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Old 11-05-2012, 10:14
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Default My Fishy Tales

'This is part 1 of my diary that I kept of my fishing season 2003/2004'

by Malcolm Clarke


June

Opening Day


New season here at last it feels great to be back on the river, new swim, new bait even some new expectations
maybe a 15lber this season (well we all have dreams). Three hours into fishing without so much as a sucked maggot and the sun blazing down, decide it's time to make a move. Promised myself I will try this swim again when conditions are not so bright as I'm sure it holds a Boris or two.

Make my way over to a more popular location just to P*** myself off seeing what the other lads are catching, could not believe my luck, to find only one other angler there, and more to the point no one in what is a favourite swim of mine. So quickly returned to the car for my gear, expecting sport to be a bit slow with the intense heat and bright conditions was happy to pass the time chatting to a new face on the river a chap by the name of John, seems quite knowledgeable about the Taff but not this stretch.

Did not have to wait as long as expected for what was to be my first Boris of the season, this being a small one of around 4lb, but just to have the feel of a Barbel on the end of the rod again made up for any lack in size.
Next cast and straight away into what feels like a better fish, with John still being in attendance think I'm going to have some competition for this swim in the future. This proved to be a slightly better fish at 6lb plus.

Said my goodbyes to John and no doubt will see him again as he said he looks in on BFW so told him to join and start posting.
Within 10 minuets of John leaving I'm into a much better fish that gave a tremendous account of itself and on landing it looked all the world to be an opening day double, on weighing the fish I can't believe my thoughts as I'm somewhat disappointed that this fish is not a double. The disappointment did not last long as on the very next cast into what once again feels another good fish, and after what seemed like hours with the excitement of the fight and still intense heat, I began to win the battle, only for the hook to pull as the fish made what was surely going to be it's last dive for freedom.
Felt for sure this one would have made double figures, however no disappointment this time, just pure excitement and anticipation as to what this season just might bring.
Made a quick note in sketch book to remind me first day and over an hour and half late going home, but after today's excitement who cares, knew for sure the wife would understand, as the grin on my face will tell her just what an opening day I've had.

Tuesday 17/06/03

OK second day of the season and time to give the second swim above the road bridge a try, bloody hell should have listened to Ray he told me Mike and him had bugger all last season up here. Make a quick note in sketch book, "only lasted 2 hours today before deciding to move", must give these areas more time but maybe later in the season.

Decisions, decisions do I take the easy option and return to the same swim as yesterday as I'm sure there's a biggie waiting in there with my name on, or do I try one of the other swims that has seen a bit of pre-season feed.
Decide to drive to new location, and see who's fishing and then make up my mind, This is unbelievable! second day of the season and not another soul on the bank. Decide to give one of the swims lower down from yesterdays a try.10 minutes after casting in, I'm into what feels a good fish, after a tremendous scrap I slip the net under what once again is going to be close to a first double of the season. Well not quite at 9lb 6oz but this time no disappointment just want this luck to last the season. Next cast is sent tight to the far bank under the willow bush, no sooner than the rod is placed in the rest it flew round and once again I find myself doing battle with what feels a good fish.

This fish gave a tremendous account of itself, which left me somewhat wondering about the spawning situation here on the Taff as most fish are somewhat lethargic after spawning, but only the first fish of the season had shown any signs of recent spawning activity.
Well once again a fish in the net that's going to push close to the 10lb barrier, YES only the second day of a new season and a double settling for 10lb 2oz but hard to hold the scales steady in the excitement.

Think I might make the local paper tomorrow but unfortunately not for my fishing, thought it would be nice to have a picture of what was my first double of the season.
Noticed a group of cyclist coming down the footpath so quickly got the camera out and when the cyclist were near enough, ran up the bank with camera in hand to ask if one of them would assist and take a photo.
Must have frightened the life out of them, as it was a young couple out with there son, and to suddenly be confronted by a bare-chested bloke in his shorts and wellie's, who appears out of the undergrowth, did not go down too well with dad.
Quickly ushering his wife and son around himself he began shouting obscenities at me along the lines of P*** off you pervert, get out of here you fat B******. Now I know the area is frequented by all manor of undesirables and I've put on a bit of weight of late but please I only wanted a picture taken.




Had to settle for a picture on the unhooking mat which is not the best of arrangements but still if the last 2 days are anything to go by, should be plenty of more opportunities for some good pictures, **** shouldn't have thought that now I know my luck will change, either way can't wait for Sunday next chance to get out.


Sunday 22/06/03


Up at 3.15 am must be bloody mad, day off and all that, but at least I knew no one else will be on the river for a few hours. Decided to fish the swim I had fished on opening day, where I had pulled out of what felt a good fish. Still dark when I got to the river and fond it a pain getting sorted as the banks are wet, and slippery as hell from the dew.

As it's easy to introduce feed in this swim by hand introduced 3 good size balls of pellet mix and expecting things to happen straight away poured my third cup of coffee of the morning along with the obligatory 3 panadol (bloody wine) before casting in.
Was I to be disappointed sat there for best part of 3 hours with nothing more than the usual plucks and pulls from small fish and my first eel of the season.

Noticed around 8 am a Barbel moving in and out of the rocks straight in front of me, so put a few balls of pellet mix just to the right of the rocks to try and entice it out. Changed bait from maggot and casters to pellet and began to set up a second rod which was to be placed where I could see the fish moving between the rocks.
Before I had chance to finish setting up, the first rod flew round and line began screaming off the reel, by the time I had put the other rod down the fish had got amongst the rocks in mid-river.
Slowly but surely I managed to coax the fish out from amongst these rocks and once in open water she came to the net without too much trouble, a nice fish that weighed 9lb 7oz and in perfect condition.

Thinking there may be more to be had, quickly put a couple of new pellets on and placed the bait in the usual position when fishing this swim, sure enough still could not get the second rod set up as no sooner was the rod in the rest than it swung round and once again I'm into a good fish.
Whilst playing this fish the mobile rings but it can wait as I've more important things on my mind, after a good battle I slip the net under a good fish and once again the mobile rings. On answering find it to be the wife "just checking how your doing she asked" tell her I've had two in the last ten minutes and hope to have 1 or 2 more as whilst talking spotted the large one just on the edge of the rocks in front of me.

Slipped the fish which was a tad bigger than the previous one at 9lb 9oz into the water at the back of the pool so's not too disturb the fish in front of me which was now showing with more regularity.
Finished setting up the second rod before putting the other back out as this would allow that side of the pool to settle down. This was a simple link ledger set-up as it would need no more than a flick to get the bait where I wanted it, so with just 3 AAA and a couple of pellets the bait was flicked out and allowed to drag round until coming to rest against the largest of the rocks in front of me.

With this now in position put the other rod in the usual place and settled down with a cuppa, did not have to wait long before the rod in the the usual place swung into action, this was turning out to be some morning's fishing after what seemed like an eternity, (as all the time this fish was on I was expecting the other rod to leap into play) I brought another good Barbel to the waiting net.
Quickly unhooking the fish and weighing it I was not to be disappointed with yet again another 9lb plus fish, whilst holding the fish in the water for it to regain it's control noticed a few little plucks on the other rod. Checked time to see it was 10.30 so decided not to put the other rod back out as I was due to pack away around this time.
Once again a few little knocks on the end of the rod, as it was now past my packing in time picked up rod and decided to strike on next indication of what may or may not be a bite.

The Ferociousness of the bite made up my mind for me as the rod was pulled down towards the water
****! Why do you always have to miss the best ones as I found myself well and truly snagged on the bottom, thinking of pulling for a break when hang on a minute snag's don't shake there bloody head, realizing I had a fish on I quickly tried to control my excitement at what just might be the one I was after.
No matter how much pressure I put on the fish it just was not going to budge from his home amongst the rocks, it then became apparent that I had made a dreadful mistake in choice of rods for where I was fishing.

Instead of using my Shimano Barbel Power rod which just might have given me the extra oomph to move the fish away from both the bottom and those bloody rocks, I had chosen to use my cheapy Ron Thompson which although landing fish up to 12 .6 last season in open water situations it just did not have the build to allow me to exert anywhere near the amount of pressure to move this bottom hugging fish away from it's home.
All of a sudden whoosh as the 3 triple A shot, flew past my head as the hook pulled free, stood still just looking at where the fish had been thinking just how big this fish might be, made up my mind there and then that another rod was the order of the day.
Left the bank with mixed emotions slightly disappointed having lost what was a good fish, but also full of excitement as I know that not only is there something big in this swim, but it can be caught.



Tuesday 24/06/03

Armed with just purchased new rod would be easy to head straight back to the swim where I know lies a big one, but will save that one for the early morning shift. Decided to go lower down river and see what's available strange this all the publicity and the number of good fish being caught and still only the one chap on the river fishing.
This turned out to be Ian so after a quick chat, he informed me he had caught a couple of Barbel having fished most of the day and that they were still moving about.

Before starting to fish Chris turned up not to fish but just to check on how the fishing is going, so sat there chatting away whilst we both watched the 2 rods that I had set up.
With that I turned around to answer a question Chris had just asked when Chris let out a cry "Look Out" on turning round I could see the Greys prodigy rod I had just bought flying through the air into the water, fortunately the water here is quite shallow so was able to wade in up to my knees and grab the rod before it got into the deeper water and probably be gone for good.

This led to the catching of a six pound plus Boris, which was nice on a new rod and first time using it but not the ideal way. Put new bait on and cast to the far bank, but before I could sit myself down the rod flew round and once again a decent fish was on. After a decent scrap Chris done the honours and landed it for me, at 9lb plus it did not quite make the double mark but never the less once again a good fish.
Chris said his goodbyes and mentioned if I'm out tomorrow he'll see me over here, as he had seen enough to convince him to have a go.

Did not have to wait that long after Chris had departed for my next bite and this led to a fish of a similar size as the one before, would have been nice to have stayed a bit longer as I know this great start to the season can't last and I'm sure a few more could have been had tonight, still hopefully will get out again tomorrow.



Wednesday 25/06/03

Arrived at the river today to be greeted by Ray who had been there from early morn and had managed to winkle out 3 nice Barbel, unfortunately Ray was more or less due to pack away but did make arrangements to get together sometime next week. Not long after starting to fish Chris and his mate turned up who decided to fish just up above me, this meant between us there were 6 rods out.

Well it just had to happen not a single touch all day/night for any of us, this is typical of the river, the conditions were just the same as the previous couple of sessions and Ray had caught from the same area earlier in the day but then for some unknown reason they just switch off.
Just hope this is only a temporally setback and not one of those usual disappearing acts that the river Taff Barbel have a habit of doing.



Sunday 29/06/03

Once again I find I've got the river all to myself, you can't beat these early morning sessions find the fishing to be at it's best and the peace and quite brings out the wildlife like no other time. After Wednesdays blank hope to get back to catching and think a 5 am start will give me the best chance, after setting up both rods and getting myself sorted sat down with a cup of coffee to watch what was a beautiful dawn breaking over the river, only to be interrupted by what was a better sight/sound that being the baitrunner screaming and the rod moving around in that ark that only Boris can produce.

After a decent scrap the net was slipped under a Barbel around the 8lb mark, this makes it worth while getting up so early on my day off. Within 10 minutes of returning the fish to the water I find myself into another good fish that was not quite as big as the previous one but still most welcomed as any Barbel is.

The swim then went dead and being too lazy to move to a new swim sat there doing my best not to doze off when my peace was interrupted by an old friend from last season, this friend might not be everybody's favourite animal being a mink, but over the seasons have found him good company on these early morning sessions when the fishing is slow. Whilst fishing last season found myself snagged up with a decent size eel no further than a rod length out, when minky jumped of the rocks and swam to the snagged eel and succeeded in removing it from my line, suppose whilst he's eating eels he's not eating Boris.



Was now getting close to packing up time and was a bit disappointed not too have had any more Barbel, when I decided to use some of the disco coloured maggots I had mistakenly been given by the shop owners daughter the day before.
So with 6 bright purple maggots on the hook cast out for what was going to be my last cast of the day, did not have time to place the rod in the rest before it was nearly pulled out of my hand, was I to be shocked on landing the culprit. As it turned out not to be a Barbel as I had expected but a decent size chub, that on weighing proved to be a new PB at 6lb 2oz, so once again it was time to leave after a most enjoyable session, boy I hope this luck of mine can last a season.

July Hot or What

01/07/03


After the opening I've just had to the season, know my lucks got to run out soon, so with this in mind decide to try a new location all together today. As it would be great to find some Boris in better surroundings than the usual place.
So this sees me heading up river, where the surroundings are much better and the kids are nowhere to be seen, all that was needed was a fish or two, did not get a single touch or see any sign of Barbel what so ever.

Still it was a most enjoyable afternoon spent watching the wildlife amongst which were a family of mink being dived bombed by a rather large herring gull, did not know mink could scream so loud. Also got to watch a dipper searching the riverbed for his dinner along with a kingfisher who had more luck than me at catching fish, as he easily plucked up minnows in the shallow clear water.




With surroundings like this, think you can put up with blanking.


02/07/03


Finally got together today for a session with Ray, was a shame that the Barbel were not that interested in putting in an appearance, apart from a small one around the 5lb mark which just happened to be caught by me that was.
Once again the session was spoilt by the kids who seem to get great pleasure in chucking stones at anglers, this time however they went a bit further by rolling a rather large boulder down through the undergrowth, which just missed Ray's head by a whisker and this was young girls no more than 12 years of age.

Still the session did have an amusing side to it, that is for Ray it did anyway, as I managed to insert a baiting needle into my finger. Being the good Samaritan that he is, he reached into his bag to get what I thought was going to be something to help me with.
WRONG !
This just happened to be his camera, mind you he did get a good shot though.



05/07/03


Well after spending the day decorating decided to have a few hours on the river which for me is unusual being a Saturday eve. On arriving at my chosen swim was joined by a new chap to the river by the name of Pete one of the lurkers as they are known on BFW, as he said he knew me from BFW although he does not post himself.
Wasn't long before Pete was into his first river Taff Boris a decent fish around the 6lb mark, was strange that not long after this he packed away, not sure if it was the excitement of catching his first Boris or the mindless kids who decided to pay us a visit, still this left the river to myself and the now increasing number of bats who were coming out from there hideaways in search of there supper.

Soon found that once the kids had left and peace returned to the river, it wasn't long before I was doing battle with what felt a decent Barbel, was not disappointed on this score as the fish was the better side of 8lb.
Did manage a couple of nice chub but unfortunately no more Barbel, decided to call it a day after having the rod knocked of the rest for the umpteenth time by the bats, seems the warm weather of late has led to an explosion of insects and along with this an increase in the number of bats.



09/07/03


Spent a most enjoyable day today up at a new location with Ray for company, the area we were fishing looks just about perfect for Boris and contains a number of likely looking swims.
Although we put in a good 6 hours fishing, a bit longer than that for Ray, did not get a touch from Barbel, Ray did manage a couple of Grayling and the odd Trout. Think while the weather is like it is at the moment, that being bloody hot and dry, and the river running as low and clear as it is, then these new areas are difficult to judge.

Did however have some encouragement just as we were packing away, as no more than five feet from the bank in less than a foot of water was a Barbel. It was totally oblivious to Ray and myself and was quite happy munching away at the bits of feed that had fallen out of Ray's feeder on casting.
Try as he might Ray could not get this Barbel to respond to his bait which was placed in front of him, and on the path this fish was patrolling.
Still this was a great sight and did make us more determined to return, and hopefully catch both this Barbel and one or two of his/her brothers/sisters.



13/07/03


Sometimes we never seem to learn, got myself up out of bed again this morning before 4 am this knowing that conditions on the river are not great. In fact if we don't have some rain before long to freshen up the river then it won't be worth fishing let alone getting up at 4 am.

Tried a number of different baits but could not get a bite from anything, even the Trout and Grayling don't want to know at the moment, would imagine the oxygen levels in the river must be at an all time low.



14/07/03


After yesterdays session going the way it did decided to have a go later in the day today and fish into dark or there about. Making my way to my chosen swim I came across a large shoal of Chub basking on the surface of the river, a good few of these fish would have went the better side of 5lb.
Every now and then one of the Chub would move out into the flow and take a passing insect from the surface before returning to the shoal.
As this was in the swim next to where I intended fishing for Boris, made a quick phone call to the wife asking her to bring over a loaf of bread, as I felt sure I could tempt one or two of these Chub to take a floating crust.

Sat in the next swim down waiting for the wife to turn up with requested loaf, when all of a sudden SPLOOSH! and a great big dog dived into the river to chase a stick that his thoughtful owner had chucked amongst this shoal of Chub.
Yep the shoal disperse not to be seen again, then had the awkward job of explaining to the wife why I now needed the bread.

Would have hoped that things could only get better after that little episode, but not to be as once again some 6 hours of fishing resulted in nothing caught whatsoever. Soon be time for Hols.



18/19/07/03


What should have been the highlight of the season this weekend namely the Wye fish-in, had already started to go wrong for me, when I could not get out of a Holiday date that clashed with the fish-in.
Then on getting up for work on the Friday morning it just got worse, as I awoke to the most dreadful toothache imaginable, as I was due away on the Saturday had a decision to make do I go to the fish-in as arranged after work on the Friday morning or do I go to the dentist.
Oh well just hope it don't get any worst whilst away on Holidays as the fish-in won, on the drive up to the Biblins did on more than one occasion think I had made the wrong choice as the toothache seemed to be getting worst, still a couple of pints of cider in the Saracens would soon sort it out.



Was great to get to meet so many of the anglers from BFW and one or two old friends whom I had met the season before, did not get to wet a line on the Friday as the toothache meant I was not in the mood for fishing. Did however have a most enjoyable evening spent outside the Saracens in great company, chatting to the likes of Tommo, JW and one or two others and think we did manage to put the world to right.

Woke early on the Saturday morning and although I was still being bothered by this dreaded toothache did have a few hours fishing and managed to catch a small Chub for my efforts, before the lure of a cup of coffee with Jim (Bewdley) & Rich (Ten Bellies) got the better of me. Stayed long enough for the mid-day photo shoot and would loved to have stayed for Liam's BBQ that evening as great fun was had by all so I heard. But it was time for me to get myself home and sorted, for the journey to Bristol Airport, that's providing I can stay awake long enough that is.

August That's a bit fresher

05/08/03

Having just spent 2 weeks in the heat of Grand Canaria where once again I failed in my attempt to catch a Marlin, but was fortunate enough to be onboard a boat where one was caught, and boy does that fish run Boris close for sheer power and beauty.
It was somewhat disappointing that my first session back on the Taff was in similar conditions to what I had left behind in Grand Canaria, this being bright sunshine and intense heat. Still was informed by Ray that whilst I was away we had more than our fare share of rain so the river was a bit fresher than before I left.

These conditions did not affect the fishing whatsoever as I had my best session of the season so far, within 5 minutes of starting I was into what felt a right old lump of a fish, and after a tremendous battle I brought what looked a good chance of being a new PB to the waiting net.
Could not wait to get this fish to the weigh sling and on the scales as it seemed as big as any Barbel I have seen before, however upon weighing, it did not quite go to the size I had hope for, with the scales stopping at 12lb dead, this being 6oz short of my PB.
Still a beautiful sight none the less and coming so soon gave me great confidence for the rest of the session.

Did go on to have 4 more Barbel another of which made double figures and a decent size Chub, amongst this catch was the smallest Barbel I have caught to date, this being a fish of no more than three quarters of a pound. Found catching this fish to be as pleasing as the one of 12lb, as a lot is made of the breeding habits of the Taff Barbel and this proved beyond doubt that the future Taff Barbel population looks healthy.



06/08/03

Did think after yesterdays session that I was pushing my luck to return again today, and even go remotely near having as good a session. But as I was accompanied by my 14 year old son who for all the usual reasons has gone off the fishing of late, did hope to get at least a fish or two on the bank to show him what he's missing. Was not to be disappointed on that score as once again ended up with 4 good size Boris on the bank, with my lad catching one at 9lb plus a new PB for him.

Dad however could not let him get the better of me, as life would be unbearable with him having caught a bigger fish than myself, would like to think that was the reasoning behind the catching of what was to be my best fish of the season so far.
But somehow, for whatever reason I don't know, the Barbel gods are on my side at the moment as 5 minutes before packing up time was upon us, I had a tremendous bite from what only could be a decent size Boris,

This fish led me a merry dance as it powered off downstream on more than one occasion, but after what seemed an eternity my lad slipped the net under another monster of a Barbel, for the second night running I found myself with a Barbel to weigh that's going to go close to being a PB.
It's a strange feeling when you've just caught you're second 12lb Barbel in successive days and you feel somewhat disappointed that it's not quite the size you want, Try as I did, just could not get the scales to go pass the 12lb 2oz mark this being just the 4oz short of my best to date.

On leaving the river found myself thinking of just how good a winter season might be had this year, as if true to form these fish put on the weight that they can do, then there are going to be one or two monsters coming from the river Taff this year.

Should really include a picture of my lads fish at this point but somehow I managed to delete it off the camera, not before I had caught the 12lb 2oz I may add, so will have to make do with mine.




10/08/03

With the dawn now breaking just that bit later find it's not such an early start needed to be first on the river, or so I thought. Had a shock today though as I made my way to the bank at 5.30 am, noticed someone moving behind a large tree, so I made my way towards them, so as to let them know I knew they were there.
With that a bloke heads off up the footpath closely followed by a women in a state of undress they were obviously not there for the fishing.

Having got over the shock of disturbing the breeding wildlife I made my way to my chosen swim, bloody hell what's going on not more cavorting couples, nope not this time, only Chris and his mate who well lets just say had forgotten the no night fishing rule. Was amused to find that they had no idea of what was going on behind them, both thought this was a shame as they could have done with something to liven up there evening. This done my confidence no good at all as neither of them had so much as a knock all night, did pass a comment to Chris about the fact this time of the year they don't feed until 9 am on a Sunday, then made my way to my next choice of swim.

When you're lucks in like mine is at the moment then you get the feeling you can't fail even when others are not catching, and sure enough just half hour out from my 9 o'clock prediction I find myself doing battle with Boris, this proved to be a lovely fish of 9lb and most welcome as the conditions are not great.

Was joined on the bank by Ian who was taking a walk before deciding whether or not to fish later that day, this meant he got to know of my secret bait that was being used at the time.
As it had gone dead and did not expect to catch anymore that day I decided to try a chunk of a pork pie I had taken for a mid morning snack, sure enough a fish first cast not a Barbel as I'd have hoped for but a nice Chub of around 4 lb.
Seems at the moment I can't go wrong, guess I'm going to have some blanks later in the season when pay back time comes around.



11/08/03

Never gave it much thought that fishing can be dangerous to you're health, but the pain I'm in at the moment means I will do in the future, somehow I've managed to get myself bitten by some unknown insect. This led to a trip to the hospital and a course of antibiotics, not to mention a arm the size of which a sumo wrestler would be proud of.

So this gave me the perfect excuse for my blank this evening as it would have been uncomfortable doing battle with a decent size Barbel. The river is now in desperate need of some rain to freshen it up a bit and levels are as low as I can remember.



13/08/03

With the arm now a bit more comfortable decided to have a few hours this afternoon/eve although didn't have any great hopes of catching as the rain has still not put in an appearance.
Was joined on the river by Chris and Kevin who were fishing lower down to myself and into darkness which may be a better option in these conditions.

Did manage the one Boris of 9lb which in the circumstances was more than welcome, also spent most of the day in the company of minky again, he seems to be getting more daring as today on more than one occasion he ran over my feet.



17/08/03

Well don't know when I'll ever learn, with conditions as bad as they are I was asking for a blank, yet still dragged myself out of bed at 4 am. This seen me on the river before first light and as expected had the river to myself. Could not get a bite from anything, even moved swims on a number of occasions, would be interesting to know if in these low level conditions that we have at the moment, just how good a response fishing after dark would produce.
Maybe it's time to get onto the club regarding the no night fishing situation, as I know it's not just me who would like the rule changed.



18/08/03

What is it they say "a fool never learns" or something like that, either way, against my better judgment, decided to have a few hours today. Once again did not get a single bite, no matter what bait was used or what tactics were put into play, still could not get a touch.
Things are looking bad when even the Taff Grayling and Trout refuse to play, still left Chris and company on the river who were fishing into darkness, so hopefully some good news from them to be had.



20/08/03

Had made arrangements today to meet up with Ray for an afternoon session, on arriving found Ray had been fishing for a few hours but had not caught anything. Must have brought him some good luck, as I sat there chatting (well scrounging some plasticine and a pellet or two actually) Ray connected with what can only be described as a manic Barbel, who must had thought it was a lot bigger than the 3 or so pounds that it was. This fish did it's utmost to make his way out to sea but was eventually brought to the net.

Not wishing to be outdone and pellets secured, move just up from Ray and got myself sorted, was joined by Kevin and he pointed out a number of Barbel flashing out in front of both Ray and myself. This was to continue for the rest of the day, Barbel flashing all over the place but not showing much interest in feeding, did fortunately manage the one of around 8lb on one of Ray's pellets I may add.

Decided to stay on for an hour or so after Ray left, that was until I was joined by one of those know it all fishermen, whom you just never seem to see fishing.
He proceeded to tell me how I was fishing the swim wrong also with the wrong bait, then went on to say how he had caught 7 double figure Barbel and 2 Chub over 6lb in the same swim last week, maybe I should have told him I just happened to be fishing the same swim the day he had his remarkable catch.



24/08/03

What was it I said just a few weeks back, something along the lines of "find the early start the best of all" well not so sure about that at the moment. Once again I found myself up out of bed before 4.30 am and walking the banks before 6am.
On arriving found the Taff mindless crew had been at work once again, this being in the form of a white Transit van that had been dumped in the river, this coming just 3 days after a car had been removed from the very same spot (shame the B******* weren't in it at the time).

Go's without saying did not get a touch in the 6 hours that I fished, the river is now at what must be an all time low, it's possible to walk across in a number of places, probably without getting wet.



27/08/03

With conditions as bad as they are on the Taff decided today to make the journey up to the Bibs, although it's only an hours drive away find it can be a pain on the return journey after a 2 am start in work.
Still was looking forward to it as it was a chance to meet up with Bob (Bgit) and a good chance of a Boris or two.

Arrived to find Ray and Bob already set up and sat in the sunshine, but only to be informed that things were a bit slow, oh well can't think of anywhere better to be if you're going to blank thinks I.
Although the fishing was not as good as it can be we all did manage to catch and as it was me that had both the biggest and the most Barbel, made the day a little bit better.
Somehow I can see me putting up with missing out on my sleep and getting up there more often, as everything about the place is perfect, the fishing, the company, the surroundings and even the canoeist if today's ladies are anything to go by.

September Digging New Swims

01/09/03

Once again find myself in the company of Ray on a much better area of the river than we usually fish, much better surroundings that is, as we still have not managed a Barbel from here between us.
This is all the more frustrating as we know they are there, think it's a must to return here when conditions are more favourable.
Did save myself from a complete blank by the way of a couple of nice Chub and Ray had a decent size Trout, which is now becoming a bit of a habit for him.

Seen a most unusual sight today, whilst sat their on what was a beautiful sunny day we were entertained by a bat, who seemed to be chasing the midges just above the waters surface, think this hot weather is starting to effect more than just us fishermen.



03/09/03

Knew it would only take the one trip up to the Bibs for me wanting to return more regular, so this seen me making the journey up the M50 once again today.
Was somewhat disappointed to find a chap and his wife fishing just up from Ray and Bob where I had fished the last visit, still as both Bob and Ray had already caught a number of Boris between them did expect to get amongst them anyway.
This was not to be the case at all, as try as I might all I could manage were a number of annoying Chub, annoying that is when it is Barbel you have come to catch.

Maybe it was also the fact that both Bob and Ray were pulling them out one after another (who said this fishing is not competitive), in fact think Ray got into double figures and I don't think Bob was that far behind him. Did have the company of Silk and family whom were taking a stroll in the late summer sunshine, can't think of a nicer place to do so.
Also later in the afternoon had a visit from John of the Taff (LazyHooker), think he must have brought me a bit of luck as I did manage my one and only Barbel of the day whilst he was there.
What a Barbel this was too, no bigger than half a pound or so, but then we can all catch the big ones can we.



07/09/03

Think this lack of sleep is catching up with me, as today just could not drag myself out of bed for what is my normal early Sunday start. But for once seems I made the right choice, arrived at my chosen swim to find 3 chaps just departing "don't bother mate it's ****" oh well at least I won't need to put any feed in thinks I.

Wish all the swims I fish were as **** as this one, did not have time to set up the second rod before I'm into a good Boris, even with the levels low this fish still gave me a decent scrap and went the better side of 8lb.
Did not have to wait very long for my next bite and this time was well pleased with what turned out to be a double at 10lb 6oz.
Knew I should have asked them what feed they had chucked in before they left.

With the levels as low as they are and the obvious lack of oxygen in the river it's a bit of a worry the amount of strain put upon the fish in these conditions, but up to now none of them have taken any great length of time to recover, so maybe it's not that bad.

Chris and Kevin kept me company for most of the session did tell them next time they need to bring there gear along with them.



08/09/03

Seems at the moment the wife may have a good case when she mentioned "you aren't half out fishing a lot recently" as once again I'm on the river, with Ray for company.
Thought today was going to be one of those days, as before we had set up our rods we noticed a number of Barbel rolling and flashing in a few different areas.
This seemed more likely when Ray was into a decent fish within 20 minutes or so of us fishing.

Don't always go the way you planned, as this proved to be the only bite of the day between us, even though we continued to see fish moving in the swim all the time we were there.
Not only were these fish moving around they were quite actively feeding, this could clearly be seen every time a catapult of loose pellets were fired amongst them.

Did stay on for an hour or so after Ray had left, hoping maybe as the light faded might just pick up one of these fish but was not to be.



09/09/03

Grabbed me a few hours today but did not get as much as a knock, think after the fantastic start to the season that was had by most on the Taff then can't really complain.
Just wish this would make these blank sessions a little bit easier to bear but it don't.



15/09/03

This is getting to be habit forming and I can't say I like it, as once again another biteless session comes my way, was in good company though as the same fate was had by Ray.
Hope this is just down to the unusual low and clear river conditions we have at the moment and with the first good wash through when the rains come things pick up somewhat.



17/09/03

Maybe after the last couple of sessions without a bite a change of scenery will put things right so no better place to put that to the test than a trip up the Bibs.
Due to work didn't get to the river until around mid-day to be greeted with the sight of the 3 musketeers sat in the river, that being Bob, Ray and Silk. Did not like what they had to say one bit, "not a Barbel between us", still will soon put that right or so I hoped.

Well I was certainly wrong on that assumption as not a bite was to be had, or at least by myself that is, I can't recall if any of the others had a fish but pretty sure no Barbel were caught today.
The reason behind my inability to recall what was caught, is the fact I can't remember the last time I've laughed so much whilst out fishing.
For those of you who want reminding of just what made the day so memorable for those who were there, then just click Here
This certainly made the journey home a lot easier and just go's to prove fishing is not all about catching fish, sometimes just being there is more than enough.



22/09/03

Well after the antics of last week up at the Bibs when fishing was interrupted by an old biddy taking a dip did not expect anything similar down on the Taff today.
But once again fishing was somewhat curtailed as Ray and myself had to sit and watch a JCB and a bloody 40 ton truck drive down the river.
This time however do think this helped the fishing as within 5 minutes of the trucks passing by and the river turning a lovely colour, which was more like winter flood conditions than the low clear conditions of late. Had the one and only bite of the session, this resulted in a nice Barbel of around 8lb which gave a good account of itself.

Apparently the trucks are to be around for some time as they are carrying out some bank erosion work, find it bloody annoying that with 3 different clubs having the rights to fishing on this stretch of river, no one was consulted before hand or given any notice that this work was to be carried out.

Would say at the moment the river looks more like a building site than a prime Barbel river, as the EA have decided to dump what must be a good few hundred ton of rock, in the middle of the bloody river, this is to be used to sure up the banks or so they say.
The fact this just happens to be in the location of one of the best Barbel swims on the river doesn't seem to matter at all, can't help wondering what will we be left with.




No you're not spoiling our fishing at all boys.

28/09/03

Now the weather has cooled down a bit decided to fish the Bibs today, as the boats are not such a problem this time of year, even on the weekends. Was also looking forward to the opportunity of fishing with Tommo, whom I'd not seen since the Wye fish-in.
Having chatted to Ray yesterday had made up my mind to fish down the deeps, that was until I got to the river and stopped at the meadow swim, just could not resist, what I thought would be, the chance to get me a couple of Boris before Tommo arrived and then join him later in the day further down river.

Once again I made the wrong choice as try as I did could not get me a Boris, did manage a few nice Chub but this meant I had sat it out until mid-afternoon.
Somewhat dejected I made my way down river to find Tommo and listen to how many he had caught, and just what I had missed out on, this was not to be the case but Rich (barbelrich) who was fishing just up-stream from Tommo had got amongst them.

Whilst sat chatting with Tommo we were approached by Rich, as his car would not start and he needed a push (not the best of places to breakdown thinks I) fortunately his car started straight away and he was on his way.
Tommo then decided to move into the swim vacated by Rich, now that was the right choice.

He then gave me a lesson on how to catch Wye Barbel, as in what was probably no more than an hour or so, 3 or 4 nice size Barbel came to the net, which was expertly used by me unfortunately (for me that is).
Amongst these fish was one which looked as if it might have made double figures, as it gave Tommo a good old scrap, refusing to move from it's home on the riverbed. On netting, this fish looked every part a double as the length of it more or less filled the landing net.

Was somewhat shocked to find the fish only made 8 plus lb as it would have been great to be present when Tommo gets that Wye double, (saying that like I know what a Wye double is). Still plenty of season left for that Wye double, for both of us that is.





Recon Tommo got one eye out for the Biblins Beast myself ...

Having stayed longer than I intended said my goodbyes to Tommo and decided to drive out of the Biblins along the bottom track into Monmouth. For the second time today made the wrong decision , as no more than halfway along the track got myself well and truly grounded, luckily for me this was outside a farm, although not sure if this was lucky, as no sooner than the wheels started spinning I was approached by an old bloke who wanted to know the in's and out's of a ducks arse, as to why I was on this track, eventually convinced him and his opo who had turned up, as to why I happened to be on the path, and with what seemed great reluctance on their part, they gave me a shove which seen me on my way.

October Who's A Blanker

06/10/03

Having had a long break, well it seemed like it was to me was looking forward to today's session as this was going to be on a river I had not fished before, namely the Teme, but what was even more important was an opportunity to get together again with Jim and Rich.

Arranged to meet Ray at the motorway services as he was going to do the driving today as I'd been to work earlier this morning, last time we do that, bloody 6 to park the car for the day.
Was a bit worried that Ray would turn up in the Barbel Bus, as it's a few hours in the car up to the Teme, so it would be somewhat difficult to avoid them nasty things lurking in the Bus.
Was relieved that this wasn't the case, that was until I knew how fast his other car go's, glad Tommo wasn't with us.

The journey up to Bransford didn't take as long as I'd expected and in no time at all we were being greeted by Jim & Rich, along with Andrew (Andrew Thomas) who had decided to join us today.
First impressions of the Teme were what a wonderful looking river and in such beautiful surroundings, Once Ray could drag himself away from the bacon butty van we were given a guided tour of the stretch by Jim and Rich, who pointed out a number of hotspots, but obviously the choice was ours as to where we fished.
I myself decided to take the advice of local knowledge as the swim recommended by the lads had everything you would want in a Barbel swim, that was it did have everything until another angler turned up on the opposite bank.
That was bad enough but the fact was that this bloke was a total pain in the neck, out of the 3 hours or so he was there, I'd say 2 were spent on the mobile, which with the Teme being quite narrow I could hear what the guy on the other end of the phone was saying, the other hour was spent wandering the banks, made it just a little worst.

Was joined on and off during the day by all 3 of the lads who were more than willing to offer advice on where, how to fish the swim, but alas this still could not stop me from blanking in this swim, so when Ray joined me later in the day and told me he was making his way back up stream decided to do likewise and follow him in a little while.

Before I had time to move Rich stopped off to say his goodbyes as he had been a bit off colour lately so he was leaving a bit earlier than us, no sooner than he'd gone had that phone call to say he'd just landed a nice Barbel of around 6lb for Ray.
Now it was going to be a long journey home, if I could not get one of my own that was, did try one or two other swims as I made my way up river but all to no avail.

Around 6 o-clock was time for us to call it a day, having decided that a return visit was a must as Ray had already told me a dozen times just how good those Teme Barbel fight. So made our way back to the car and having said our goodbyes and thanks to Jim and Andrew set off for the drive home, after what had been a great day out.





Knew I should have checked the boot of Ray's car for this one as I'm sure it's one he cut out of a magazine somewhere.

10/10/03


Knew once I started back to Uni that my fishing wings would be clipped somewhat, so with this in mind decided to join Ray this morning for a few hours on the Taff, before going back to work, hope the wife don't read my diary as she thinks I was tucked up in bed at the time.

Well maybe you get your just rewards as no way could I get me a Barbel, whereas on the other hand Ray was having some great sport, having already caught a couple before I'd arrived one of which was a cracker at 11lb 8oz, he then had another one whilst I was there.

Can understand now why he's going on about this bait of Bob's, not only does it work but seems as if it's one that works instantly. Think it's time for a cap in hand approach somehow.



13/10/03

Back on the river again today with Ray, don't think he's that impressed with my attempt at making some bollies, can't say I blame him there though, will have to get some advice for making your own be it from a book the web or one of the lads.

Plenty of fish moving around once again today but at the moment they just don't seem interested in whatever bait we try, apart from Ray's session on Friday that is.
This looks like it's going to go very much the same as last season, as I can recall around this time it went very slow for a number of weeks. Would imagine this has something to do with them getting used to the lower temps so therefore no doubt a change in feeding habits.

Still will stick out this mid-day approach for the time being as sure this is the best option in the circumstances. Was nice not to be interrupted today by the diggers.



14/10/03

Having great difficulty at the moment, trying to convince the wife that I'm not fishing too much, instead of getting on with other things, they never understand what was it she said.


"I could understand if you were catching every time you go out, but you haven't caught for ages"

Thanks love like I need reminding, as I said some things women never understand.

That's better I don't feel so guilty now about being on the river again today, but it does look like a return will be quicker than I'd have hoped for as once again did not get a touch.
Was not alone on that score though, as a number of other anglers were also blanking at the same time today. Did have a slight bit of interest in this new bait of mine, bloody shame I wouldn't know how to make it again.

One other point of interest, just can't help wondering how much this work that the EA are still carrying out, is affecting the fishing at the moment.



20/10/03

Strange that up until now have not gave the painting much thought, however that did change slightly today. Having sat there for what was another 6 hours or so with Ray, without so much as a touch, did have thoughts of maybe I should divide my time up a bit better which would enable me to pursue both my hobbies.

This was in no doubt due to the most beautiful day we had today and even for the Taff the colours looked brilliant, have always found Autumn to be one of the best times of the year.
What with the golden leaves in all there various shade of red, yellow and brown can't help thinking maybe a brush in my hand would be more appropriate than a rod at the moment.

Still if the fishing don't pick up some, maybe I'll find some time for painting come the winter especially if we have a harsh one which I somehow think we may this year.
Bloody hell tell the fishing is **** just now can we.

Once again today we had the company of Kevin and Chris for a good few hours, was somewhat glad of this having parked down at the other end of the stretch, was nice to have some help carrying the gear back to the car.
Don't think Ray was over the moon about this though as his backs playing him up quite a bit lately.

25/10/03

Blank.
Well that is about all I've got to write about today, or at least that's the way I feel, seems whatever bait, tactics, time I'm out fishing just can't get me a bite let alone a fish.
Suppose this is made all the worst by keeping this stupid diary, as I now know have not caught a Barbel since 22nd Sept, think this is what i meant back in the summer when things were going so well, when payback time comes it comes with a vengeance.

Glad to see that the EA have now finished the restoration work that they were carrying out on the banks, glad that is that they are no longer present on the river.
But it does seem my/our worst fears were not unfounded, as to just how much they would change the river in the area they were working.

Seems they must have had some of the rock they were using to build up the banks left over. so it was obviously awkward for them to decide what to do with this rock, after all there was only a team of about 8 working there.

"I know lets just dump it in the middle of the river"

"Yeh that's a good idea"




Thanks Lads.

November fFireworks But Not From Boris

02/11/03

Having had no luck at all for the whole of October was pleased on getting to the river today, on seeing what looked as near to perfect fishing conditions as you can get for November.
With the river having a lovely colour to it decided to fish the lower reaches of the stretch, where the opportunity to change swims is a lot better, this would not be a problem today as once again I have the river to myself.

Was to be disappointed as try as I might, just could not get a touch, had hoped that the bait Bob had gave me last week up the Wye would do the trick but even this failed this time.
Still will be back tomorrow and hopefully will be a fish or two caught, as Ray and myself have Jim and Rich for company.



03/11/03

What is it with this bloody weather, having left the banks yesterday, with what were perfect conditions the rain was falling heavy and it stayed that way all night long.
This meant on arriving at the river today I was just in time to see Ray bouncing 6oz of lead into a snag, lucky he did get snagged up as next stop for that lead would have been Cardiff Bay.

But then this was to be expected after all Jim & Rich are on there way down.
This very same thing happened on there last visit to the Taff, disappointing was not the word I used on seeing the river had came up by some 3 - 4 feet since yesterday.

Around 9 am Jim & Rich turned up no doubt thinking this is normal levels for the river as they have not seen it any different, after greetings were over we pointed them in the direction of what is in these conditions, one of the only fishable swims that is likely to produce a fish or two. Whilst Ray and myself fished lower down, that's if you can call it fishing.

Back in the mid 70's this stretch of the river was prone to flooding so the EA have over the years, carried out quite considerable work in straightening out the banks and the like. This means that anytime we get a bit of extra water in the river it pushes through at an unbelievable rate, rendering it next to impossible to find anywhere to fish and today we weren't being helped by the amount of rubbish coming down the river.

Ray and myself both checked up on the boys during the course of the day hoping to have some good news, but this unfortunately was not to happen. In the afternoon we were joined on the bank by Chris and Kevin who on having seen the conditions think they decided best not to fish.
Late afternoon saw Jim & Rich join us lower down so this meant there were now 6 of us bemoaning the conditions, who was it who asked for some rain I wonder.

Still a most enjoyable day never the less and we still have time to get together again which seems on the cards, but maybe not the on the Taff again this season.




She looks nice at the right levels


08/11/03

Know this blanking has got to end sometime so hopefully today will be the day, that was my thinking on heading to the river today, that no doubt will be my thinking on my next visit.
As once again could not get me a touch, found on getting to the river someone fishing in what was to be my chosen swim for the day. This turned out to be Nick a good friend of Ray's, told him a bit early to be chasing those monsters just yet, as he's known to catch a big one or two, with his best to date an enviable 14lb 8oz one.
After spending a bit of time with Nick (always find it pays to watch the good ones at work) made my way to the next chose of swim.

This session was going to be into darkness so with that in mind set my gear out so as to have everything in it's place, only to have to move it when a dozen or more bloody kids turned up luckily they didn't stay around to long.
Found the conditions to be more awkward than what they looked as an unbelievable amount of rubbish was still coming down the river.
This was a pain once darkness came as you could not keep your bait out for longer than ten minutes and removing the **** off your line in darkness isn't fun.

The problem was to go away though as the kids who were here earlier returned, only to have a bloody firework display some 15 yards away from me.
That was bad enough but much too tame for these bloody idiots, so they set fire to a rather large old oak tree which in no time was lighting up the river bank.
This brought the sound of sirens and flashing blue lights to the banks, on what should have been a peaceful early Saturday evening session.

16/11/03

Decided to take a trip up the Bibs today, thought this would be my best chance of putting this long run of blanks behind me.
This meant getting up out of bed at 5 am as I wanted to be there for first light, was a nice easy drive for once having not been to work first and being a Sunday.
Was a bit concerned on the way up as the river Usk seemed to have quite a bit of extra water flowing down it, on driving into Monmouth my concerns were founded as the Wye was up quite considerably and the colour of chocolate.

Still here now so made my way down to the deeps to try and find a swim that would be fishable without putting myself at risk as the banks were unbelievably slippery.
Eventually settled down in what looked a decent enough swim, only to find that just about every piece of weed that was left in the river seemed to be washing onto my line.
Moved up to the lower meadow after a couple of hours to see if it would be any better there, but just couldn't get away from the bloody stuff.
Going down on my arse for the second time in quick succession made up my mind that today was not going to be my day.

By now the time was around mid-day and having passed the Taff at 6 am this morning with it looking in good nick thought I would drop off on my way home to see who was fishing.
On getting to the river found John and his son Joe fishing along with Kevin, just could not resist having a go here now after hearing that Joe had recently caught.

When it's not happening for you it's just not happening and I now added another new one to my list, that being blanking on two different rivers on the same day.



18/11/03

Think I need a Boris or at least that was the way I seen it, so instead of going home from work today headed to the river at 6.30 am, was a mild but damp morning so knew I would only fish for a few hours.
Once again the river looked in good condition so surely it would only be a matter of time before they start to come out again, as no one seems to be catching at the moment.
Was beginning to think that this session was to go the same way as the others of late. as 10.30 came around and still no sign of activity.

With the drizzle now getting heavier and the lack of sleep catching up with me decided to give it another 15 minutes before packing away.
When out of the blue the rod wrenched round and for the first time in best part of two months I was in contact with a Barbel.

Fortunately this wasn't a big fish by any means, as I'm sure my over caution in playing this fish to the net would have posed big problems if the fish was a decent size, strange the way you react when it's so long since you've caught.

Well eventually I had a Barbel on the bank again this being a fish of about 4lb but as pleasing as any Boris caught so far this season, quick note in sketch book to thank Bob next time we chat as this fish came to some of his paste.
With the run of blanks over maybe now I can get on with catching that monster that I've been promising myself this season.



22/11/03

Having caught on last visit, that's much better being able to write that, decided today to fish the afternoon into the evening. First time this season the banks were packed, it took my fourth choice of swim before I found one that was vacant.
Still wasn't that bothered about this as that gave me the opportunity to fish a swim I'd been promising myself to fish all season.

Seems now the colder weather is here the Grayling are on the move again, as I was pestered by them right from the start. Looks like they are now more than happy to have a go at the larger baits as well as the maggots, had hoped to get away from them with the water being just that bit deeper and slower down this end.

Around 5 o-clock made a move up river to a much more productive swim, well use to be anyway, as by now I had the river to myself. But this didn't make a lot of difference as all I could manage was a rather large slimy, bloody things, this one managed to eat a lump of meat which he had no right to get his chops around. Am I the only one who can managed to get covered in slime from head to toe or are there others like me.
This was made all the more difficult in the dark with a failing head light, having returned the wriggly back to his home decided this would be a good time for me to do the same.



24/11/03

What a turn around in conditions we have of late, was due to meet Ray today, for a number of reasons we have not got together for a while now, so was looking forward to getting, both together for a session and amongst the Barbel.
But the weather had taken a turn for the worst and the temperature had dropped quite a bit from the mild conditions of the last couple of days. So on arriving at the river was given the sob story from Ray how he had ("I had to scrape the car before I left this morn") yeh and me Ray bloody twice today already.

Stayed far longer than what we should have, as all we could muster between us were a couple of Grayling and go's without saying Ray had his now customary Trout.

Still mid-afternoon the sun did put in an appearance and it was nice to be sat out amongst the early winter surroundings, that was until we got back to the car, where once again it was time to scrape the ice away.



30/11/03

Think I'm slowly getting to realized that those early morning sessions are best kept for the summer months, as once again it's 2.30 pm before I get to the river.
On getting there, did think maybe this was the wrong choice, as the river had came up quite a bit from when I had last seen it some 30 hours earlier.
Well very first cast made up my mind I had for once made the right choice, as before I had time to sit myself down, I find I'm having a right old ding dong with Boris.
Although this fish proved to be no more than 5 and a bit pound on landing, it did give me a tremendous scrap in the extra water that the river was now carrying.

With the river up like it was and quickly rising had decided to fish the 1 rod only, as it was on a regular basis, I found myself moving backwards to stop my feet getting wet.
This had little effect on the fishing as it's not long before I'm into what feels a better fish, once again this one gave a great account of itself and on more than one occasion got into the faster water.

On landing this fish was somewhat disappointed as I knew it was time to make a move from this swim, as I had great difficulty getting close enough to the water with the net and with darkness quickly closing in, had no intention of taking a dip in a high and angry looking Taff.

Dropped down river a few swims and settled myself back down, still expecting more action as the weather was changing and definitely for the better, did not get another touch as is most often the case when fishing this swim from downstream of it, still was good to have the couple as doubt if I'll get out that much in December.

December The Lost Christmas Gift

01/12/03

Sometimes it helps to be just that little bit mad when it comes to deciding whether to go fishing, mad that is when you know you'd be better off tucked up in bed at home, than on a riverbank with the rain falling, like Noah's going to need to come out of retirement soon.

But still found myself there with Ray today, for what turned out to be a fruitless session as I missed my only bite of the day, whereas Ray managed to lose what looked a good fish. This came about after the knot at his hook link had slipped, so he was none too please. What made this worst for him was the fact he had the fish on for some considerable time and on more than one occasion got her out of the fast water and under control.

Did try for half hour or so just up above Ray, but as expected just could not hold bottom as the river was rising and pushing through at an alarming rate. Seems a long time ago that we were moaning about the lack of water in the river.



17/12/03


Bloody work, having spent the last two weeks working my arse off was looking forward to today's trip up to the Bib's, with Ray and Bob to keep me company. However was disappointed that the weather over the last couple of days had taken a turn for the worst, as the first real cold spell of winter had arrived.

All three of us arrived at the river at much the same time and after a quick chin-wag we decided to fish the lower meadow. With the weather being as cold as it was this would probably give us the best chance of a fish.
Well it did prove to be hard going for the three of us, as the temperature never changed much all day long, but the river and the surroundings made up for this as the place looked great in it's winter coat.

Ray did find himself amongst the fish as he had a couple of nice Barbel and a couple of Chub for his efforts, this cheered us all up as it's nice to see some coming out when it's as bleak as it was. Silk and his lad Josh joined us for a brief spell mid-afternoon only for a social and not to fish, this was a shame as I'm sure I could have learnt something from Josh after the beauty he caught the other day.
Around 5 pm with the frost now forming on the cars again we decided to call it a day, told Ray should be out this weekend as the worst of the work is done and there's a little matter of a December Boris to be caught.



20/12/03

Having spent 5 hours in work getting soaked through to the B****** made a phone call to Ray around 7.30 am to let him know I was going to give today's arranged session a miss, just didn't fancy another 5 or 6 hours in the rain, also knowing the river would be rising rapidly didn't help. The answer I got from Ray was "got my fishing head on, so I'm still going" told him I may join him after a few hours kip, if the weather picks up, but don't count on it.

So this seen me driving to the river at about 9 .30 am, bugger the sleep, having gone home and dried out decided to join Ray and get myself another soaking. Hopefully will get my reward for the effort by nabbing a Boris or 2.

On getting to the river Ray was already fishing and doing his best to shelter from the rain, which on times was torrential but at least the river wasn't as high as expected. Must have brought him some luck as not long after me being there Ray was doing battle with what seemed a decent Boris, we never got to see the size of this fish though, as they parted company when Ray's hook length snapped having been dragged across a rock. Still as bad as conditions were at least the fish were feeding.

Wasn't long before once again Ray has himself a fish on and me thinking to myself yep knew I should have gone back to bed. With the extra water in the river this fish proved to be a right old handful in getting to the net, and although it went the better side of 9lb the reason it gave such a dogged fight was unfortunately the fish was foul-hooked in the dorsal. So things were not going as planned for either of us, as the next we knew, it was time to move as the rising river meant we could not fish anymore where we were.

This was a total pain it's bad enough moving swims in the dry but with the wind and rain like it was it more than crossed my mind to call it a day. But the fact that Ray had those couple of fish kept me going.
Glad it did as not long after starting in our new position had what was to be the last bite of the session, but this did lead to Ray netting my first Barbel of December a lovely looking fish of around 7lb's.

Eventually the wind, rain and ever rising levels got the better of us by mid-afternoon, but at least I had managed a fish, which made up for second soaking of the day and the lack of sleep.



24/12/03

With both my lads having outgrown Santa, found myself with a decision to make today, that being back to bed and catch up with my sleep, or a days fishing, which would be a first for me on a Christmas eve.
So this meant I was sat on the riverbank around 10.30 am on what was a mild day and perfect fishing conditions. Was I glad I made that choice (well I think I am).

Not only was there no other anglers on the river today but the place seemed almost different with a complete lack of dog walkers, joggers, motorbike's and best of all no bloody kids.
Having got up out of bed at 1 am this morning I knew the fishing would need to be good if I wasn't going to find myself dozing off.

Shouldn't have concerned myself on that one as the day proved to be more than eventful, having set up both rods and put them out where I wanted them, sat myself down with a cup of coffee and a smoke just contemplating what Santa might have in his sack for me tonight.

With that I noticed a slight tremble on the downstream placed rod, thinking it to be a bit of **** dragging on the line thought I'd bring it in and change the bait.
I never got the chance to do that though, as I lent forward to pick up the rod, it flew round and before I knew what was happening Boris is taking line from the reel like she's trying to make the last boat out of Cardiff bay.

That first run of hers must have stripped some 20 yards of line off the reel, but slowly I managed to turn her and bring her foot by foot back up river, would have liked the option of following this fish downstream but as there was a tree on my bank just below me, found I could not do this.

Just when I thought I had some control over this fish, off she went again this time towards a snag in mid-river, tightening up on her and exerting as much pressure as I dared I managed to stop her and get her moving towards me, this was when I got my first glimpse of her, ****! never have I seen such a size Barbel, as she rolled on the surface I remember thinking the last time I'd seen a tail like that was on the film Free Willy!

This was when panic set in and all I wanted was to get her in the net, but she was having none of it as once again she powered off towards the snag in mid-river, again I managed to stop her making it to this snag and slowly edged her towards me.
Thinking the battle was won as this run of hers lacked the power of the first two, when she again tried to make it for the snag I just held on knowing that in a minute or so I would have a PB and probably river record Barbel in my net.

Then that dreaded sickening feeling as Boris and myself parted company!

Thinking my knot had gave way or maybe the line had rubbed against one of the many rocks that litter the river where I was fishing, slowly I wound in to find that somehow the hook had pulled.
To say I was devastated would be putting it mildly, just could not believe what I had allowed to get away from me.

After sitting there for a while and having gathered my thoughts I phoned Ray as he had asked me to let him know how I was doing, think it was more a case that I had to tell someone about what had just happened. Ray informed me that he was on his way to Cardiff so he'd call over to see me, just as I put the mobile in my pocket had a cracking wrap around on the same rod.

This is unbelievable as within seconds of me thinking this will go someway towards making up for what I'd just lost, nothing! as once again my hook pulled.
Found this rather confusing as I've used the same pattern of hook for a good time now, with no problems, maybe I should have gone home to bed.

Before I had time to bait back up I was into another decent fish on the other rod, right thinks I, don't rush it, don't be over cautious, just do what you've done all season, bloody hell someone must be taking the P*** as once a bloody gain I find the hook pulls on what I'm sure would have been a good double.

Glad Ray turned up when he did as this stopped me from throwing my gear in the river and going home, boy by now was I P***** off or what, was sat there explaining to Ray just what I thought was going wrong when once again whack! and for the fourth time today I'm in with a chance of landing a decent Barbel.

Well eventually with Ray by my side offering help he slipped the net under what looked every part a double, was not to be disappointed as the scales went round to 10 and a half pounds, however this only went slightly towards making up for my disappointment at just what might have been?

This fish was in beautiful condition and with Ray being with me thought it would be nice to have a picture to remember her by. So quickly got the camera ready and Ray once again done the honors for me.

Don't she look lovely.

errrrrrr.

Yep sure was one of those days as the camera ran right up to the taking of the picture when the battery died, being of the lithium type then no spare was at hand. Did continue to fish for an hour or so after Ray had left but somehow knew there would be no more, as I had missed my chance.
Oh well at least now I know what Santa had in his sack for me, only wished I could have held on to it for a bit longer though.



27/12/03

Couldn't wait to get back to the river after Christmas eve's drama, but with the festive season being upon us had not taken much notice of the weather, so on arriving at the river today was shocked to find it some 4 feet higher than on Christmas eve.
Along with the extra water there was quite a drop in temperature, so did not fancy my chances at all, well needless to say could not get me a sniff for the 3 hours that I fished.

Was still one big load of rubbish coming down the river and once again a lot of this **** was the kind of waste you would hope not to find in the river.


01/01/04


Well being New Years Day and the usual amount of wine drank last night , that being far too much, along with the fact that exams are looming so won't be out for a while after today, (well that's the excuse I've given the wife).
Thought it would be nice to get out for a few hours and clear the head. Even though conditions are far from perfect.Decided I would have a few hours fishing the feeder that runs into the Taff, just for fun, where there's still the chance of a small Barbel or 2.
But thought I'd call in on the river on the way to the feeder just to see what conditions were like,
was pleasantly surprised to find the levels not too bad and the temps for the time of year could have been worst.
With no one else on the river just couldn't resist having a go so once again the feeder would have to wait as I'd been promising myself to have a go there for a while now.

Did on more than one occasion wonder about my sanity as even though the river conditions remained much the same for the 5 hours that I was there, the weather did take a turn for the worst and on more than one occasion I found myself holding on to my brolly and doing my best to shelter from the hail and sleet showers, that were now becoming more frequent.
As darkness approached did think, that maybe the feeder would have been the better option as I'd not had a touch on either rod.

Packing the one rod away, the wife phoned to check what time I was coming home, having told her I'm on my way, just packing up, knew my chances of a New Years Day Boris had gone.

Or had they!

Just as I'm about to put the second rod away around it flew and I'm into what felt a good Barbel, was not prepared for this as it was now completely dark and my head torch was in my bag, somehow I managed to hold onto the rod and fumble around in my bag for my torch.
By now though the fish had got itself into the faster water out in front of me, so this led to a tremendous scrap with neither Boris or myself wanting to give anything away.
Eventually the net was slipped under what proved to be one of the Taff's porkies, as although the fish had no length whatsoever she did go the other side of 8lb.

Now came the awkward part, having chatted to Ray and Silk this morning I'd promised them a picture of a N Y D's Boris, so decided to use the remote control that came with my camera for the first time, this will take a bit more practice I think, as the only way I could get it to fire was by using my mouth to activate it.





Still not too bad for a first attempt.


On leaving the river today couldn't help thinking that somehow this fish went someway towards making up for the disappointment of Christmas eve, although not the same size as the monster that I lost, the way I seen it, not just shouldn't I had been on the river today, but I had no right in catching in such **** conditions, but then some you do win.



10/01/04

Well with the exams behind me and 9 days of inactivity on the fishing front, was going fishing today regardless of conditions.
Gave Ray a ring at 7 am just to let him know that I was going fishing today whatever the weather, having had a number of blank sessions himself whilst I was busy, took no persuasion from me for him to agree to meeting me at the river around 9 am.

On getting to the river was pleased to find that the conditions were difficult but at least the river was fishable, but with the extra water once again we were restricted on choice of swim.
However we were helped by the fact we were the only two on the river, after 6 hours without a touch between us think we understood why this was.
Around 4 o-clock had what was probably the fourth heavy no torrential shower of the day and was getting to that stage where we admit defeat, when Boris came calling.

Luckily this was to me and not Ray, did my best though to let him have a sniff of it as with the extra water in the river, just could not stop her from making her way downstream and into Ray's swim.
Eventually I got her back upstream and to the waiting net, but even then it was proving difficult with the extra flow to get her safely in the net. Once again it was one of the rivers shorter Boris, but like the one on New Year's day this fish still went the better side of 7lb.

I moved down by Ray to release this fish as the flow where I was, meant I would have had no chance of holding the fish if she needed time to recover. As it happened this was not a problem, but the fish did sit in the calm water just below Ray's feet, so Ray thought this would make a nice picture after several attempts he just could not understand why he was having no luck.
Then just as Boris swam away I noticed he had the lens cap still on the camera, told him maybe next season we should consider joining a camera club.

This fish did have the usual effect on our decision about packing in, so we stayed for a few hours longer than expected, but could not manage anymore.



14/01/04

Was hoping to get up the Bib's today but with the conditions **** and Ray's Barbel Bus knackered decided to give it a miss, so instead thought I'd have a few hours on the Taff. Where I likewise found the conditions to be far from perfect.

So this meant I gave the wife a shock as for the first time this season I actually got home earlier than intended, did try a few different swims but with the extra water and the amount of rubbish coming down the river, found the fishing to be next to useless. Hope weather and conditions improve before too long.



19/01/04

At last conditions seem to be on the up, so was quite confident on getting to the river today, with levels back to normal for winter although not a great deal of colour in the river, it still looked the part. This was confirmed within 10 minutes of starting fishing, having put one rod out and in the middle of setting up the second rod, had one of those un-missable bites as line started screaming off the reel.
After what turned out to be a great scrap brought what looked every bit a double to the net, this was not to be as the scales stopped at 9lb 9oz, still being the first cast of the day did expect a few more.

Was somewhat shocked and disappointed that this was to be my only fish of the day as the way the conditions were it did look like I was in for a red letter day, still have the opportunity to get out again tomorrow so might do better then.



20/01/04

On the river today by 8 am, with conditions much the same as yesterday was hoping to get amongst them. Wasn't long before I was as some 40 minutes after starting had my first bite of the day, what a little scrapper this fish turned out to be, as on more than one occasion he had line pealing off the reel. Was shocked when I eventually netted this fish to find it was only about 4lb in weight, hope to meet up with him again when he's a bit bigger.

Just as I had returned this fish to the water the other rod whacked round and I'm into my second Barbel of the day, this fish proved to be a bit smaller at no more than about 3lb, but just as with any Barbel, was more than happy to have it on the bank.

With this being my third Barbel in two days and in the month of January, which more often or not is the most difficult one to catch in, knew my luck just could not hold out.
Sure enough it didn't, as it wasn't long before I'm into a much better fish altogether, having seen the fish roll on the surface knew this was going to be a good double. But never did get the fish to the net as my hook-length came into contact with one of the rocks that Boris had tried to seek sanctuary in, and sure enough twang! and say goodbye to Boris.

Still with me due away on Holiday tomorrow was more than pleased to have got amongst them the last few outings, hope this luck of mine carries on while I'm away.
Never know might just get me an out of season Marlin in Lanzarote (now where have I heard that before).

February fMonster Hunting with Ray

01/02/04

Well go's without saying did not manage to catch that elusive Marlin, did however catch a number of fish from off the shore, some of which judging by the colours on them would not have been out of place in my tropical fish tanks at home.
Also caught or foul-hooked I think, as I had great difficulty telling which was his head and which was his arse, a beautifully marked sea slug which looked more alien like then aquatic.



That's not a Barbel.



And that's definitely not

Had hoped on my return from Hol's to continue where I had left off before going away, especially now that Feb had arrived.
With Ray having had a great deal of success last February with a number of doubles, he had convinced me this was going to be our month (not that I took a lot of convincing that is).

In fact he went a bit further than that, in that he even told me what day this monster was to be caught, apparently he had this vivid dream that he had to go fishing on Feb 27th as on this day a monster fish was to be caught

"Oh well Ray hope it's me".
Still no harm in getting in some practice before the event, so this seen me on a raging torrent of a river today after the Taff was at it's highest level it has been for many a year, over the last couple of days.

So took with me just the one rod and a small bag and decided the roving approach would be the best option, just dropping in swims as I go and if able to hold bottom give each swim 20 to 30 minutes each.
This really did prove one thing to me, that other than the odd swim which I know about already this stretch of the Taff really is un-fishable when carrying a large amount of extra water.

Found it impossible to hold bottom virtually anywhere even with 6 oz's of lead on, still more than outstayed my welcome as usual, as what should have been a 4 hour session lasted 6 hours, but having told the wife the vision is nigh knew she would understand.

03/02/04

With work taking me just a couple of hundred feet away from the river, or more precise from the weir, five days a week for the last 15 years or so.
Have found I can more or less judge the levels of the river just by the noise of the water falling over the weir.

"Wish today wasn't one of those days I don't go near the river whilst in work"

As getting to the river at 9 o-clock this morning to meet up with Ray, was greeted by that thunderous roar that could only mean one thing this was going to be a short session.

Along with the river being almost un-fishable we also had to contend with some of the heaviest rain I've seen for a long time. Think if Ray hadn't had to travel up from Swansea to fish the Taff then the gear would have stayed in the car.
Having told each other just how mad we were, we still made our way over to the river, she was not a pretty site, as all manner of things went floating by us, fortunately this was out in the main flow and as neither of us had an anchor with us we would not be fishing out there.

The rain eased a bit while we were setting up so this did make it a bit easier for us, only to return just after with a vengeance, in fact so bad that Ray shot off to his car for his brolly, would have done likewise but mine was at home in the garage.
Within less than an hour of fishing I found my feet to be under water which wasn't the case when we started, so I moved back as much as possible in the little space that we had between us.

Wasn't long before I was on the move again as the river was now rising at an alarming rate, just as I did Ray noticed a slight knock on his rod, with me thinking this was no more than the usual rubbish hitting the line I continued to move further back.
With that whack and Ray's into a Barbel no more than 2 feet away from us, think even Boris did not expect anyone to be mad enough to be out today in these conditions, as she definitely took exception to being hooked so close to the bank.

With no choice but to hold on with all his might, Ray done his utmost to try to gain some kind of control over this fish, knowing that if she got out just another foot or so from the bank then that would be the end of her, as this would have taken her into the main flow.
A huge swirl on the surface proved that this was quite a good size fish who now made a dart for a tree just downstream from us.
This tree under normal levels would be part of the bank side undergrowth but today just the tops of it was showing, so Ray applied as much pressure as he dared to stop her making the tree. This seemed to work as she now made a dive down into the deeper water, then just when I, he, thought somehow he was winning this battle, up sprang his rod as Boris said goodbye.

On inspection of his hook-length it seems the inevitable happened, that being it had brushed against one of the many rocks that would normally form part of the bank.
With all this happening only a couple of feet off the rod tip, it did lead to great excitement just a shame he could not land this fish.

We stayed for a little while longer but eventually the river won as we ran out of bank space, did reflect on the drive home, how sometimes you catch without much effort or commitment,

however if you did catch because of effort and commitment,

then that fish would have been Ray's today.

07/02/04

After Tuesdays excitement was hoping for a bit more of the same today, but this time maybe between us we could bag a fish or two, I say between us as once again I'm on the banks with Ray.
The river had dropped off quite a bit from earlier in the week but the temperature is going the same way, so with this in mind we stayed a bit longer than we should have, this might have had something to do with the fact we did have the new Eurotec bait to try out today.
Having read some good reports on it hoping it might just be what is needed to catch that end of season monster.
However that will have to wait until another day as we could not manage a touch between us today, with the temperature dropping looks like it's going to get harder for the next couple of days.

Was joined on the bank for a while by Chris and Kevin seems like ourselves they are finding it difficult also, but it does seem that Chris has the right approach at the moment that being short afternoon into early evening sessions, but that might change as I did tell them about Ray's vision so they are on the trail now also.

Did manage to break the avon section of my Greys rod today, so all in all not a great day by any means.

08/02/04

Being a Sunday could not resist having a few hours again today even though conditions had not improved upon yesterdays, adopted a more mobile approach today as there was no one else fishing.
Having tried a number of likely looking swims was disappointed to not get a single touch, with not a great deal of time left before the end of the season is upon us we really do need to see an improvement in the weather, if Ray's vision is to be fulfilled.

Another point of interest with this being my first real serious attempt at fishing the winter period, as by now normally, the painting would have taken over from the fishing, must admit the blanks are a lot easier to accept than they are in summer.

09/02/04

Knowing that Ray was already on the river today, decided to join him and get a few hours in myself, somehow think this was the wrong decision as once again we could not get a touch between us.
Was though a slight improvement in both temps that being the river and air temp, so maybe it might just start to improve.

With Ray going on so much about his bloody dream did tell him today, would it not be better if we just wait until Feb 27th and have a 24 hour session, would save all these blanking hours that I'm putting in at the moment.

10/02/04

Seems this is now getting to be the norm me sat here writing about my blanks, as try as we might again today just could not get us a Barbel, wish the Barbel would take a liking to this Eurotec bait as much as the Taff Trout have, as Ray did manage a number of them today all on the Eurotec paste some of these were a decent size.

What was it Ray said "can't wait till Feb" the way it's going he must have meant to get it out of the way.

On a more serious note once again today the banks of the river are in a disgusting state, with the recent high levels the amount of **** deposited on the banks really does spoil the fishing. Just having to sit amongst this rubbish makes you wonder if it's worth while, have just sent mail off to both the EA and the City Council and I know Ray is doing likewise but what if any response we get makes you wonder.



11/02/04

This is becoming something off an obsession as once again I'm making my way to the river, with the rest of the boys getting together up the Bib's today along with Dick, was somewhat disappointed that I could not join them.
So decided to have a few hours before Uni tonight on the Taff, little did I know what lay in store for me, having sat here in front of the PC writing a post for BFW on today's

"well lets just say a day I won't be allowed to forget in a hurry"
I've no intention of including it here, but for those who are interested then an account of it can be found Here.

All I can add to this is, that from the moment that the rod wrapped round right up to when Paul mentioned "You've caught a ******* log no a bag" I was convinced that this was a return visit from a lost friend on Christmas Eve.

Having just fished 5 days on the trot think I will have some work to do if I'm to convince the wife that I really should get out fishing tomorrow.



14/02/04

Just had to happen, never got to convince the wife so the one day I can't get out and Ray has a new PB this being last Thursday, was even more frustrating as he tried to get hold of me so he could get a picture, after spending most of the season together would have been good to share his joy.
Still makes me wonder now about his dream and if there is something init, so with that in mind just had to have a few hours today before the rugby.

Was in for another shock on getting to the river, when another angler approached me and ask me would I do the honors for him and take a picture of what was a new PB for himself.
This being a beautiful Barbel of 12lb 2oz, 2 PB's off the river in the same week, so you never know maybe just maybe I could become number 3 this week.

Well as this chap just happened to be fishing in my intended swim this seen me moving down river to my next choice, only to find someone in this one also. So decided to fish just up above him in one of those swims I keep telling myself to try.

After some 4 hours without a touch had more or less accepted the inevitable and yet another blank, when I was joined on the bank by Chris, who just happened to be taking his dog for a walk before heading home to watch the game. Whilst sat there chatting had the slightest of trembles on the one rod, this happened again a minute or so later, then yes! at last I'm in contact with a Boris again, having hooked this fish just over mid-river it came across to the waiting net rather easily, which suggested it was going to be on the small side but who said size counts. Then when brought up to the surface and on the near bank Boris woke up and sped of across river to seek shelter in a snag on the far bank, after a right old tussle Chris slipped the net under what proved to be a right lump at 11lb 3oz, not a PB but being my first for quite a while this meant I went home with a smile on my face for a change.



Now that's definitely a Barbel.

16/02/04

When Ray and myself talked about giving it a good go for the last 6 weeks of the season, did hope that as long as the weather held up, then the chances of a monster to end the season with, would have been good.
Well the weather for February is mild and the river looks good although it could do with a bit of colour in it, but with a few fish starting to show just lately, it does seem there's a good chance of dreams coming true.

So looks like I'll be catching up with all those things I should be doing, at a later date, as once again I'm sitting on the banks of the Taff, waiting for Boris to come calling.
Ray had started fishing when I arrived and Paul (proponepaul) had been fishing for a few hours but neither had seen any sight of Barbel and with the river as low as it is then you would hope to see the odd sign of movement.

Did have a go with the maggot feeder today but interest in this only came from the Grayling, who like the Trout have also taken a fancy to this Eurotec bait, maybe they ought to re-launch it next season but aim it at the game fishing market.



17/02/04

Sometimes you look at the river and think today's going to be my day, that was how I felt today, don't know why but just expected something good today.
Well after another 7 hours fishing without so much as a knock for Ray or myself seems I got that one wrong.

Know one thing if I'm to continue to use this Eurotec bait then my bait keeping habits need to change a bit, as both the paste and bollies start to turn in no time unless they are kept in the fridge, and not as per usual at the bottom of my bag.



23/02/04

Never thought I'd be writing this, due a session today up at the Bibs with Tommo and Ray and I wasn't looking forward to it one little bit.
This was nothing to do with the company, but the fact that after the best part of 30 years being a smoker, today was the day I had chosen to pack them in.

How would I cope after putting the rods out, with that first cup of coffee without a fag, what will I do after the capture of a Boris without a celebratory fag, once returning her to her watery home.
Or more of a worry would I find myself still up there tomorrow morning, as how will I get to pack away the gear, without that just have one last fag then I'll pack away ritual.

All these thoughts and a few more were racing through my head as I headed up to Tesco's car park to pick up Ray. (yeh we learned, no more 6 parking fees at the service stations)

Was helped by the fact that Ray had also packed in the cigs a few days back so was not on my own so to speak, however did find the talk on the journey up to the Bibs, tended to revolve around cigarettes a little though.

On getting to the river we caught up with Tommo, who had been fishing for an hour or so but had nothing good to report.
This was not surprising as the temperature had dropped right down and with the river running low and clear prospects didn't look good. Not long after starting to fish Ray did have a nice Chub around the 4lb size, this lifted spirits a bit but this did prove to be the only fish of the day.

So got over that first cup of coffee without a fag, but never did get to find out how it would feel to not have one after catching, and as for packing away, well by the time we did, think the cold had made the decision for us.



24/02/04

Even though the conditions are everything but good for Barbel fishing, still could not resist having a few hours today. After yesterdays session up the Bibs did expect the Taff to be a bit better on the temperature front, was a slight improvement but still not enough to get Boris interested in feeding.

With the weather forecast pointing to no great change in conditions, or if anything conditions worsening over the next couple of days, then Ray's dream looks like it's going to remain just that a dream.

March Last Chance

04/03/04

With February not producing anywhere near the return I'd have hoped for, just the 1 fish out of 12 outings, hopefully the next couple of weeks will see some improvement and the season can still finish on a high.
So after the recent snow and cold spell was nice to have quite a decent bit of weather today, this did mean that there was a large number of anglers on the river when I arrived, amongst these was Ian whom it was nice to see again, after him spending most of the season working away.

But was not pleased to hear that none of those fishing had caught, although Ian had lost one earlier on, what was it he said "think I've forgotten what to do".
Did make a passing comment to Ian about the fish being lower down the stretch this time of year, well I had to say that, as with the number of anglers fishing had no choice but to go lower down to find a swim myself.

Wish there was this number of anglers out every time I go fishing, as within 5 minutes of starting to fish the rod whips round and I have my first fish of the session on the end of the line. this happened to be a decent Chub of about 4 lb's and not as I'd hoped a Boris, still was nice to catch as at the time I was using the Eurotec bait.

Wasn't long before my second rod was called into play, only this time it was Boris who came knocking, not a big one at around 4lb but nice all the same at this stage of the season.
Just as this fish was released another bite comes to the rod with the Eurotec bait on again this proved to be a Chub of a similar size to the first one.
Can't believe my luck, as that is 3 out of 3 cast into the river resulting in fish being caught, for the first time since starting to fish I get chance to pour myself a cup of coffee, but not to drink it!

This time I'm into a much better fish which gave me a great fight before coming to the net, this one looked as if it would make double figures, but this was not to be as the scales stopped at 9lb 9oz's still was more than happy with that as this was the first Barbel I've caught on the Eurotec bait.

With a number of fish moving in front of me and lower down from myself, decided to pop up and tell Ian that although I was only joking about the fish being lower down this time of year, this was certainly the case today.
After returning to my swim the obvious happened, that being could not get me another touch, Ian did come and fish just below me but he also had no joy. Still was nice to get a Barbel on the Eurotec bait even though I did miss that celebratory fag.



06/03/04

Once again today the river is busier than it has been for most of the season, Ray had been fishing for a few hours before I got there along with Nick and a few others. Was hoping to hear of a few being caught but this was not the case as none of them had managed a touch.

Ray was about to pack away when I got there to get home to watch the football, but whilst we stood chatting I noticed a large Barbel flash out in front of us, think this got him to change his mind as he stayed until 5.00 pm.
But we still had not had a bite between us, Nick joined us mid-afternoon and he likewise had nothing good to report, as the weather was quite mild and after Ray had left I had the river to myself, I decided to have an hour or so into darkness.

Suddenly the river came alive with fish moving all over the swim I was fishing and quite a considerable way above and below me, unfortunately these fish were Chub and not Barbel, as within 15 minutes of darkness falling I had caught 3 Chub one after the other.
As much fun as catching decent size Chub can be, as I was now once again fishing an hour or so pass my going home time, decided that it was time to call it a day and hope for better luck up the Wye on Monday.



08/03/04

Today was going to be my last chance this season of a Barbel from up the Bibs, not that this was that important, as today was going to be more of a social gathering than being there for the fishing.
As once again today, Ray and myself were to be joined by Jim and Rich, along with Silk and Tommo, so all in all we had quite a nice little get together, only Bob failed to make it as he was having his own get together on the Avon with the BFW team.

After a nice drive up on a beautiful early spring morning, we stopped at Ray's watering hole or bacon butty hole to be more precise, before arriving at the Bibs gate to find Jim and Rich waiting for us, seems Tommo had locked them out, wanted the place to himself again no doubt.

Everything about the day was good, that is if you don't mind not catching, as although the conditions weren't ideal for Barbel fishing, did/would have expected the odd one to put in an appearance, but then this is the norm when Jim/Rich and myself get together (unless you count Ray's cardboard cutout on the Teme that is).
Was good to see them again though and they recon we will put this not catching thing behind us next season, as a trip up to the middle Severn is likely come Autumn.

Seemed strange on leaving the place knowing that as bare and barren as it looked today, come my next journey up there the place will be alive with everything that a summer up the Biblins brings.

09/03/04

After failing to catch up the Bibs yesterday did hope for better luck today down on the Taff, well it was a bit better as I did manage the one Barbel around the 4lb, once again this was on the Eurotec bait, seems now the season is over it's starting to work a bit, so maybe next year might see me using it.

Was joined by Chris for a while today and made plans to get out for the final week-end, but it does seem as if conditions are going to get worst for the final couple of days as the forecast is not great.

13/03/04

Being the last week-end did expect a few more anglers to be on the river today, but after the snow and cold weather of the last couple of days seems not everyone is as nuts as myself.
But as it seemed conditions were not going to improve for tomorrow with quite heavy rain forecast overnight, then thought I'd make the best of what was likely to be my last session of the season.

Sat there for some 4 hours without so much as a knock, with the river slowly rising all this time, just when I had made up my mind that maybe it wasn't going to happen today, Chris came along and sat with me for a chat.
Once again he brought the luck that was needed with him, as no sooner than he sat down had what could only be a Barbel calling, as the rod flew round and I'm into what felt quite a decent fish.
With the extra water in the river this fish gave a great account of itself and felt a lot bigger than the 6lb or so that on netting it proved to be. Still at this stage of the season it was nice to have a Boris on the bank.

As per usual this fish led to me staying a good bit longer than I intended and not long after saying goodbye to Chris, had another cracking bite, this came from a rather large Brown Trout that went the better side of 4lb.
This really upset a chap opposite me who was fishing the fly, especially when I referred to the fish as a bit of a nuisance and even more so when I mentioned that the Trout are partial to a lump of paste these days.

Should give it a miss tomorrow as the rain was falling heavy when I left today and already the river is getting difficult to fish.



14/03/04

Well not for one minute was I going to miss today, even knowing the river was nowhere near fishable, but maybe the Barbel gods would be a bit forgiving and allow a couple of hours fishing for those of us mad enough to try.

As I made my way to the river 3 lads were just about to pack away, not before leaving me with the words I didn't want to hear "Don't bother mate".
Looking at the river I could see there words were justified, as a raging torrent of brown water was flowing down what only yesterday was the river Taff.
Making my way up river to where I may just be able to fish for a few hours I came across John and his son Joe, they were just setting up but they were not confident of lasting long.

Once settled in my swim I knew there was not much chance of catching as not only was it difficult holding bottom but there was also a non-stop flow of rubbish coming down river.
Not long after I started Chris turned up and made his way down river to try and find somewhere to fish, about this time Joe and Dad came by having decided today was not going to be there day.

Having tried to fish for about an hour found I had to move back on 2 occasions as the river was still rising rapidly. Chris returned not long after having gave up on any hope of fishing lower down, he did try in the swim next to me for an hour or so, before we both admitted defeat some 4 hours earlier than we had intended packing in.

Disappointed was the only way to put it, disappointed for today that is, but for the season not one bit of it.
Having made the regular phone call to the wife to let her know I'm on my way home, knew I'd arrive to the usual hot bath and glass of claret waiting, yep guess I'm one of the lucky buggers as I have one of those wives most of us only wish for.

So lying in the bath reflecting on My Fishy Tales can only say what a wonderful time was had by myself.

Never did catch that PB, but then that was down to myself.
Never did catch that Wye double.
Never did catch that 15lb'er, again maybe down to myself.

But did have a, great fun\time trying and formed some great friendships along the way, so will I being doing the same next year?




With beauty like this in the river YOU BET


Malcolm Clarke

Last edited by Articles; 11-05-2012 at 10:22.
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