A total of 10 anglers and 6 mentors attend the September Barbel fish-in on the clubs River Severn stretch at Atcham. The events are aimed at giving river novices the chance to hook into their first barbel and experience the tremendous fight you get in the flow of a river like the Severn. Each novice is allocated a mentor for the day and the pegs at Atcham are allocated to give them the best chance of a barbel. It’s also a great social event allowing club members the chance to meet up and enjoy a chat before the fishing starts.
Ash and I had travelled up the night before and had a decent evening session taking around 10 barbel and chub between us, the best two being 8lb and 7lb on the nose. As predicted at 11pm the fog arrived and there was a noticeable drop in temperature, the fog remained until mid morning and made for some great photo’s rolling across the river until the sun eventually burnt through mid morning.
A few anglers met at the Raven Cafe for a breakfast before arriving at Atcham for 12:30pm. After a brief introduction and demo the barbel hunters made their way to the allocated pegs, the sun was well and truly up by now and the day ahead was going to be a tough one for catching barbel.
The use of the affectionately named ‘Duffers Peg’ was employed once again and was manned by the Barbel Fish-Ins founder ‘Sir’ Cliff (of Atcham) Taylor who proceeded to trickle a pouch full of pellets in every now and again to build the swim up and get the barbel feeding. The plan was to rotate the anglers on an hourly basis to ensure they had a good chance of catching ‘ole whiskers’ from this well known spot.
As before we allocated pegs in the right hand field and everyone set up with much enthusiasms and high spirits for the hours ahead.
The afternoon’s fishing proved hard going and it was looking likely that the barbel had switched off when a shout from midway up the field indicated an angler was in!! I arrived a minute or so later to find Jason grinning from ear to ear and playing a rather enthusiastic Atcham barbel, once landed it was duly weighed and agreed to be 6lb which is just above average for the resident shoal fish.
With renewed enthusiasm we pressed on into the evening and it wasn’t long before Jason’s swim was delivering the goods again, this time his son Harrison was the proud captor.
A couple of swims downstream Mike had his new PB chub under the guidance of mentor Phil Hatton who did the honours with the photography…
As the much awaited darkness arrived the barbel hunters settled in for the evening. Ash and myself tackled up our own rods again as our guests for the day Steve and James had left having thoroughly enjoyed themselves despite the lack of action.
With young Mathew and his dad fishing the next peg upstream I’d decided the next barbel would be theirs and after an hour or so my rod bent over and I was in. Mathew arrived a few seconds later and took over the fight, the look on his face told me he was totally enjoying the moment and it was a real pleasure to see someone so young play his first barbel to the waiting net.
Careful handling of these magnificent species is an integral part of the fish-ins so Mathew was shown the correct way to do it and most importantly of all to rest the fish in the net before releasing them back into the river, this one took a while to recover and seemed quite happy to just hover in the open net taking in oxygen before swimming off down into the streamer weed below us.
As another great day by the river drew to a close the Barbel Fish-Ins proved once again that learning new methods, meeting great people and achieving new goals is all possible in this great club of ours and this band of merry barbel hunters are already planning their next trip.
We’ll certainly be running the fish-ins again in 2013 but if you haven’t managed to make one of this years events and still fancy having a go just get in touch with the fondly named ‘River Rats’ and someone will be more than happy to take you out with them on one of our many fantastic river stretches. Until next time I’ll wish you tight lines and leave you with some photo’s from the day.