Demon stops play (barbel article and video, entry 280)

Demon stops play

I’m so committed to my angling I could say that wild horses wouldn’t stop me from going once I have a session planned. But the Black Country isn’t Exmoor or the New Forest and so that will never be a literal statement. But how about a Siberian husky throwing a spanner in the works? Well that’s exactly what happened this week. Intrigued? I had better explain now that I have started. It all began on a Tuesday evening. I was driving back home with my wife and youngest daughter after an evening at church where we run a ‘Kidz Klub’. With that behind us I was looking forward to getting to bed so that I could be up bright and early the next day to go fishing.

A Siberian husky keeps me up late

But as we drove home we noticed a big dog running around the street. It was obviously lost and had no road sense at all, so out of concern we turned round and tracked it down. It was very friendly and immediately came to us. We asked a few people who were out walking dogs themselves if they recognised it but none did. We couldn’t abandon the dog, so we took it home, put some warm clothes on (us not the animal) and spent the next two hours walking the streets with it, hoping that its owners would also be out pounding the tarmac. But they weren’t and so eventually we returned back to base.

Our own dog, Twinkle the Bedlington terrier, was not comfortable with such a big visitor on her territory so we knew that keeping it overnight wasn’t the ideal option, although we would have done if there was no alternative. But cutting a long story short, we managed to contact an animal rescue centre, but ended up finally getting home well after 1.00am. We were happy that the dog (we later found out his name was Demon – hence the article heading) was in safe hands, but it put paid to my proposed fishing trip on the Wednesday morning. But that was ok, the main thing was the dog’s welfare and I’m happy to report that eventually it was reunited with his owner a few days later.




The first barbel of the session

A window of opportunity opens

By the time I managed to fit into my schedule another session, a window of opportunity had opened. A window of barbel opportunity. The River Severn had been in the fields, but now it was back in its proper place and was falling. Combined with mild weather and a reasonable water temperature, it was definitely time to pursue barbel.

There is a section of the middle reaches that I enjoy fishing and so it was to there that I set off on the morning. I have been fishing there for several years, not many sessions in a season but enough to get to know the stretch quite well. I do catch some reasonable fish from there, but more importantly I enjoy the area and that’s important. And a big part of the attraction is that I rarely see another angler. In fact I’ve only ever seen two other fishermen there since the start of the millennium and when I think of how busy some places get, that suits me down to the ground.

Mud, mud, glorious mud






Tip of the week

Keep switched on to what the weather is doing. Look for windows of opportunity and make the most of them. It’s better to fish one hour of mild weather for barbel than a whole week of sub-zero conditions.

Fishing with a boilie tends to give me less fish but of a higher average, and that definitely ticks the right box as far as I am concerned. The peg I set up on allows me to use two rods comfortably and by mid-morning I was sitting back in my chair watching the rod tips.Tackle-wise I was fishing 3oz leads, although I did switch to 6oz on the left rod a few hours into the session, as the river had just enough pull to slowly edge the bait into the side. The heavier lead stopped that, but it was to the other rod that my two fish fell. Hook length was 10lb Drennan carp dacron and the boilie was attached to a hair from a size 4 Drennan boilie hook. Both fish came in daylight and although I was intending to carry on into dark, in the end I fished just up to it.

As the river had only hours before been where I was fishing from, you can imagine how muddy it was. In fact when I showed my wife the video that accompanies this article, she said she can hear me squelching in the mud. Trust a woman to pick up on that, but as she is more than aware of how dirty I get I guess that’s a logical way of thinking. Particularly when she is the one who has to wash the end result – my clothes by the way, not me. She often asks me if other anglers get as soiled as I do and I have to confess that most probably do not.



The second barbel was bigger

Caught on film

I was very happy with the session and certainly so with the fish. The window of opportunity had delivered the goods and I drove home satisfied. I even managed to get the fight on film from both fish and the editing came out quite well, even if I say so myself. When you bear in mind that I am alone and so have to switch the camera on and off and make sure I am as central to the screen as possible, it all fits together nicely. For an amateur, of course, as I claim to be nothing but. If however through my writing or filming I can inspire others to capture the magic of angling then as far as I’m concerned, that’s mission accomplished.




Click on the icon for this week’s video clip


The week ahead

The cut is calling and I intend to grab a short session or three on the Staffs/Worcs Canal after perch. I am going to fish some new stretches, well sort of new anyway as it has been years since I have been there. Will they contain the quality of fish I am after? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to get out there and try.

(Originally posted November 2008)



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