Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Trying for barbel on the Severn.....Hampton Loade

As barbel are a fish that has always alluded me I jumped at the chance when my mate asked my if I would like to join him on the River Severn at Hampton Loade. I have read articles about this stretch and seen Matt Hayes and Mick Brown fishing there I have never myself been there so it was all a new experience.

When we arrived no other cars were parked in the BAA car park which meant that we should have the pick of the pegs. As you can see from the pictures it is a great looking place to fish, in fact it felt like the type of place every one should fish to get the true feeling of what fishing is about. Not purely about the capture of fish but also the serenity of being in such beautiful surroundings relaxing.



My friend is in a lucky situation which enables him to get baits so we decided to take 6 pints of maggots, 4 pints of caster, 4 pints of hemp, a bag of 6mm hali pellets and some hali paste.....each!!! Would have cost a small fortune!

The tactics that we decided to settle on where to use large maggot feeders on both rods, and to alternated between using hemp with caster and maggot. With aim being to get the barbel feeding hard on small baits in the swim, hopefully dragging them from down stream.

I set up my two Shimano barbel rods with an small baitrunner 6000's filed with 10lb mainline and Drennan 2.5oz large feeders with a Korum quick change bead prior to a hook link of 8lb double strength mono, finished in a super specialist size 12 hook.

I cast my first rod 3/4 across and set it onto the rest as I was baiting my second rod the tip bounced back then hooped over..barbel????...no a 2lb 10oz chub on my first cast.

Not bad.
I recast both rod and watched as the tip constantly flicked and tapped by the minnows struggling to get 4 maggots on a size 12 in their mouths.

Next tap i hit and reeled in a fish which is a first for me...a small trout which was a truly beautiful little fish with its red spots and amazing other colours.

After about 15 mins my tip bent and I hit into another better fish...barbel.....no ! A chub of 3lb 3oz ! was I ever gonna catch one?

The next couple of hours went by , in which I failed to connect with any barbus barbus. But my mate did bank 2! (Git!) Though I did have a few small chub, dace and some specimen gonks!

After moving to the other side of where my friend was fishing I tried something new by casting upstream into deeper water and hoping that the weight would hold..which it did. With only an hour left on the clock before our planning finish time I was very anxious to score a barbel of this lovely river...

After about 10 minutes the BAA bailiff walked down the bank and asked for our day tickets which we gladly produced (though I always do have the correct licences there is still something slightly satisfying about having the correct paperwork when a bailiff asks...I always think they expect the worst?)

As I spoke to him about the tactics and swims that regulars adopt, my rod tip wrapped round and line started to spin of the baitrunner, I ran from only about 3 yards away hitting into the run, though I felt the fish it had hit a heavy weed bed by the time I had reached it. (Gutted). On retrieving my rig I was made aware of the true power of the barbel as it had straighten my super specialist hook.

I re-baited the rig and re-cast upstream into the deeper area that the last run had came.
Just 5 minutes later the tip dropped back and then hooped down, at last I had hit my first Severn barbel, though I did suspect it to be a chub!! In fact it was probably the smallest barbel in the river, weighing it at just 14oz! Much to my mates amusement as he questioned if it was a record breaking gudgeon!

With time running out to catch "a real one" I sat watching the tip, hitting and missing lots of small taps orange end. In some ways I was a bit over anxious to catch the barbel. It was not until 10 mins before the end that the rod ripped round to a run that was a definite proper barbel. I was aware that these fish fight hard but it was not until hooking one first hand that I believed it, it felt like a mixture between a very angry tench that wants to get into weed at all costs and a male carp of about 8lbs with behavioural issues!

After running me up and across the river I landed a fish of only 4lbs 7oz but I think I can call it a "proper barbel" and have broken my virginity!

Safely returned home

I can understand how people get hooked on these beautiful fish and only fish for them as matter of course. In such nice surroundings fishing for a fish that fights like Tyson.
A great day out, would advise everyone to give it a go!

Tight lines


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