Saturday 5th October 2013, once again saw Lymm AC conduct a barbel ‘teach-in’ on the Lymm stretch of the River Severn at Atcham, an opportunity for people yet to catch the ‘prince of the river’, or ‘novices’ seeking a little extra help, to get some guidance from experienced barbel anglers, in the hope of landing one. I was to join them to cover the day for the club blog.
After a tortuous journey down the A49, encountering traffic jam after traffic jam, I eventually arrived at ‘The Raven’ truck-stop cafe where I was to meet up with Graeme ‘Grazy’ Roberts, Lymm AC’s treasurer, website administrator and anything else that will keep him awake ’til the early hours, for a light lunch, prior to carrying on to the river. The light lunch consisted of two fried eggs, three rashers of thick cut bacon, two sausages, fried bread, tomatoes, beans, black pudding, mushrooms, hash browns, bread and butter and a large mug of tea!
Somehow, I managed to drag myself out of the cafe and followed Graeme down to the car park at Atcham where the anglers taking part had gathered. Unbelievably, we were
greeted by temperatures of almost 70° and glorious sunshine, with ‘cotton wool’ clouds scudding across the azure Shropshire sky, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was July, not October!
First inspection of the river was promising, it had been low and clear most of the season, but the recent rains had put a tinge of colour in it and it was up by about 12 to 18 inches, which bode well for the fishing. There were around16 anglers taking part (and forgive me if I don’t name each one as I didn’t take notes as I was introduced to everyone) with a few anglers present yet to catch a barbel, including Steve (steveo) and James, some of the others
present were organiser Phil Hatton, Bill, Pete, Dave, Cliff, Graeme (Grazy), Graeme Barnett, Mathew, myself (not fishing) plus the Barbel Society representatives, with Head Bailiff, Ash, arriving later on.
For this ‘fish-in’ we had been joined by Bobby Baker of the Barbel Society together with two others, they were attending following the recent affiliation between Lymm AC and the Society which benefited members of either by offering reciprocal discounts of each membership scheme.
During the early afternoon, we wandered about the river talking to the anglers and watched the numerous groups of canoeists go by, but we returned to the cars for a while.
Once there, we were soon treated to a very special moment as a local falconer (I think its the same title for hawks!) appeared in company with a very handsome Harris Hawk. The hawk was sat in the nearby trees watching us all, so after a brief chat with the falconer, it was agreed that Grazy could don the leather gauntlet for a few shots with the hawk (I’ve resisted all temptation to say he pulled a bird!) The next ten minutes or so were spent with the hawk flying back and to from the glove for ‘titbits’ of food allowing us to get some lovely pictures. To be up so close to such a magnificent creature was marvellous.
By mid afternoon, most were settled into their respective swims and fishing, with a ‘gathering’ planned back at the cars around 6pm for a chat and a brew. The river, and this stretch in particular, had been kind to many this season, myself included, but despite conditions looking spot-on, she was sulking and wasn’t offering up her prizes so easily today, the only hope was that she may be a little more benevolent come dusk and the ensuing darkness.
Darkness didn’t bring the flurry of activity we had all hoped for, but it did bring a first barbel of around four and a half pounds to ‘Steveo’ making him a very happy angler. Phil Hatton managed a chub of 4lb and Ash did a double of chub and barbel within seconds of each other. So the fishing wasn’t as hoped for, but it was day full of banter, cholesterol and the odd surprise, but more importantly it was a demonstration of how a group of like minded people, kindred spirits, can enjoy themselves merely because of the company and despite the lack of action. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I’m sure did the others.
The barbel teach-in is one of many such days held by Lymm AC, if you would like to be a part of one, why not join us? See our website www.lymmanglersclub.com for details of how to join, with some very tempting deals including the amazingly valued river and canal membership, plus of course the great deal on Barbel Society membership. We look forward to hearing from you!