Whoever said that time flies certainly wasn’t joking. I was thinking about my own barbel fishing this week and my thoughts turned to some of the adventures that I’ve had over the years, including numerous sessions on Staffordshire’s River Sow.
It has been some years since I fished it for barbel. Although not a noted barbel river like the Severn or Wye, nevertheless as it flows into the Trent, albeit near Stafford, I decided to put some time in and try and locate the species as I knew they were in there.
I ended up doing quite a few sessions during a period of several years. I didn’t catch many fish but when I did they were good ones. More often than not though, as the tip pulled over I found myself playing a chub rather than my target species.
I loved the challenge however and when it came together, it was an awesome feeling. I may have been cold and wet at times but the thirty-plus miles journey home in the early hours was a pure delight.
I remember one trip after I thought I was stepping on bank vegetation and it was in fact water beneath, so I ended up soaking wet from the waist down and driving home in my boxer shorts.
Even when I didn’t catch – and there were plenty of those sessions – I still enjoyed it. The magic of angling is a special feeling and especially so when you are focused on something in particular. The blanks merely made the catches even more of a thrill, especially the four fish that set – and extended – the record.
With barbel fishing becoming increasingly popular as the years have gone by, the River Sow record from August 2006 continues to this day. It’s been some years since I fished the river so I don’t know what the current lie of the land is.
I heard that otters were an issue – although I did see them regularly when I fished there – and that the river isn’t what it was. Perhaps someone else will break – and claim – the record one day. I don’t know.
What I do know though is that I loved my campaign on the River Sow and whether I return or not, the fact is the memories I have will always remain with me.
Always remember, today’s experiences are tomorrow’s memories. Make good ones.
River Sow barbel records: August 2002 10-0-8… July 2006 10-3-0… August 2006 10-7-0… August 2006 12-4-0.