on Wrinehill as we'd originally planned.

As time was so precious I also planned a morning trotting on the Dane with Cliff but had to change venues at the last minute due to me having all my worthy fishing goods in the back of the car and having to park in an industrial estate to fish our chosen stretch, a chance neither of us wanted to take so I headed off early doors to Saltersford where Andy and myself had our first experience of trotting and our first Grayling a few weeks earlier.

To be honest I was not expecting to catch but we all live in hope so I gathered my gear and headed for the river. The field just to the right of the style was devoid of cows this time so I opted for a quick straddle of the barbed wire (ouch) and then made my way to mid-stretch.

Upon arrival I set the float rod and centre pin up and filled up my newly acquired bait pouch with about a pint of red and white maggots. The swim looked promising so I fed a little and cast out, several trots later I reeled in and as I was travelling extremely light just gathered up my stalking bag and moved on.

This is the first time I'd left all the 'essentials' in the car and to be honest I wasn't missing any of them!!

The next swim turned out to be idyllic, it was on a sharp bend and was very shallow in the margins as the river had recently dropped about a foot. After a well earned coffee (the flask goes everywhere with me) I was soon wading in and dropping double maggot in to fish alley but despite my best efforts nothing came to bare so I headed off for the final swim.

Unfortunately I didn't hook into any fish but here is some photo's from the session..........

Andy had sent a text saying he'd be at Wrinehill for 1pm so I had an hour to finish off on the Dane close to the road bridge and although it was very pacey on this stretch I hoped something would take my bait. I found the faster flow raced the float through but if I mended the line towards the end of the trot it brought the float around and under a very chubby looking over hang. I dispensed with the maggot and put a size 8 hook on and a big chunk of bread flake but despite six or seven trots I didn't get a bite so at 12 noon I headed back to the car and reflected on what had been a very enjoyable river session despite the lack of fish!!!

Wrinehill 10th and 11th December 2011

We arrived at half past one and as it was my first visit to Wrinehill I took a moment to look at the view from the top gate. It really does look like a majestic water hidden down in the valley, apparently before it became a lake it was used as a cinder dump when steam trains ran alongside the tracks around the perimeter but apparently during the second world war the Germans (they bombed our chippy you know) used the soft orange glow of the cinders as a marker beacon to drop bombs on nearby Crewe so it was soon filled in and became a lake sometime after.

The club acquired the fishing rights a while ago and it holds a good head of carp to 30lb as well as plenty of perch and possibly some unknown surprises as well.

We set up camp on the two pegs to the left of car park and settled in for the remainder of the weekend.

I was using my barbel rods and trusty Okuma reels just in case I was lucky enough to hook up with a resident carp which, I believe go to 30lb, but I also wanted to try for the bags of perch that had been coming out recently so I'd brought along my tip rod to have a go with worm over maggot.

The evening passed without a bleep so, after some very nice spaghetti bol (thank you Mrs Roberts!!) I reeled in and went to visit Andy for a chat which went on till 1:30am but we did however solve all the worlds problems so it was well worth it.

The alarm (clock not bleepers) woke me at 7:30am but it was still dark and far too warm and comfy to get up so I hit the snooze and went back off. At 8:30am on the dot I heard footsteps around the bivvy which had to be Cliff calling in for the bacon butties and a catch-up.

At 10am it was back on to the rods for what looked like a promising day.

Mid way through Sunday afternoon a fellow member dropped in to the adjacent peg and was float fishing for the perch, soon enough he was pulling them out on the drop with worm. We had a chat and discussed best methods for catching perch at Wrinehill which it seems where it shelves off about 2 or 3 rod lengths out.

Although Andy had a couple of takes, which where subsequently dropped, he decided to call it a day and head off home at 4pm. I was on the only one on the lake so I decided to start slowly packing away all the gear in the bivvy (most of which I hadn't used). I thought I'll fish through till 7pm and get off as I had work in the morning and an hour or so drive home.

It was about 6pm when the tip rod sprung into life and I struck into a fish, a certain blank was saved and I reeled in a small perch which had been tempted by my rather tired worm. I wasn't entirely alone though as the famous Wrinehill rats had made an appearance to scoff on my bait that had dropped near the waters edge, just to the left of the bait bucket!!

It was 9pm by the time the car was packed up so I headed off home after a very enjoyable weekends fishing.

27th December River Severn Atcham

As planned I headed of to Andy's and arrived just 10 minutes late, well Northwich? Nantwich? all looks the same on road signs at 6:30am, I took a few wrong turns but got there eventually. We loaded my gear in to Andy's car and headed off to Atcham for a day's barbel fishing.

Cliff pulled in behind us as we unlocked the gate and the weather was overcast which is preferable to bright and sunny. The river was well up since we'd last been and was pushing through, close in would have been the best tactic as holding bottom out in the flow wasn't really possible.

Dawn on 'Duffers peg'

I dropped into 'Duffers' peg by the pump (which had been removed) and Andy in the next double peg upstream where I'd previously had my best barbel session back in July in similar but much warmer conditions, Cliff went further upstream to the right.

The river was well up and pushing through...

Mid morning and we dropped in on Andy for a chat, Cliff and I where packed up and ready to move swims but Andy was sticking it out where he was. As we talked Andy's right hand rod gave a couple of knock's and he was in to a fish, as he was close in it was soon in the net and we admired a rather hollow and battle scared chub of around the 3lb mark.

Andy with the only fish of the day....

Cliff and I moved down to the left hand field and I crossed the brook into Poachers field and set up in a slack back eddy hoping to tempt a chub resting from the flow.

It wasn't to be and once darkness fell I packed up and made my way up the hill to meet Andy for the long journey back to Nantwich to pick my car up and headed of to Cliff's to once again recall a very enjoyable but un-productive day at Atcham.

That's it from me for 2011 so I'll take this opportunity to thank you all for taking the time to read my Blog so far and for your kind comments, the tightest of lines for 2012.

Best wishes,