I enjoyed my recent barbel fishing on the middle Severn so much I decided to return after my roach excursions. With the river carrying a tinge of colour and the day being overcast I was more than confident. Although I have fished the swim I chose before, I’ve never tackled it for barbel. But with a clump of overhanging willows downstream, I was confident.
I opted to fish hair-rigged baits with 2x M2 12mm on the left rod. With the other one fishing a frankfurter sausage Barbel Stix, I saw it as a bonus rod really. Not that the bait is inferior, far from it, just that in open water it didn’t have the edge that the willow tree one did. So it was no surprise when the M2 rod opened my account.
It did take me into the overhanging branches but I managed to extract it with no problems. I did give the line a good ‘feel’ after however to check for abrasion. There were no issues though so I recast. It’s worth testing your line on a regular basis, particularly if you’re fishing over gravel, into a channel and so on.
A short time later I netted my second fish of the afternoon, followed by the third, which wasn’t a barbel but a chub. The score now was 3-0 to the M2. I thought another barbel was on its way to the bank but after a few moments I had the dreaded hook-pull. I did manage a final fish right at the end though making the final tally of three barbel and one chub.
All the fish succumbed to M2 which shows that bait placement is often more important than the actual bait itself. I am absolutely convinced that if I had swapped the baits I would have had the same results with Barbel Stix. And while on this occasion the feature was obvious, in many swims it may not be so. That’s why watercraft and thinking is so important.
I filmed a video on session one and you can view that via the link at the foot of this entry. You also get to see footage of the Severn Valley Railway as a few steam trains put in an appearance on the far bank. I do enjoy fishing the middle Severn stretches that run close to the railway. I’m not a rail enthusiast but nevertheless I do enjoy the sights and sounds of a by-gone time – the golden age of steam.
Back on the Severn for session two I was later arriving this time due to other things. I do fish a lot but still have to balance angling with all my other commitments. In reality that’s how it is for the vast majority of us. Interestingly I had picked up from a few other anglers that the middle Severn was ‘rubbish’ and ‘we desperately need some rain’.
I wish I had a pound for every time I’ve heard the latter comment – I’d be a rich man by now. Now I’m not saying that it’s nonsense, just that we need to fish around the conditions rather than expect them to come to us. By choosing venue, swim, species, bait and tactics carefully we can give ourselves the edge.
Finding my previous swim vacant I dropped in there again. Everything else was the same as outing one from tackle to bait. I’ve been using Drennan Boilie and Big T Raptor patterns for my barbel fishing for some time now. I only use the former with monofilament though as it breaks at the knot with mono far too easily.
I got off to a flying start and within 10 minutes I had banked two barbel, and yes you’ve guessed it, both on M2. After such a hectic start would it be a case of onwards and upwards? Or would it be all downhill from now on! Well it was a bit of both really as the third fish, a couple of hours later, was on for a few moments before doing a disappearing act.
By now I was sweating and was welcoming the cloud cover that gave respite from the sun’s rays. I was fishing the east bank and prior to it dropping beyond the far bank tree-line, it was in roasting mood. I’m not complaining though, far from it. In a couple of month’s time we’ll be relishing the opportunity to be tormented by a hot sun when out fishing.
My fourth fish (and yes, on M2) again failed to make the bank. At least, like its predecessor, it didn’t feel like a monster. That’s always a consolation regarding a lost fish. And talking of big barbel, the middle Severn has caught up with the lower in recent years. Previously, all my doubles were from below Worcester but now I catch them ‘below Shrewsbury’
Following the lost fish I buried the memories good and proper by a succession of barbel. In addition I broke the Barbel Stix duck by banking a chub! That’s the fish above, decent enough, but no match for barbel gear. By now the sun had been out of view for a while. It was still a humid and muggy evening – perfect for an overnighter. I was only fishing up to dark though.
I ended the session with a number of barbel and four chub. The latter were all good fish as well with the photograph I took being the second smallest. I really enjoyed it and as I walked back to the car I saw a tawny owl in flight, so that was a lovely end to the day. All the fish I caught this week, apart from the one chub, were all on M2 boilies. Motoring indeed! (Published September 7 2013)