Tuesday, 10 January 2012

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

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Thank you for your comments, tight lines, Bob