Friday, 3 February 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Astral Projection & Barbel Predilection

Prior to this fishing trip I’d spent a couple of days stuck in front of the CAD screen creating a fully parametric model for an aluminium armature that holds an automotive interior clay model stable so the mud monkeys can get carving.

Ok not the hardest of jobs if you know what you are doing but I needed to get my head down and just get on with it, it didn't help I was carrying the lurgy that was going through the Newey household but come on man up Mick….

It's my bread and butter after all.

You see for long stints stuck behind the computer you really need to ‘zone out’ so with my bluetooth headphones donned, mixcloud app open I’d been listening to some outstanding ambient soundscape, downtempo psychedelic and goa trance mixes from uploaders such as Allix and Terrahertz.

Having dabbled in making and playing electronic music in the past I appreciate the skills of other and a couple of these mixes gave me a proper out of body experience such the detachment I was in. Astral Projection if you will.

The headphones (Plantronics BackBeat Pro’s) help as apart from having large fully ear encompassing drivers and a battery that lasts ages they were also noise cancelling so the studios bluetooth speaker and all manner of music on the varying playlist couldn’t be heard.

Now when it comes to my fishing, the reason why I enjoy my session out is that I don’t think about anything when I go. It’s hard to describe to those that don’t get the same out of it like I do but it gives my mind a much needed rest and to be honest if I didn’t get my weekly fishing fix I’d struggle with the daily grind that comes with a busy family life and being the breadwinner and fridge filler.

Weirdly though sat behind ones rods when Barbel fishing which I tend to do I find it difficult to get in to my usual state of mind, I have all manner of things going round ones head, and I don’t particularly enjoy it.

Maybe that’s why it hasn’t featured much in my fishing this season as having a Barbel on the end of one’s line is something that I’d never tire of. The Warwickshire Avon holds some big fish too, fish that I’d certainly like to catch as I’m confident my summer caught fish and PB of 11lb 11oz’s is easily beatable.

I just need to target them in anger again as I’ve done before….

I’d rather a fish from lesser-known areas too, and for next season I’m probably going to re join a stretch that gave me the incentive to give them a proper go.

I had spotted a huge Barbel you see that swam out from the cover of an overhanging tree that was obviously disturbed when I was landing a Chub. What really stuck in my mind though was this fish showed itself to me in all its visual glory, hey look at me and leisurely meandered up river to get amongst some thick streamer weed with seemingly not a care in the world. A bit like Kelly Brook with a gaping cleavage at the TV awards, hey, look at these, it was so, so brazen like it wanted to be seen.

HOLY SH*T, I NEED to catch that and I devised the Gluttonous Poka-Yoke Rig specifically for the task.

One of the most memorable sessions was well over a year ago now and I still remember it really well as the fight was so savage and powerful, a proper two handed jobbie to try and stop the fish getting in the bullrushes downstream but I was disappointed that the fish when eventually landed wasn’t the fish I’d seen, which was a scale up again.

Another trip, again, a nice Barbel, but not the ‘one’

So the 3rd of February 2017 you wouldn’t think I’d be targeting Barbel but with the rivers up after a decent dump of rain for this short afternoon session that’s exactly what I was doing. It had been rather mild you see so rather than a lump of cheese paste in some slacks for Chub it was out with the smelly baits for Mr Barbus.

I’m sure they would be up for feeding….

On this different stretch from where the big'un I'd seen lurks there are fish in numbers and some bigger fish amongst them, they don’t appear to be that localised so you can catch Barbel from most of the pegs along nearly half of the stretch but with the river up there was a specific area I wanted to target as I knew there would be some fishable swims that I could position a couple of smelly baits that would hopefully be intercepted.

No need for the Poka-Yoke Rig for this session just some nice pungent boilies and pre glugged sausage sizzle squabs, and for added attraction from time to time wrapped in stinky paste. I still felt pretty run down so I was looking forward to some fresh air and some rest.

Sit back, headphones on, and wait….

Now the rods had been out for 20 minutes and I spotted Dave crossing the meadow and he was after Zander but one look at the river which was running at some pace and a milky colour maybe Barbel was the better option after all. Anyway after a quick natter he headed upstream to position some baits in an area of slack water.

After a couple of hours with a couple of Chub pulls I decided to move to a swim further down the stretch which had a nice snag to the left and and an area that is a little gap between some streamer weed. In the coloured water you wouldn't know it was there.

Cast out, feel the lead bump a nice bottom and then leave it.

Another half an hour or so went and I noticed Dave again I upticks and was heading to my direction. Biteless so he settled in a swim just up from where I started. To be fair about the best bit of slack water on the whole stretch we were fishing.

Not long after Dave leaves my right hand rod goes riverward and the tip starts to bounce. A fish was on. It felt decent too and gave a couple of satisfying lunges.

A nice Barbel surfaced and was eventually netted. The cold weather meant it didn't fight as well as I know they can, be after resting it in the net and ringing Dave to photograph the fish when we got it on the mat it was bigger than I thought it was. It's length and width a bit deceptive when it was landed.

A mint condition Warwickshire Avon Barbel of 9lb 12oz's

Half an hour past without a bite I decided to pack up and say my goodbyes to Dave and get on my way, the weather was on the turn, the wind was picking up and the rain starting.

Dave had modified his Zander rigs and now had two rods with meat on and as I was chatting to him there were indications on both rods. I thought Chub at first but the the right hand rod goes mental and he has struck in to a decent fish.

The Barbel were on the feed that's for sure.

Another lovely Warwickshire Avon Barbel of 8lb 10oz's. Now with that capture I set-up my rods again but after 20 minutes with the rain getting heavier I packed up again and parted company for the second time with Dave going to sit it out for another 20 minutes.

Well worth the trip out with both fish in stunning condition. Nothing like a good Barbel, is there....


  1. Nice double act again! A bit of rain and colour makes all the difference.

  2. Does seem that way. To be honest makes a change from mediocre fishing. Back in the morning hopefully.

  3. We all love a good Barbel, especially when they are that size, it seems they are switching on big time around the country! Nice one!

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