July 30, 2010

The Brummie's done it!

Big respect goes out to the only optimistic Brummy I've ever met - Carl Salter.

At 5 pm yesterday he set off to climb Ben Nevis. At 3.30 this morning he did Scafell Pike and this afternoon, despite feeling "completely bolloxed", he completed the Three Peak Challenge by climbing Mount Snowdon. The job was done in 22 hours and 3 minutes.

For a fat little bald bloke that is quite an accomplishment and I have nothing but respect for his efforts, the training even involved him cutting back on the beer for goodness sake! Although, he may catch up on some lost time this evening.

Any of you that have met Carl will know what a lovely bloke he is. He has done this in aid of the Living Angels Charity to raise money for ST Giles Hospice in Lichfield. This being the hospice that a close family friend stayed in before her untimely death from cancer last year.

I suggested that next week he should try again to get his time below 22 hours but he mentioned something about a duck cloth or similar, I'm not sure, it was a bad line.

Anyway, Carl I'm proud of you mate - top man.
Carl in training

Anybody wishing to send him a congratulations of organise a donation, his email is info@saltercleaning.com

More about wood

I've mentioned it before that Andy Sliwa made a rod for my son Neil but he's also been renovating another rod for me. The rod in question was made many moons ago by my old mate Bunny Bunyan from a DIY kit out of a Bruce and Walker blank.

The Mk iv carp rod was de rigueur back in the day and as Bunny saw himself as a latter day Dick Walker, he just had to have one. It was well made too although I doubt that it ever saw a fish anywhere near the size of Clarissa. Anyway, having spoken about wooden rods to Bunny he graciously gave the rod to me. I didn't use it for a while although Neil had some nice chub on it, but when I did, I caught an unexpected perch but no barbel.

Then I decided to try a spot where I felt I would at last test the rod on a decent fish, but failed to get a bite. I lovingly packed everything away but when I next looked at the rod it was damaged. I was mortified. To use something as personal as a cane rod is a genuine treat but the responsibility is always to cherish it. Yet here I was, looking at a rod that had a peculiar piece of damage where the top layer of cane near the tip had lifted and split. It was not done by knocking it and when I asked a couple of rod builders for their opinions, it was the general consensus that either some glue had failed or it was due to the conditions (Bunny's loft) where it had been stored.

I didn't feel any better.

Bunny was very understanding as he had no intention of ever using the rod again. He said that I should glue it up and hang it on a wall. But that was not right; A damaged rod is no use to anybody, I decided to get it repaired. But then, if I had a new top section made it would not be 'Bunny's' rod. Enter Andy Sliwa.

Andy had a look at it and decided that he could repair it and it would still be usable. I had visions of a built up repaired section or of a rod whipped and bound like a broken leg but he set about it and asked if I wanted the whole rod refurbished. In for a penny.... he went ahead.

Yesterday I met up with Andy on the Red Lion section. Part of the deal when he made Neil's rod was that he would have a couple of days here with me, unfortunately I couldn't be with him on Wednesday but yesterday we got it together.

He produced the rod and I was staggered! I thought that he had put Bunny's handle onto a new rod but he insists that its the same one and the mend is quite invisible. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to put a bend in it. This guy has some talent, if your old cane rods are looking a bit sad then he's the man to contact.

a rod reborn

As for the fishing, well we tried a spot that, although lovely to look at, did not produce a bite. So we headed for another beat and I learned that Andy's fishing has not been too successful so far this season and he hadn't landed a barbel so far. Also, he'd never had more than one barbel in a day, due mainly to low stock density on his home section of river. I really wanted to get him a fish or two.

In the chosen swim I droppered a load of hemp and suggested he fish hemp in the feeder with a 10mm pineapple on the hook. I had to pop into Hay for a an hour but returned to find a happy angler who'd had a nice chub and a barbel of about seven pounds. Excellent.

We stuck at it and when Andy's rod (a carbon rod by the way), bent around, he hit into a heavy fish that staid deep and gave a really good account of itself. Safely in the net it went nine pounds exactly. Andy was doing cartwheels down the bank and I felt that I had, in some small way, given back some of the pleasure that his rod building has given me.
Andy looks happy with his fish

Alas, the river switched off during the evening and only a chub was added to the catch. Neil was fishing elsewhere and his chub, that had been biting freely earlier, stopped feeding just at the time you would expect them to come on and have a go. Not to worry, Andy went home happy and will no doubt be back again.

He did give me one more little gem. For the ultimate bamboo tart (I am well short of that by the way) he has made some split cane handled baiting needles. Mine will probably never see the river because I lose things way too easily. But for those who appreciate wood, take a look at the picture and drool. Although I rather suspect that the likes of ol' Twocanes himself will claim, through gritted teeth, "well, I don't use boilies anyway". I know you're jealous Rocca, eat yer heart out ;-)

July 29, 2010


When I'm not driving around the country in my van solving mysteries, I do a spot of guiding.

I'm not one of those that have a web site or that shouts about the amount of fish they have caught, I just do it as it crops up, usually through the Red Lion. To be honest, I don't want to do many days a season as I find that going over the same old shpeel each time is a bit boring and also, I put myself under pressure to find fish especially when the going is tough. If I'm guiding I want my client to catch, there's nothing worse than a blank even if they go away with an injection of knowledge.

Anyway, this week I had Mike Perry with me. Mike's been coming back to me for about five or six years, the poor misguided (literally) fool. He's a great bloke and a day with him is always fun despite his appalling catalogue of jokes. Mike brought along Angus and Andrew, neither of which had ever seen a barbel before.

Due to them making a minor cock up in the arrangements with the Wye an Usk, the beat was booked for Monday even though they were not fishing until Tuesday and Wednesday. It would be a pity to waste it so I had a dabble myself with Neil.

We walked the bank and spotted a few desirable places. I opted to explore as I had to find at least three goer swims.

First cast and I bumped a lump of meat over a shallow gravel run. Meat is a great way to find fish and as the weight hung up on a rock, I felt a pull and landed a little barbel. Oh dear! I hate catching a barbel first chuck, it usually spells doom for the rest of the session and this day was no exception. Try as I might, I couldn't find another fish.

Two days later and it had all come together quite nicely. On the first day Mike had a few barbel on the float whilst the others trotted hard all day but only had dace and chub to their names. It doesn't make my job any easier when the guests insist on catching on the float but hey ho, its their day so I have to do my best.

On the second day Angus had a couple of small barbel on float gear but later sat restless and bored (he's a trout angler in the main), waiting for his lead rod to go. It didn't.

Andrew moved into the area where Mike had taken a couple of eight pounders and finally got his first two barbel, the best of which went seven pounds something.

It was hard fishing but two more men have been initiated into the barbel anglers guild - job done.

July 25, 2010

I've been a right grump of late, I can't help it, its just the way it is when you are a depressive. I've suffered for - well, most of my life in one way or another but since I succumbed to post traumatic stress disorder the bouts are understandably a tad deeper. So, if ever I don't post anything for a few days, it may be because I'm sat with a little black cloud over my head or, I may just have nothing to say - that also happens occasionally ;-)

Anyway, feeling off with the river is usual for me in mid-summer. I am naturally very protective of 'my' stretch of the river. I am the bailiff, I prepare swims, mend fences and stiles that sort of thing, and I treasure each fish that swims there. But by the sixth week of the season I have usually witnessed more than my share of piss poor practice by visiting anglers.

Now, I don't begrudge anybody putting in a massive effort to catch their fish especially when they are on a holiday break that is costing a bob or two. If you go away to fish you want to get value for money and to many 'value' equals quantity. But what they fail to understand or care about is the effect they are having on the fishing. People that have a good day in a particular swim will always return to that swim the next day and give it another hammering, probably catching some of the same fish again. When they complete their stay there is usually a spell of crowing in the bar about how good they are and how they have the river sussed. The next man to leap into that swim after hearing of its success, will do the same during his trip and so it goes on. The end result is always a swim that has been hammered to death and as a result, becomes poor or fished out.

The Wye seems quite prone to this turn of events and although there are a few swims that keep producing year in year out, many of the 'new' swims where a group of fish is located then exploited, last only a relatively short time. Its just the situation that arises on a 'holiday venue'. Were this section a club water the pressure would be far less intense.

I can cope with this situation, there is always somewhere else to fish that is out of the way and most won't walk far from their cars anyway. But its the attitude of some. The thought that if they throw a ton of bait into the river it will always catch them more fish. I've seen a group of twenty anglers fish for a week over a stretch of nearly five miles of river. They baited so heavily with pellets that, for a day or two, they caught quite well but, by the end of the week nobody could buy a bite! In fact, the only thing that seemed to be grabbing pellets was pike!

Then there are the guys that will spend hundreds of pounds on travel, accommodation and bait but who won't cough up a tenner for a landing net bigger than a tea strainer, line heavier than 5lb bs or of course, an unhooking mat. Mention fish care to these people and they give you a look of incredulity. It really, really pisses me off.

Oh I've tried to educate, tactfully and politely. I've raised my voice at some that have just been ignorant. But its all conflict that I can do without so, when I am fishing, I try to find a quiet spot and avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, up until a few days ago, most of those out of the way spots have been bereft of barbel but they are starting to spread out a bit now so things are looking up. Neil has had a couple of evening sessions that have each given him a brace of barbel so I'll have to get down and catch some soon, he' already bragging about catching more than me - the little pup.

Talking about The Boy, it was a proud day on Wednesday when he collect his degree in Fisheries and Fishery Management. My son has got letters after his name - time was I thought he'd end up with numbers in front of it :-) Not really, he's a good lad and worked hard for three years. His facebook page summed it up nicely, "went on a three year bender and woke up with a 2.1 degree". Not too far from the truth but there was some effort involved, wasn't there?

I'm fishing one of the Wye and Usk beats tomorrow, checking it out before a couple of days guiding a trio of anglers that want to catch on the float. My persistent tendonitis means I will not use the float rod much myself but I'll hopefully find a barbel or two. They also want to get to grips with fishing on the lead so its going to be hard work but, if they catch a few and have a laugh or two along the way, it will be worthwhile. I'll let you know how it goes.

July 20, 2010

The Moth

So there I was visiting our aged neighbour in the care home. There was an 'O' group in session as they did their morning exercises and a crossword. Suddenly there was a distraction, a large moth flew into the human circle and all eyes were upon it.

Being something of a lepidopterist on the quiet I stepped forward in order to rescue what I identified as a Lime Hawk Moth, a large and beautiful creature. After a bit of cat and mouse stuff amongst the chairs I had it gently cupped in my hands and I headed for the open window. Much better to take charge and secure a rescue than have somebody squish it, I thought.

Out of the window it went and flew down, skimming the grass as it got its bearings. Enter stage left - two blackbirds swooped into view and a moment later my lovely moth was a mouthful of chick feed. Ah well, I tried.

July 19, 2010

Man Flu

Man Flu! ~A terrible affliction that can strike at any time. I've had a throat thing all weekend and that's enough to have me sat in front of the TV, Sky Plus at the ready and back to back Family Guy.

If you are not familiar with Family Guy then shame on you. It is the finest adult animated show ever and knocks the Simpsons well and truly back into the 20th century. Delightfully non-pc and very funny. Its on BBC3, check it out.


Bloggers everywhere seem to enjoy pressing their musical tastes upon us. I'm not averse to this, far from it. In fact, I've decided to join in. But my music tastes are as wide and diverse so, I'll just post links to three tracks that, for different reasons, make me feel good inside. I hope that you enjoy at least one of them :-)

Finley Quaye Just smooooooth music.

KLF and Tammy Mad but great. They burned £1,000,000 just because they could.

And Here - something from the vaults of one hit wonders but I love it.

July 16, 2010

Melancholic musings

Sorry if this sound a bit gloomy, its just how I feel today and I guess that a blog should be an honest representation of one's moods. I am predisposed to melancholy and that may well be the driving force here but, I don't know what's the matter with me at the moment. I have very little enthusiasm to fish and I'm not very excited by barbel. Trouble is, its not just this season. I felt pretty much this way last summer.

Its not just me either. Last year loads of previously fanatical barbel nuts were telling me that their interest was waning. Just recently Tony Rocca and Conrad Farlow have mentioned a similar phenomenon on their blogs - what is going on?

I have suspected that the barbel boom has come and gone for a while now, quite why, I am not sure but I have a few theories. Maybe I'll leave those for another day. For now, I am trying to summon up enough effort to sort my gear and go down to the river. I should be running down as the river has risen and is coloured which will surely give me a chance of a fish or two.

But instead, I am sitting here with yet another cup of coffee mucking about on my laptop.

Looking back over the season so far I don't think that I have put very much effort into it. Time was I'd have been searching out new swims and working hard to find where the shoals are holding up. But I know the section so well now I know most of the answers already. I know, for example, that if the fish are not feeding in the low conditions then staying late will get me some results. But have I bothered to prove it? No, because I don't need to.

I know that if I want to catch loads of barbel I can do so just by driving downstream to Hereford or Ross. There the shoals are bigger and the fish much, much easier to catch. But again, what does it prove if I go and bag ten or fifteen fish in a session? I can fish harder for two fish in a day here than it would take to land a shed load there so why bother? I could take up one of the kind offers from my angling buddies and go to somewhere like the Trent but it just seems like a lot of effort for a few barbel.

I think I'm just barbelled out at the moment. I wasn't even intending to fish for them until the autumn but with having The Boy home, I've been drawn to the river on his wave of enthusiasm. Trouble is, when I am fishing, I get bored quickly and just mooch about trying for a bite or two. Its not helped that I am again unable to float fish. I had plans to spend much of the summer months up to my nuts in the cool waters of the Wye, trotting a float for everything from dace up to barbel but my bloody tendonitis has returned with a vengeance and I can only manage about thirty minutes before I have to stop. Neil doesn't mind though, he's discovered the joy of my trotting gear and has had a few productive sessions taking numerous chub to four and a half pounds.

I could fish the carp pool but it transpired that the perch I found wasn't the only recent casualty. Several other perch, albeit smaller ones, have died which means that the pool has been suffering due to the heat and low conditions. I cannot find it in me to chase fish that are suffering so have stayed away.

Hey ho. Perhaps it just takes a lucky catch or to spot something special to retrieve my mojo. I hope so and I hope it comes soon. Maybe I just need a couple of bream trips to sort me out.

July 14, 2010

La Belle France

I've done it. I've booked my crossing - Dover to Dunkirk £38 return (how cheap is that?). My lad is taking his own car so that we can carry more gear and just as important, we can go and do our own thing should the urge be felt.

We are leaving on the last few days of September for two weeks and are heading for the south of France and the river Lot.

Neil spent four of the coldest weeks of last winter living in his bivvy whilst doing a work experience on a Kent gravel pit. As you can see, he is made of stern stuff and can do two weeks in a tent without breaking sweat. Me, well I'm getting soft in my old age and the thought of two weeks without a fridge or shower is beyond me. So the plan is to bivvy up and fish my pants off for three or four days then, leaving Neil to it if he wants, I head off to my gite just a few hundred yards away. There I can get myself sorted, relax for a day as necessary, and fish as much as I like. Now that's the sort of roughing it I can handle.

Why the Lot? Well I have been doing my homework on the French rivers as well as the climate. It seems that October is usually warm with low rain fall in that region (fingers crossed but I'll take a coat just in case). The river holds plenty of carp that, according to a mate that's fished there, are obliging and feed during the day. There's also stacks of barbel and, for those night session, bleeding great big catfish. Also, unlike most of France, there are extensive reaches of the river where you can legally night fish.

The preparation is well underway. I've bought us a spod rod each to use on the cats. I know that a shorter uptide job would probably be better but the spod rod will get used on the pits in the future. As well as tackle I've bought some walkie talkies that can be charged up in the car. If you have never used them walkie talkies are a great help when you are fishing with a mate. Phone charges are quite high abroad so there will be no need to make calls or texts and for the drive down, especially around Paris, I think that they will easily pay for themselves.

There is much more to arrange and much more to buy but the plans are well in place. To say that we are both looking forward to it is something of an understatement and I shall no doubt be talking about it more in the future.

July 13, 2010


Well its more a sort of drizzle at the moment but there is a chance of some proper stuff later - just when I've bought a gallon of maggots for me and The Boy to go trotting! I don't mind wasting some bait if we get an inch or two of the wet stuff, the river is in desperate need.

We nipped down for a short evening session yesterday. I started off on the float but the swim I had chosen was much slower than I expected due to the low conditions, and I couldn't get my bait through a dense cloud of minnows and bleak. When I did get a proper bite I was miles away and missed it. So I decided to lob a little boilie out and sit back for a better fish. I couldn't float fish anywhere else as Neil had grabbed my waders and had gone exploring.

I soon had a chub of about 4lbs, followed by a slightly smaller one. I wandered upstream to find The Boy and he was happy rolling a pellet around a narrow, fast pool. He'd also had chub and a 'follow' from a small barbel.

I mover down to 'Naked Dip', so named after yours truly recovered Tommo's snagged fish after stripping off one evening - Mrs Burr was quick with the camera and the resulting shots are ideal for the mantel piece........ if you want to keep the kids away from the fire.

I was using modeling clay for weight again, its so versatile and doesn't scare the fish on the cast. Touch legering (shock horror from Shrek Horak), and felt a slight pull. I hit the next one but missed. If a barbel gives a pull like that I will invariably connect so I reckoned it was chub and gave the next one some line to play with. On its third pull, it took a few inches of line, I struck and again missed. The crafty little buggers don't usually display this amount of caution so early in the season but it is often the way when the river is low for a long period, fish tend to wise up and 'learn' about rigs and baits when they have more time and clear water in which to study them.

I changed my position and cast upstream. Now the fish would feel less resistance when it picked the bait up and within minutes the line slackened, then pulled tight as the fish headed upstream - whack! Another four pounder.

I fiddled with my rig and attached the clay to a loop of line making it free running. I cast again and just as Neil returned to the car, I had a decent pull and a scrappy fish, smaller than the last, came to hand. I say 'hand', as I rarely net chub in swims where I am stood at the water's edge. They come sliding in and are either flicked off the hook or gently lifted and the hook removed. It saves a lot of faffing about and causes the minimal stress to the fish.

So that was that, four chub each and a pleasant little session. But if we get an inch or two of rain in the hills today, tomorrow may see a very different sort of result............ hopefully!

July 11, 2010

There has been a death in the carp pool. A death that is sure to send ripples across its entire three acres as a new order comes to pass.

If I can digress for a moment. I think that every lake I have ever fished has, according to those that run or fish it, contained "monster carp that are rarely seen but never caught", along with "two pound roach and someone once had a perch of three and a half". I have learned to treat these tales with a large pinch of salt, especially the perch stories.

Perch have always been something of a bogey fish for me. I don't think that big perch are particularly hard to catch once located but I have rarely fished genuine 'perch' venues. I once took a ticket for a series of ponds where I was told that two pound perch were common place. One chap suggested that his day's roach fishing was hopeless as he kept on catching two pound perch one after the other. So I tried for myself and failed to catch a single one.

The next autumn I returned to try and rectify the wrong only to be told "Perch? Nah! they've all gone mate". And so it was. They had disappeared as if by magic as is the way with the perch.

On Cheddar reservoir, Chris Newton and I spent many happy days catching loads of perch on big slider floats and paternostered worms - to one pound fourteen ounces. Then, one day Chris took his girlfriend with him and she had a two pound two - just like that.

My biggest perch is a mere two and a half pounds which, although a handsome fish, is small beer in this day and age so, when I took my ticket for the carp pool I was hoping that the reported perch were genuine and that the coming winter may see me upping my pb.

Which brings me back to the start of this post. Neil and I walked around the lake today, scratched and stung as we pushed through the overgrown path. Neil ventured onto one of the old platforms and spotted a dead fish in about four feet of water. Lying belly up we assumed, at first, it was a small carp but I noticed that its pelvic fins were set well forward. A stick was found and a massive perch of well over three pounds came to the surface. Although it was stiff and the colour faded, the eyes were bright and it didn't smell too bad. There were no marks in its mouth so I can only suggest that it died of natural causes. Could it have been old age? Or has the oxygen level dropped causing the pool's largest predator to keel over. This is the way in nature; it is better that the predators die to give the prey fish a chance to continue.

But it must be a major event in a pool like this. That perch must have ruled the roost for years and, in its pomp, would have been a majestic sight. I would love to have met it then.

Are there more like it? Was it the biggest? Will another grow on to replace it? I may have an answer for you later in the year.

July 10, 2010


What is it about sitting in a canoe that makes people think that anglers want to say hello to them?

Why do people on boats think that anglers want to wave to them?

And those middle aged men that ride those novelty bicycles, you know the ones, they either sit low and your legs reach out to pedals out in front of you with a silly flag above you to stop cars squashing you. Or the Molten style folding jobs etc. Why do they always ride them with a self satisfied, smug grin on their faces?

Why do people wave at trains?

Why does nobody smile when the check their receipt at the cash point?

Why do postmen whistle? Is it a requirement or do they get trained?

Why does my wife set the alarm for seven when there's only two of us?

Answers on a postcard......................

July 05, 2010

The Nuts

I arrived at the river at about six or six thirty. My intention was to roam about, paying particular attention to a couple of spots where I had seen fish but which most anglers pass without stopping.

At swim number 1 I tried to bounce a bait between the weedbeds to where the barbel were laying. Unfortunately I soon had an audience of steers that would not take a hint. I tried my usual trick of waving the landing net at them and suggesting that they remove themselves from that particular spot but they kept coming back. In fact, as I sorted some bait, one of them stepped over my cane rod! That was just too much. I leapt up to scare them off but felt a sudden gust of fresh air around my wedding tackle. I had split the crotch of my trousers and, as I was going commando (perfectly legitimate in warm weather, you just have to shake well), there for the world or rather, the cows to see, was my pride and joy.

What an image, me chasing cows, waving a net like a demented lepidopterist with my toggle and two hanging out. I must have looked like a Welshman!

I decided that a move was my best choice.

At the next two swims nothing happened, I was starting to feel that it was going to be one of those trips. But things looked up at my next spot.

I lobbed four or five boilies upstream of a snag and followed up with my bait. The fish in this spot are a bit cute but I think that by using modeling clay as a weight, my cast just sounded like two more boilies hitting the water.

After a few minutes I threw a couple more baits in but as I did so I felt the line tighten and made a mess of the strike. Oh dear, this can be enough to spoil the swim but I persevered and out went another bait. A couple of minutes later I had a strong pull and connected with a heavy weight. It didn't really fight that well but woke up a bit at the net.

As I lifted its head to unhook it I thought it was possibly a scraper double. I rested it in the net where it sat quietly blowing bubbles and decided to go and get my scales so I tucked my todger away at set off. When I had my scales I got her out of the net and realised that there was little weight in her body so, although she had a 'double' head, the rest was a bit of a let down. Not that I was in any way disappointed with a 9.5 and I curse myself that I often have to reduce fish to a weight rather just take the pleasure of the catch.

A very lively chub followed and I'd had enough. I went to see how The Boy was getting on. He'd had a chub of about 5lbs but no barbel. I then tucked a tea towel down my trousers to retain a degree of decency and we went for a pint. Happy days.

July 01, 2010


Have you ever been to Cheddar Gorge? Its a lovely natural phenomenon in Somerset where a glacial cleft has rent through the Mendip Hills leaving shear granite cliffs, the home incidentally, of the Cheddar Pink, a flower that only grows in the special habitat.

I used to drive through the gorge quite often and although there lies within me a strong urge to climb, I never once thought "what I'd like to do today is to climb to the top of that cliff then back down again, sit on an uncomfortable rock for twenty minutes then do the whole thing again and again and.....

Have you ever fished the River Teme? Well the above applies there too. Its bloody knackering!

I fished on Dave Mason's section yesterday. Mase is off to France to catch some big carp so he let me and The Boy have his river - bless him.

So I dropped into swim number one for the day, a perilous decent into the depths of Mother Earth, and put a shaved down boilie and small pva stick out onto the gravel river bed. I then pulled the fish in by tossing pellets to land from a hight causing a 'plopping' sound which the fish associate with food. Sure enough, a few (far less than in years gone by), barbel appeared and after twenty minutes or so I was attached to my first barbel. Its great when a plan comes together.

I extricated myself from the swim, belayed onto a ledge for a rest before mounting the summit, planted a flag and went for a wander to find the next challenge.

It was hot, a sultry, sweaty sort of hot and after a few hours of descend and climb, descend and climb, this old fat bloke was cream crackered. I decided to do the best thing and had a kip in the shade.

I awoke just in time to greet The Boss as she arrived with provisions. A barbie and a coffee put the world to rights and despite aching back and screaming knee, I hobbled off in search of feeding fish. Despite the early success, we found the fish very nervy and not inclined to get their heads down. But I returned to a swim where I had at least seen some fish earlier and dropped my rig a couple of yards out into some very shallow water. I had a running commentary from The Boss who was sat atop the bank.

"There's a barbel in the swim" came a stage whisper. Followed a few minutes later with "Dave, there are six barbel in the swim!"

I had a pull, struck! and my bait, lead and modeling clay backlead all flew past my ear as I made a right hash of it.

"Dave, there are no barbel in the swim" came from behind me. Sarcasm really is the lowest form of wit.

I tried again and just when I thought it was no use, the rod jerked round and I was into another fish. Unfortunately it weeded me, no problem, I have plenty of tricks to get a fish out of weed, and I first tried to bounce it out. If you bounce the rod tip it often brings the fish either through the weed or makes it bolt from it. Today it made the hooklink snap! There must have been something hidden within the weed as I didn't put 10lb of pressure on the link but hey ho, such is fishing.

"Stay away from that weed bed you cad!"

"Oh dear, the line has parted, how unfortunate"

And that was the end of the action. Just one fish to me and one to The Boy. Modest returns for such an arduous adventure. But it is a beautiful place to spend a day, gorgeous in fact (get it?), and despite the aches and pains that always follow, I am looking forward to my next Teme challenge.

Is this you?

If your IP address is - - can I ask you to stop trying to log into the Barbel Society site using my name. I haven't had a password access to the site for over five years so you really are wasting your time.