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River Deep - Mountain High!

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I’ve just returned from a three day trip to the River Swale, barbel fishing with three mates. The water levels were high, about 2 feet up, but had been higher. The colour was a filthy dark brown varnish, and information gleaned from various sources revealed that prospects were bleak. Nevertheless, we had booked in for a couple of nights so we were prepared for a difficult time.

“You’d be better off fishing the slack water” said Jim, the tackle shop owner and gave us the best peg numbers to try. “It should be perfect by Wednesday!” the day after we were due home.

I fished halibut pellet in the slack water all morning without success. Ringing the changes I’d been messing about with four or five maggots plus two plastic/rubber maggots, also without success. After half an hour of this experiment I took the plastic maggots off and recast into the slack water and was rewarded with a lovely bite, and a surprise, with a one and a half pound Swale perch. It was lunch so I nipped off to see the others to boast about my success.

“I’ve had two whacking big bites!” said Glen.

“What, in the edge?”

“No, out there in the fast stuff!” he said, perplexed. Micky had also had a good bite, but missed it.

Returning to my swim I recast out into the turbulent flow of the main channel, against local advice; thirty seconds later the rod end arched round and I was into a 6lb 4oz Swale barbel. We’re all chuffed at this relatively good start. Micky lands a 4lb chub mid afternoon. Glen blanks!

The following day, nursing hangovers, we are persuaded to fish a faster part of the river. I manage a 5lb 1oz chub which is a PB; Glen hooks a 6lb Barbel and plays it very carefully; Micky Blanks.

On the final day it’s very warm; the water level has come down a good foot and the colour is almost back to normal. Jim was right, it would be perfect tomorrow. After a hugely frustrating morning we all decide to move. I blank; Micky hooks a barbel BUT loses it after overplaying it waiting for someone to come with a landing net; Glen wins the day with a small 3lb 15oz chub.

Footnote: a couple of days later a relative novice angler friend of Micky’s calls to say he’s fishing the Wye near Hereford; he’s had four barbel in the first hour!!!
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  1. Sean Meeghan's Avatar
    What have I told you about listening to that man?

    Well done Andy - a decent result given the conditions!