Kevin Perkins is one of those anglers who sees the funny side of everything, and there are plenty of funny goings-on in fishing. But not everybody is able to convey the funny and often quirky nature of fishing. But Kevin can. He’s the Alternative Angler who sees that side of things that most of us miss because we’re too busy going about the serious business of catching fish and often missing the satire and laughs along the way.

Never mind smelling the flowers, don’t forget to take time out to see the satirical side of fishing life and grab a laugh along the way as well. So here’s a regular column from Kevin Perkins to remind us that life is for laughing at, or taking the p*** out of, whenever we can.


In response to many, many requests those TickleTackle brainboxes have been looking at the possibility of producing a range of products specifically for barbel anglers. They did bear in mind, however, that this is probably just a passing phase, so no long-term development was undertaken, only a need to plug a few gaps in the barbel hunter’s armoury.

Whilst the blue sky, envelope pushing, imagineering technology was not fully deployed, a root and branch overhaul of the barbel fishing scene was initiated, with some startling results. Whilst many barbel anglers seem keen to press carp tackle into service, there is compelling evidence that in doing so, they would be using the wrong equipment altogether, as they would be completely out-gunning their quarry.

Lets’ start with test curves – in pursuit of a carp (which can weigh up to 60lbs) a 3lb test rod is used. Maximum weight of barbel today – 20lbs. Therefore it would seem logical that a 1lb TC rod is more than adequate. Factor in distance casting – for carp, around 150 yards appears to be the norm, this is around five times further than the width of any barbel river, but let’s stick with the 1lb rod for now.

And length, most carp rods are 12 feet and above, this being required to give leverage for casting. Given the above distance scenario, a rod of around 2 feet 6 inches would seem to do nicely for the barbel, again, nothing longer is needed for casting. So, short little one-piece wand of a rod, which must also help when it comes to the question of bankside concealment.

Coupled with this tiny rod, a reel of similar proportions is required; no need for baitrunning, ‘big pit’ style equipment when the farthest any barbel can run in a river is probably fifty yards. So something with around a hundred yards line capacity would be more than adequate, therefore do yourself a favour (and save a tidy sum) by looking in the boy’s section in your local tackle shop for all the gear you need for barbel.

As you can see, not much point in TT getting involved, although, given that a 14lb barbel was taken on a Devon minnow, an imitation lure in both floating and sinking versions that is fashioned to look and act like a wounded halibut pellet, may be worth further investigation……

Although, speaking of pellets, it is the case that barbel anglers are at a big disadvantage with the close season. The poor fish don’t get fed for three months, and when the sixteenth does come round, it must take them a while to realise that it is actually food they are being bombarded with. It is hardly surprising that the record weight goes up so slowly if they are deprived of nourishment for around a third of the year.

To help bulk up these fish, a new early season paste has been developed, whilst the exact constituents are a closely guarded secret, the main ingredients can be brought from a colourful character called Ronald, they can be obtained in Supersize, and it is well known that strawberry milkshake is used as a binder, I can reveal no more than that at the moment.

Say what you see……

Jim Gibbinson was kind enough to offer some words to encourage my fledgling interest in carp fishing, and in particular, he noted that I am not yet conversant in the correct carp fishing terminology, and I thank him for that.

However, it did occur to me that in angling circles, calling a spade a spade is not quite so black and white, and devotees of differing species will relate contrasting opinions and meanings to everyday fishing phrases.

Let’s take the failure to catch fish as an example:

Many anglers would simply refer to that as a ‘blank’, pure and simple.

Match anglers never blank, they only suffer from Bad Draw Syndrome’.

Trout anglers just get fish ‘rising short’.

Carp anglers don’t ‘blank’ as such, they have ‘sessions’ and these can be linked towards eventual success, even over weeks and months.

Barbel anglers never blank, they only have days when they are ‘experimenting’.

Hooking and losing fish is also viewed differently:

Again the majority would grudgingly accept that the fish got away, unless something like an obvious tackle break or bent/blunt hook could be pinned down as the cause.

Carp anglers can get ‘Frown by a Jelly Lipper’ apparently, and until my order from Amazon arrives (I’ve ordered a Collins ‘CarpSpeak to English pocket dictionary) I won’t further show my ignorance by attempting a translation.

Barbel anglers don’t lose fish at all, they choose fish welfare above all else. If they decide that the there is a chance of causing stress to their capture, with all that strain of bringing it into the bank, landing, photographing, weighing, etc, they will endeavour to unhook it whilst it is still in the water, thus saving the fish any unnecessary trauma.

I am sure there are many other variations on the same theme…