We are now just over 3 months into the 2019 river season and I have only just started my barbel fishing. For one reason or another, I had hardly wet a line for over 3 months (apart from the very odd float fishing trip), so was looking forward to getting out and having a go. Although reading the various forums (such has Barbel Adventures and BFW) concerning the Upper Trent (they were hardly inspiring), as it would appear in recent seasons most anglers are blanking more often than not. Looking at the size of the barbel on the Upper Trent (average 9lb+), I personally believe (that with virtually no small fish coming through, plus the increase in predation), we may have as little has 3 years before the Upper river becomes very much like the Dove and there are next to no barbel there (it will be a great chub river though).
It always makes me smile looking at the various social media forums and Angling press concerning the Trent, the catches from the Middle and Tidal Trent can be 'ridiculous' (such things as 8 doubles or more in a night etc), leading people to think the whole of the river is one big barbel swim!
This really is not the case, the Upper Trent may as well be a different river as it is nothing like the middle, with large area's that only hold the odd fish. I know of many an experienced angler that have had plenty of blanks on the Upper Trent and Dove, that have then had a go on the Middle or Tidal Trent and ended up 'bagging up' with 10 plus fish in a session. Personally if the fishing was such that you are almost always guaranteed to catch, I would soon get bored, after 45 years as an angler, it's more about the surroundings, the solitude and the sense of mystery that low stocked venues like the Upper Trent still have to offer. I do feel though that the current situation with some of the huge catches of barbel, from places like Collingham really do give a false impression as to the barbel fishing across the rest of the country.
Anyway enough of my ramblings!
I have just come back from an interesting week on a lake in the Champagne Region of France, with my brother David. The weather forecast for the week and the catch reports I had been reading suggested that the week wouldn't be an easy one and that a large catch of carp was probably going to be out of the question as there had only been 3 carp caught from the whole lake on the week prior to our visit. But, careful baiting was to work a treat.
We are now just over 2 months into the 2016 river season, so I thought I would do a brief review of my own season so far. I have had 18 trips so far (which is around 110 hours fishing in total), and have fished 8 different stretches on 4 different rivers. Probably 'spreading myself too thin', really, but as I have said before, early season for me is very much about visiting a number of places to try and locate some barbel in the first place. Obviously when you can find a number of fish in a particular area, then it bodes well for later in the season if you want to concentrate on a particular stretch. Even better if you can find them on more than one river, because it gives you so many more options depending on levels etc, for later on.
It won't be long now until we can get back on the river's and enjoy some some lovely running water angling in some stunning unspoilt surroundings. But what will the coming season hold for us all. The weather has certainly been very up and down, and I as I write this piece it is well below the temperature that we should be seeing for the time of year (just 10 Deg. C in Wolverhampton!). If this keeps up, the barbel will probably end up spawning in July, as they seem to have done for the last few season's. This always makes the few first weeks of the season difficult, as you can have miles of river with very few fish because they will be 'shoaled' up in small area's.
From a conservation point of view, I would say it is now worth a review of the closed season dates to take this into account. How about moving it back a month, so it runs from April 15th to July 16th? (other species are also spawning later). I have always been a traditionalist but you have to be prepared for change. With the already delicate situation of a lot of our barbel rivers, do you really want angler's fishing for them during or just after spawning? They take a long time to recover properly as it is after capture in the summer, without the added stress of capture just after spawning. The majority of carp fisheries are flexible and will close during the spawning period, surely we should be flexible to the same degree, when it comes to our rivers!
This blog piece is a brief follow up to my last article where I detailed my latest week’s fishing in France with my brother David Gillett. Now regular readers of this blog or the Angling Lines blog, will see that a number of the bloggers such has Shaun Harrison, Paul Cooper, Ron Key and myself are forever preaching the virtue of correct bait application, starting off lightly and gradually building a swim up over the week. The week in question perfectly highlighted this philosophy!
I have just come back from another really nice weeks fishing in France with my brother David Gillett. As I have written before, David doesn’t really fish at all so I would be his guide and ghillie for the week, finding the spots, casting and baiting etc. It can make it hard work at times (preparing 6 rods), but we have always had a good laugh and get on well