Still catching on the lower Severn (barbel article and video, entry 276)

I don’t know what it is, but there is a definite pull that the lower Severn has on many barbel anglers, myself included. You can’t really say it is the quality of the fish, as the middle has more than caught up in the last season or so. And although we often talk about not knowing whether the next rod movement will result in a real big fish coming out, in reality you can say that about most rivers. And I’ve certainly had bigger barbel elsewhere – and with less time involved as well. I guess it’s love. You can’t fully describe the emotion but you know when you have it. And many of us would say quite openly, and boldly confess, that we are indeed in love with the lower Severn.

Upper, middle and lower

The Severn is very conveniently divided into three sections – the upper, middle and lower. There are no hard and fast rules as to where each begins and ends, but my own understanding is that the upper is from source to the confluence with the River Vyrnwy. From the joining of the two rivers, the Severn becomes much wider and deeper and takes on the characteristic of the middle reaches, which takes it all the way down to just above Stourport.

It is there that the river becomes navigable to larger boat traffic. So from there to the Bristol Channel is the lower, although of course at Weston-Super-Mare you are going to encounter bass and cod as opposed to barbel and chub. But there are sub-sections, so you get anglers describing the lower upper. Is that the upper reaches of the lower or the lower bits of the upper? Confused? Join the club. And what about the upper lower middle? I wouldn’t know where to start on that one.


The lower lower looking very autumnal

The lower lower

I used to regularly fish a section below Worcester that had a view of the Malvern Hills slightly downstream. But on the present stretch, where I have been a member of the syndicate since it started three years ago, the range of hills are a distant blob on the northern horizon. So I guess that makes it the lower lower. Not the lower lower lower, that’s where the tide comes in and out and you catch flounders as well as roach. Just the lower lower.

And talking of syndicates, since I revealed that I am a member of the dreaded S word ( I almost typed a dreaded member) three weeks ago, I have not received one single abusive e-mail. Certainly to many barbel anglers, joining a syndicated piece of river is on a par with selling your soul to the Devil.




Tip of the week

If you’re a barbel novice, avoid cutting your teeth on venues such as the lower Severn.

Instead learn the ropes where you are more likely to get amongst the fish.

Lots of blanks can be disappointing for beginners, but part of the furniture for experienced specimen anglers.

Anyway, the fishing session in question, before I use up all my space rambling on about nonsense. And assuming that you are still with me and not fallen asleep. The river was about normal level and had colour to it, looking quite good for barbel in fact. The recent floods are but a distant memory now, although the bankside trees still carry the colour and debris as a memorial to how far the river rose. Strong winds, plus minimal rain in the meantime has dried up the edge of the river meaning that not only was fishing more comfortable but also that I could drive to the swim and park there as well. Where you deposit your car is a big issue for anglers, and having it just a few feet away takes away a lot of concern for a vehicle that otherwise could be in a quiet spot somewhere.


Just the one, but better than nothing

I had just the one barbel, although as you can see from the photograph it was decent enough. It all depends on venue of course, but I would consider a quality fish anything from 8lb plus. However, the way that the syndicate section has been fishing so far this season, any fish is a result, regardless of size. We have a private discussion board for syndicate members and there are certainly more blanks than red letter days being posted.

I have had barbel on my recent (including this one) three trips to the lower Severn, but just the one fish on each. That’s why I called the article ‘Still catching..’ or should that be ‘Just about catching…’ as that would be perhaps more appropriate. I guess it just depends on how you look at it. A bit like the lower upper.


Still catching on the lower Severn

YouTube angling videos

In last week’s video I spent some time showing the rig that I use and also explaining the components, so if you’re interested in that side of fishing then check out the video. If you are a regular reader you will be aware anyway that each weekly article has an accompanying clip. I have recently updated my You Tube site so that there is a playlist for all things angling, which makes it easier to navigate. In addition I tag them all with venue and species, so if you type ‘barbel’ or ‘lower severn’ for example into the search engine, you will get all the relevant clips. Just out of interest, I did it myself and including this week’s there are 14 to go at. If you enjoy them, why not subscribe and that way you won’t miss a single update.




Click on the icon for this week’s video clip


The week ahead

I will be switching to pike fishing over the next seven days. In addition I want to get the spinning rod out and have a short session or two on the canal for perch. They seem to respond to the colder weather, and as it’s local, an hour or two is just the business. So it’s predator fishing for me then in the week ahead.

(Originally published October 2008)


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