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Barbel & Chub

I've clubbed Barbel and Chub together, simply because they live in the same places. 
Very nice places they are too. 

It's been a little while since I've done any Barbel fishing- save in recent times for two afternoons on the Trent and a couple of days down on the River Wye (which I loved to bits). But a few years ago quite a bit of time was spent at the side of some of England's prettiest rivers- and that is why I clubbed Chub and Barbel together on one page, because the page really could have been entitled "fish that live in really nice places".

My first Barbel was caught when I was about 15 during a family holiday over to Shropshire, whereby each day I was dropped off early in the morning by my folks at the Golf Course stretch at Bridgnorth on the Severn, and while they went off with my sister to look at trains or whatever there is to do around there, I was doing far more interesting stuff- like catching loads and loads of Barbel! The first bite I had was a shocker. After sitting for two hours re-casting my feeder every ten minutes without so much as a tremble, suddenly out of nowhere my rod took off like a Polaris, and in a blind panic I struck like a Whirling Dervish and snapped the 6lb line like cotton. Very cool, you fool. I re-tackled with my hands all a tremble, and then the next time the rod took off, I just managed to keep some sort of control over myself, and a few minutes later my first Barbus was laid in my landing net while my heart was still thudding in my chest. Great days indeed.

Since then there has been the occasional dabble on the Hampshire Avon- when I can drag myself out for the four hour trawl through southern England's traffic. And it is such a majestic river that it seems a pity that you usually have to sit directly opposite another angler each time I go there- while you fish your side of the river and he fishes his!

Similarly on the Ouse, in the early days I fished there you could walk miles, bait several swims and not see another soul, but within the next year or two, I lost my enthusiasm for it a little- despite being the beautiful river that it always will be- when I could drive up any of the lanes, spot how many cars were parked, and then deduce how many swims would be taken, and then decide whether it was worth getting out of the car. A bit pessimistic I know. Sorry.

Still, I have stuck a load of pictures of me and some friends (who catch a lot more, and bigger, fish than I do) on here to look at, and I hope you like browsing through them.

The Great Ouse in high summer- not always ideal for fish catching, but always a really nice place to be....

...And standing in the same spot a few months later, but facing the opposite direction in flood conditions. Its 12 degrees, cloudy, and it's spot on... Then I broke my rod first cast after snagging on a branch brought down the river, had no spare, so then had to drive all the way back home without even fishing. Not happy.

An absolutely mint 11lb 10oz fish taken in mid-winter on  two tiny 1/4" cubes of JB Search 4 flavoured Pek.

I don't know if this treatment is covered in the Barbel Society's documents on Barbel handling and conservation?

And back she goes after a crafty fag...

First double! This 10lb 4oz was stalked on a worm on my very first trip to the Ouse at dawn on the opening day of the season. Jammy sod.

And hanging around in the margins to get it's photo taken.

X marks the spot. The barbel used to live under the bush at top right (until some eternally wise soul cut it down- hence the stumps!). So then they took up residence in the surrounding weed... and would venture onto the gravel patch to eat hemp on and off all day... and ignore every hookbait placed in front of them! I still have the bald patches now.

I Cuolnd't hlep but simle evrey tmie I wlaked past (passed?) this sgin at Radwlel on the Rievr Osue.

My favourite weight... a 9 pounder taken at dusk. Why do they always take the bait when you put the rod down to take a pee? Worth a wet hand though.

Consecutive casts on rolling bunches of worms- a desperate change that saved a hard day in the rain.

As the joke goes, aren't the kids cute when they're little?

Ian Davis with a lovely 7lb 1oz winter Chub from the Hants Avon.

One of the biggest Chub caught in the UK; Ian with a massive 8lb 8oz Dorset Stour fish.

And another Stour monster for Tony Ward- 7lb 12oz.

The late, great Mark Vials with a perfect 6lb plus Wessex Chub. Bless him.

What kind of face is that to be pulling you mug? A scraper double (10lb 1/2oz- honest!) again from the Ouse, first drop into a near bank swim after baiting it all day. I lost a much bigger one next cast... and that was it for the night! Ah bugger!

Personal best 11lb 14oz floodwater Barbel on Turmeric Flavoured Chopped Ham & Pork.


The sheep are up at dawn- not surprising when Steve had been worrying them all night.

Another lovely summer fish from the Ouse, but I can't remember it's weight I'm afraid.

A stalked Great Ouse 9 pounder on a lump of meat the size of an inch thick credit card... you have to keep the babies off somehow. Although I suppose these days this one is a baby.

9lb 6oz winter Ouse Barbel.

Mentalist and all round nice bloke Richard Long with a Chub snatched in a short break between hallucinating that a family of Mink were eating out of his bait bucket...

Returning an easily recognisable Ouse double.

The mist ascends over a flooded winter Ouse.

A summer double stalked from under the rod tip as the light failed. Lovely fishing, that...

...Not quite so idyllic, but another nice fish taken from the Ouse during high water in mid-winter.

A perfect Avon Barbel.

Ouse Chub brace on consecutive casts.

Of course Ian doesn't just catch big Chub on the Wessex Rivers, as this 12lb 15oz Barbel shows...

...and this monster proves at 14lb 2oz.

Passing the day waiting for the sun to get off the water...

And as soon as it did the fish started feeding.

The Hampshire Avon at dusk. Marvellous spot. Nice. If I remember rightly I actually caught some that day- and even more amazingly didn't see another angler!

Beautiful, immaculate 11 pounder for Ian again.

Chubmeister Ian Davis trotting the stream on the Avon at Ibsley...Ian could catch 5 pound Chub out of a septic tank I reckon.

There's a bit more Chub and Barbel stuff on the majestic River Wye here if you want:

Waiting for the rod to get dragged in on the Avon.

A 7 or 8  pounder taken on Peperami covered in Liver Pate, (I know, I know- desperate measures, you could say) from the Hants Avon just minutes before having to pack up at dusk. I think they know you know...

Like peas in a large pod from the Hampshire Avon.

Slipping back a nice winter Chub.



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