Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Monday, 29 July 2013

Anguilla anguilla - bloody eels!

Benno, Luke and I were back on the river for another session (19.30 - 23.00hrs) on Sunday. The weather was a great deal more pleasant than the previous day and, despite the heavy rain, the water clarity had already returned.
Un-surprisingly, I was back in the swim where I'd taken my first R.Stour barbel from, Benno and Luke had set up in a couple of very "fishy-looking" swims - complete with overhanging trees and weed rafts.The net result of all this effort was zilch! They experienced a few knocks; I endured a session of rod wrenching eel aggro. I landed one and bumped a couple of others - they are unable to get the hair rigged 18mm pellet and the hook into their mouths. The bite is simply the eel hanging on to the pellet and engaging reverse swimming mode; something they are able to do with ease. Still; if it was easy, it wouldn't have taken me so long to get my first fish?


I left the gear in the car overnight, it was around mid-night when I got home and I didn't want to disturb the neighbours, so I unloaded it this morning. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a Forest Bug (Pentatoma rufipes) had stowed away and was wandering about on my un-hooking mat. As is my habit, I grabbed the camera and took a few shots as it was released onto one of our window boxes.
 

As a parting comment, and warning, to anyone out there who reads this stuff and is tempted to follow my lead - don't buy a Barbus Severn Landing Net from Dragoncarp Direct! I don't know why I'm surprised that this £9.99 item is so unsuited to purpose. I suppose it's due to my support for the guys who are doing a great job in the Ramsgate branch. However, this particular item of merchandise is crap! You would be just as well using a tennis racket - at best this barbel landing net is a fancy commercial carp scoop, as a barbel net it is a joke! Sorry guys, I can't find a single thing that is good about it! The Matt Haye's centrepins, assorted pellets and flavours, rod rests and so much more - absolutely first class; this landing net? A mistake I won't make again.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Off the mark

An evening session on the R. Stour coincided with an electrical storm and accompanying rainfall. Benno and Luke (who'd been fishing all day) packed it in, leaving me to brave the elements on my own.
The chosen swim was one where I'd seen barbel in the previous weeks, but had been unable to do anything about it due to work/time restraints. I got set up in heavy rain; I had an umbrella with me for the first time since Feb 2012! I went through the usual routine of laying down a carpet of 4,6 & 8mm pellets, using pva bags and a bait dropper. My confidence being 100% with this approach. A Wood Mouse kept me company, for a while, as it devoured a few spilled pellets - this photo is with my 18-55mm lens; so it was very close!


Eels were, once again, a major headache - rod wrenching pulls on the 18mm hookbait resulting in nothing. Every now and again, one would hang on long enough to give a few tell tale thumps on the rod before letting go of the pellet. I had used up most of my pva bags and was in the early stages of packing up when the alarm sounded (again) and I hit a fish which wasn't particularly amused. At long last, my first R. Stour barbel - on one of my 1.75lbs t.c, 12ft "Specialist Barbel" rods fitted with a Cardinal 66x reel - the same kit as I'd used in the R. Severn. I was a fantastic experience, quickly shared with Benno as soon as I had it safely in the folds of my landing net.
 
It's been a long time coming - my first barbel from the R. Stour

At 7lbs 14oz, it isn't a monster, but it is a fish that should aid my confidence and help in my quest for a PB from this water. Being on my own, the photos were never destined to be much better than record shots; the usual routine of a fish laid on my sling with a rod & reel for comparison.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I won't get many days to match this one!

It has taken a long time, in the planning; today has been a memorable one - no mistake! It started with me driving across to Ash to pick up my nephew, Josh. Dad had already left and Tim & Luke had to be at Prince's GC for 10.00hrs. Josh and I returned to Dumpton where we rendezvoused with Sye & Yve before heading over to Capel-le-Ferne, nr Folkestone. The purpose of this mission was to intercept Dad as he passed overhead in a helicopter accompanied by a Spitfire (his birthday present from us boys)


Mobile phone technology proved to be up to the task, despite the French interference, and we were at the Battle of Britain Memorial site in plenty of time. A pair of Ravens flew along the cliffs giving me the best views I've ever had in Kent. This, however, was just the warm-up act for the real deal!

Spitfire Mk Vb - BM597


Dad had lifted off from Lydd Airport at 09.45hrs, in order to meet up with the Spitfire above the Capel-le-Ferne memorial site. We were in pole position as the planes passed overhead; what a pity that the "sea fret" was rolling in. Dad has described the experience as "one of the most thrilling of his life" - so that'll do for us.


A superbly poignant sculpture - a lone airman looking out across the English Channel.
It forms the centre-piece of a propeller that is best viewed from the air - hence the start of Dad's Spitfire experience.
It took a lot of faffing about but, eventually, Dad (& Brian, his mate and taxi driver), Tim, Josh, Sye & Yve, Bev and I were all together at the Battle of Britain Memorial site - joined by Benno who was on his break? Part one of our day was completed - on with part two!!!



My eldest nephew, Luke, was playing in the "Junior Open" on The Prince's Course at Sandwich Bay. He'd teed off around 11.00hrs; so wasn't due back into the clubhouse until 15.30hrs (a bloody long time when you're only 12) We got back in time to see him complete the final six holes. I have to admit to being extremely proud of him, although his round wasn't one of his best. He is a "county" player for Hertfordshire, based at Redbourn GC (the village where I spent 8 happy years in the employment of Brooke Bond Oxo) I think that he enjoyed himself? Yet for one who is so competitive, nothing short of perfection will do - he'll learn (I hope)
There will be very few days that will ever compare with this one - of that I'm sure.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Mixed blessings?

I don't suppose that the Thanet farming community could believe their luck when, overnight, we had some rain. The cauli's and cabbages, that have recently been planted looked like they were destined for failure - the fields being more like the Sahara than "The Garden of England".
When I say rain; that's exactly what we had - a light, yet decent, precipitation. I wandered off to work, getting rather damp in the process - I had a padded shirt to combat the conditions. The day progressed, as I toiled away inside the Fujifilm digital ink manufacturing plant, as protected from the elements as any individual could wish for. My main break coincided with a cloudburst of biblical proportions - it was like God wanted to give me a "jet-wash". I only went across to Crustie's for an egg & bacon roll!
This was to continue, on and off, for a couple of hours - the factory guttering proving completely inadequate under the deluge - water surging off the acres of roofing in huge swathes; quite a spectacle!
The view from our kitchen door - Wood Pigeons descending on the flattened winter wheat.
They say that every cloud has a silver lining - well it seems to be true if you are a Woodie on Thanet!
Now; whilst the, recently planted, brassica crop may have been given a huge boost, the winter cereals have taken a massive battering. The field beyond our garden hedge is planted with winter wheat; this single day's rain has layed huge areas, resulting in an influx of Wood Pigeons that have descended on these flattened areas to reap the rewards.

Male Gatekeeper in the front garden - resting on mature bramble leaves!
It speaks volumes of my gardening prowess - who gives a f**k?
Butterflies seem to be on the up, locally, with three Painted Lady, 1 Essex Skipper, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Marbled White, 1 Red Admiral, plus numerous "whites" , Commas, and Gatekeepers, being seen on my walk home at 14.00hrs today.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

It's getting personal

My quest for a barbel from the Kentish R. Stour continues; I've spent quite a while recently, on the bank with very mixed results. Last Tuesday, after my shift ended (22.00hrs), I spent the entire night getting hammered by eels! Friday morning saw me return, starting at 03.30hrs - I blanked! Saturday evening was spent in the company of Benno and Cliff (Bunny) Bunyon, who'd taken a 12lbs 3oz barbel from the R. Lodden during the week!


 
No; I didn't get my fish, but at least I didn't blank (& I didn't experience eel aggrovation) - I took a small chub, whilst Benno blanked and Bunny enjoyed the fun-packed eel action that I'd endured earlier in the week - in an adjacent swim.

Emily happily posing with an Elephant Hawk-moth

Emily had stayed overnight on Friday, so was on hand to assist when I emptied the moth trap. As a "terrible two" - she showed a great interest in the contents and was happy to pose with a smart Elephant Hawk-moth. She is showing all the signs of becoming a willing recruit to the wonders of our natural world?

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Those little things!

As I fumble along, lifes' pathway, I find myself increasingly in awe of the variety of life that shares my space. My ability to use a camera has, for much of my lifetime, aided my cause by recording the events as they happened. In the early days (1970's-80's) Kodak played a significant role in my life - I worked for them! I had, at my disposal, some of the finest advice available on the "art of photography" - a profession which took a seven year apprenticeship to become fully qualified.
If only they had taken the threat of digital technology seriously; they would still be a "Global" player.
Hey-ho! They didn't and they aren't. Digital technology has spawned a whole new generation of "photographers" who, armed with their computer operated equipment, record images of stunning clarity and composition. Quite how much credit is due to the technology is unknown - but there's no seven year apprenticeship to become a master of photoshop! The clock will never tock - tick backwards and the advances in image capture will continue apace. I see that Nokia will be selling a phone with a 41 mega pixel sensor - my Canon 400d is 10.1 mega pixel.

A Hoverfly sp. in Sye & Yve's back garden. (Sunday morning)
So I now find myself in a position where I am unsure if the individual, or the technology, is the master of the situation? I read photo-bloggers complaining about the quality of their images. What?
Two years ago they were still digi-scoping! It is a crazy world and the speed of technological advance is unlikely to slow down. Anyone who has the funds and desire to chase these advances will be at the forefront of digital image capture - me? I happily plodding along at the back of the queue. A good camera doesn't suddenly become a bad one when new advances are marketed - it just becomes less fashionable (very much like me!)

A Thick-headed Fly - Sicus ferrugineus - in our garden on Monday
This is not a moan, just a simple observation about the times in which we live. Some of the images that are to be found are now so "photo shopped" that the subjects look like they have been rolled in sugar! I would think that mine, by comparison, look like I've a lemonade bottle as a lens! The thing with this blogging lark is it doesn't matter. My blog, my images (good, bad or indifferent) are placed into cyber space purely for my own reasons. If others are able to find entertainment from my postings, then so much the better.

A Hoverfly sp. - a Sphaerophoria sp. (probably scripta) in the garden this morning

I've accompanied this nonsense with some images from the past four days - using the 170 - 500mm with my extension tubes to capture some of the insects which have crossed my path. Certainly not the best efforts available on the network - yet plenty good enough for a simple blog?

Monday, 15 July 2013

A weekend family gathering.

On Saturday afternoon the family, along with friends, colleagues and former pupils, assembled in the tiny church of St. John the Evangelist, Bourne End, HERTS. to hold a memorial service for mum. It wasn't a sombre occasion, just a celebration of her life and a chance to remember her influence in the town that she and dad had called home for nearly 40 years.


 
It was conducted by a family friend, Steven Fletcher, who is a "reader - in training" so something that mum would have very much approved. Rosie Sanghera gave a nice insight into the early days at St. Faith's - the school that she had co-founded along with dad, her sister Betty and niece Jacqui. It was a nice tribute in a wonderful setting - many thanks to all who made the effort to attend. That Emma Ainsley had, once again, offered herself to play the organ is a fitting endorsement to the part that St. Faith's has played in shaping the fortunes of so many of its' former pupils. There is a school reunion in October - I might be tempted to attend, it's been a long time since I've been called "sir"


Bev and I stayed with Sye and Yve, in Aston Clinton, enjoying a very pleasant evening barbecue in their garden. Red Kites are a regular sight as they sweep over the village searching the gardens for scraps. Common Buzzards and Sparrowhawks were also noted as I kept the camera close to hand. Butterflies were very obvious, in comparison to our Kent garden, with Ringlet, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Small Skipper all being firsts for me this year.




On Sunday morning, we took a slow stroll along the Wendover Arm of the GUC where more of the same were recorded. Emperor and Brown Hawker dragonflies were added to the list, whilst woodland birds included Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Coal Tit.


I managed to get a shot of a Large Red Damselfly, for the first time, when I found one in path side rushes. Further investigation revealed several individuals to be present. If I'd had more time then I'm sure I would have been able to improve on my efforts, but we had a luncheon engagement in the White Horse at Bourne End, so I had to cut my visit short in order to arrive on time.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Thinking (about) tackle

I don't know, and have never met, Danny Fairbrass, but have enjoyed, immensely, his underwater "Thinking Tackle" DVDs produced under the Diawa umbrella - by Korda fishing tackle. From very primitive beginnings, the quality and content of these offerings has blown the lid off of many of the preconceptions about "best rigs" and buoyant baits. I found them to be both fascinating and educational; and I'm not a carp angler (the market to which the productions were aimed)


A selection of the bits and bobs that now form my barbel tackle.
The selection of leads are: No.1 - 2oz gripper, No. 2 - 1.5oz textured gripper, No.3 - 1.5oz flat pear
No.4 - 1oz dumpy pear & No.5 - a 1990's 1.5oz "distance" zip lead
What comes across, most clearly, is Danny's meticulous approach and his attention to detail - never happy with "well that'll do!"
The lessons to be learnt can be carried over to many other aspects of non-predatory species angling. I am striving to get to grips with the barbel of the R. Stour and every outing, barbeless as they might be, have the ability to add to my experience and eventual success. I can read books, watch DVDs and chat with as many anglers as I can find to converse with - it will not "make" a barbel take my bait. Hours on the bank, fishing in the right areas, is the only way that I will be able to make my dream become a reality.

I am not sure that this image actually does what I'd hoped?
It shows a version of the "knotless knot" where the hair is angled away
from the hook by the use of three extra turns along from where the hair leaves the shank .
I saw this on a "Thinking Tackle" DVD and have used it ever since - it certainly produces
 a very aggressive angle on the hook, without the need for rig-tube.
Almost all of my waking hours are spent with R. Stour barbel somewhere in my consciousness. Am I using the right hook?, is the bait big enough?, will my Duncan Kay cope? - it goes on and on!
I'm back tomorrow, for another evening session - who know's? The weekend will see no further angling as the family gather in Hemel Hemptsead for a memorial service for mum.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I'll stick at it for as long as it takes!

Back down to the river this evening - barbel being the objective. I have been in regular contact with Benno and Simon, discussing many aspects of our approach and the best hook bait size. I have tweaked my rigs and changed my centrepins for fixed spools. 12lbs b.s. line, 2oz "gripper" leads and size 10 wide gape Korda carp hooks. (I'll be changing these before my next session - they are too small!)
Around 3lbs 14oz - this little chap effectively ruined my chances of a barbel.
My ABU Cardinal 155 is purely for decoration - fish layed on the floor are generally rather boring subjects.
I now have a set-up with which I am 100% confident; in as much as I'm sure that it will handle any barbel that swims in the River Stour. My bait choice is to go large, in order to prevent eels from being a problem (not working - I had an eel of 2lbs-ish tonight) and thus remain intact long enough for the barbel to find it. I hadn't counted on the ability of chub to take large baits. As it got dark, my rod was wrenched around and I found myself attached to a spirited fish. My plan, to "hit and hold", worked perfectly but, as the chub weighed less than 4lbs, the commotion caused as it crashed around on the surface effectively finished my swim for a while - so I packed up and came home.
I could have stayed on but, with work at 05.00hrs, I decided that I'd had enough for one night. I'll be back soon; there is unfinished business to attend to.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Enjoying the sunshine - Bryn and Emily style!

There was no way that Bev was going to let Sunday pass by without getting her chance to "cuddle and coo" with the latest addition to the gang. So, with Emily as company, we headed across to Goodnestone for a few hours of Nanny bonding.


Bryn and Emily were quite happy to do their own thing, whilst Evelyn Seren took centre stage. A paddling pool, a sprinkler and the imagination of a child - happy days! I clicked away merrily as the pair charged around the garden - wonderful images of blissful innocence and simple pleasures.





Saturday, 6 July 2013

Scamping again

Bev came back from Cornwall today, she's been on holiday with her parents and brother for the past week; hence Benno and I getting so much fishing in! After his success of yesterday, Benno had some work this morning and I decided that a session on Scroggin's Lake, Marshside, would be the best way of wasting my time whilst awaiting the call to collect Bev from Herne Bay. With the benefit of hindsight, Long Shaw Farm would have been a better bet - at least I'd be in with a realistic chance of a few doubles.
A chunky little fish - very different in shape from the strain present in Long Shaw Farm
I took about a dozen carp, all but one off the top, loosing another six or seven - so it was certainly a lively session. The best fish weighed 8lbs 9oz and put up a splendid fight on my Tring Tench Special and Matt Hayes centrepin, the smallest five probably wouldn't have weighed as much as Benno's barbel! - still it was very enjoyable in the blazing sunshine. Benno is still "buzzing"; he finished work, had some breakfast then went on the lash (so very child-ish?) - I will wait and see what my reaction is if/when I get a fish from the river. My guess is that it will be very similar, except I'll miss out the work and breakfast bit!

Barbel gold!

Benno and I had a short session on the R. Stour, Friday evening, we fished from 21.30 - 23.00hrs, effectively fishing into darkness. We had a hunch that the secretive barbel would move away from their daytime hideouts and feed on the gravel runs, between the rapidly growing ranunculus weed beds.
What a way to smash your PB - from 6lbs 14oz to 11lbs 6oz in one step!
My only action came courtesy of an eel! Benno hit the jackpot with a barbel of 11lbs 6oz. Just as when he landed his first twenty pound pike, I was waiting with the landing net and, as such, shared in the moment. It's been a long time coming but, at last we might be beginning to unravel some of the puzzle that is the barbel of the Kentish Stour?
Benno was shaking like a leaf - adrenaline does that!
I rang my brother, Simon, who was as excited as we were - back home for mid-night; I cracked open a cold one
It was a fantastic moment, putting the net under this fish for my son.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Severn Valley Railway

As Benno and I were sat on the banks of the River Severn, there was a lot of activity along the adjacent railway line. As it turns out, this is a heritage railway - a sixteen mile stretch of track which operates as a viable transport link and a huge tourist attraction.
I know even less about steam locomotives than I do about planes, so all the info I have has been gleaned from the Internet. The sight of a steam train conjours memories of my youngest days when, sitting at the window of my Grandparents, I watched the steam locos coming and going from Clapham Junction (the busiest station in the world at that time). They lived in a four storey "town house" on Strathblane Road, Battersea and looked down into the cutting where, many years later, the Clapham rail crash occurred. The sounds and unique smell of these magnificent machines is capable of giving each locomotive an individual personality - so unlike the efficient, but soulless, engines which work the mainline routes today.


5164 - a 2 - 6 - 2T 51xx Class built in 1930


5643 - a 0 - 6 - 2T 56xx Class built in 1925

7812 Erlestoke Manor - a 4 - 6 - 0 78xx Manor Class built in 1939
The magnificent 34053 "Sir Keith Park" -  a 4 - 6 - 2 Battle of Britain Class built in 1947

                                                                                                                                                                         I apologise for the images being very samey - I only had one gap in the trees which allowed me to get my photos. Not why we travelled all the way to Bridgenorth, but a very pleasant distraction from the rods.





Tuesday, 2 July 2013

"Scamping it up"

The arrival of Evelyn Seren has proved to be a timely distraction - Benno and I deciding that a day off would be an excellent way of welcoming our latest addition to the family. With Sarah and her mum (my ex) in full control, over at QEQM, Benno and I decided that another new venue would be the place to waste a few hours before we paid homage to the newest member of our mob.

 
The venue was Marshside Fishery - neither of us had ever been there previously; Scroggins Lake being the choice. It is an intimate and picturesque venue, full of scamps!

It almost looks like I know what I'm doing!
1980's bedchair (Preston Innovations leg extensions) and Tring Tench swingers
Peg 36 if anyone is interested?
We had been fooled into thinking we'd be in with a chance of some decent fish - the power of the internet? The reality is a carp puddle full of small fish. It isn't an issue - we had a cracking afternoon.
I went equipted with two Duncan Kay's and two Shimano 5000 Speed Master Custom SM reels - fully spooled with 12lbs b.s. mono. To say I was over gunned is an understatement - it was like Man Utd v's Margate. I'll know better next time - it was still great fun, I took five small carp - the best one going 7lbs 9oz (the same weight as the barbel that I'd so enjoyed the previous day!)


A pleasing encounter with a lively scamp!
I'm always happy to get a result on a new venue.

Icing on the cake!

Benno and I have just got back from a two day session on the "mighty" River Severn at Hampton Lode. It is a day ticket fishery controlled by the Kinver Freeliners AC; Benno had told me of a plan - little did I (or Bev) realise that it involved a five hour drive to the Welsh borders!
I hadn't done battle with a barbel since September 1985, although I have made a few
Not only did we enjoy the splendid hospitality of the Kinver Freeliners AC - we were able to
pay our fees to a celebrity - Matt Hayes dad is one of the bailiffs
His spelling is about as good as the advice he gave Benno - another story and not mine to tell!
attempts to rectify the situation by fishing the Kentish R. Stour - it's an ongoing project! To be fair to Ben, there is no way he could have known that our trip coincided with the busiest weekend of 2013 in Bridgenorth. Not only did they have their annual "40's weekend bash" but had also decided to stage their carnival - so we couldn't find a B&B within 20 miles!! We ended up sleeping in the van - Benno is not a lot of cop if he doesn't get a decent kip.

Our first Barbel from The R. Severn - modest, but very welcome!
We drove up on Saturday, arriving in Bridgenorth mid-carnival; absolute chaos - we spent nearly four hour establishing that there were no B&B vacancies before we drove around to the fishery. We managed a short session on the Saturday evening (you still pay the full day ticket price - £5.00), Benno had a couple of small Barbel; plus missing an absolute screamer?
I "blanked" (as usual) - nothing more than a few "liners" caused by floating weed hitting the line and "pinging free"?  It's strange how much more you can read into a movement of the rod tip when  desperate for a bite!
5lbs 14oz of River Severn excitement.
With this array of fins, and the streamlined body, is it any wonder that they fight so hard?
The "Grice & Young" Avon Royale centrepin is purely for decoration - this fish came on a bait-runner!
Benno was two up after our first evening - it could have been far worse. I had started my attempts using two 1.75lb T/C "Specialist Barbel" rods fitted with my Matt Hayes centrepins. I have removed the line guards, which allows me to "Wallis" cast, but couldn't get the distance I required on this particular stretch. Time for a rethink.
My swim, on the first evening, with my rods mounted on a single rod-rest fitted with a buzzer bar and two Optonics.
It is not too far removed from the techniques used by the sea anglers who fish Deal Pier.
I swapped the centrepins for my two ABU Cardinal 66X's. This would allow me to fish at the range Benno had shown to be required. We had a massive amount of bait with us; choice wasn't an issue. We used 4oz cage feeders with plugs of glugged up method mix ground bait and mixed pellets. Even with 4oz of lead it was possible for the flow to bump the feeder along the riverbed if a strand of weed became entangled on the line. What would it be like if the river was in flood?

A male Banded Demoiselle enjoying the sunshine
I got back to the river for 04.00hrs, on Sunday morning, Benno still in the land of nod. With the benefit of hind sight, I shouldn't have bothered. There was a 16 peg match arranged, for the top section of the fishery, so fishing was restricted to two rather small meadows where the banks did nothing to assist casting; being very steep and tree lined. I got distracted by the local wildlife and, to be honest, didn't really give it my best shot. Benno joined me, but it was a half-hearted affair, a few "knocks" but no fish. Distractions were plentiful; the 40's weekend event had four Steam Locomotives plying their trade along the adjacent railway line - magnificent! (It will be another post?) I watched a flock of 17 Ravens, family groups, "playing" in the up-draft above the wooded hillside behind me. Common Buzzards, a couple of Dippers, a female Goosander, a Hobby and more warblers and hirundines than I've seen all year were all providing the "quality" that the fishing lacked.
Benno didn't take much persuading to pack it in and adjourn to the "River & Rail" for lunch - superb food and venue; highly recommended if you are ever in the vicinity.
A power nap, in the van, then back to the river - match over, we were able to get back to the swim where Benno had taken his fish on the previous evening. We were 100% confident with our methods and tackle, yet it still required the fish to give their seal of approval. As the clock ticked on I have to admit that I was beginning to doubt our approach.

Not much to look at? It was a magical experience - 28 years since my last one!
A sudden dip on the rod tip and I was into my first Barbel since 1985! At 4lbs-ish it wasn't going to send shock waves around the angling world - you won't understand how much pleasure it gave me; Benno on net duty just adding to the moment.
We were now almost 24hrs into the session and felt confident that more fish would be taken, as dusk approached. I switched to a single rod, my downstream efforts being hampered by some hefty snags. I felt it would be prudent to concentrate on a single rod. It wasn't long before the rod tip slammed over and I was into fish number two. A magnificent battle ensued before I was able to draw a chunky fish into the waiting net, Benno once again on hand.

7lbs 9oz of hard fighting River Severn Barbel - happy days!
It weighed in at 7lbs 9oz - I was made up; everything I had hoped for had now come to fruition. I told Benno that he could have the entire swim. He refused, saying that he was confident that he had put enough bait out to produce a fish - and he did! At around 4-5lbs, it wasn't what he'd hoped for, yet another Barbel it was.

Our final fish of the session - 4lbs-ish
Was it worth the effort? Benno and I will both say a resounding "YES"
Sure; we could have gone to another venue and caught more/bigger fish.
Would we have learnt any more? I doubt it.
We returned home very happy with our efforts.
We fished until 22.00hrs without further incident and then embarked on our drive back home - little knowing what drama was unfolding as we made our way back down the M40!


Evelyn Seren Vaughan - 01.07.2013
Welcome to our family.

Sarah-Jayne, my daughter, thus Benno's sister, had gone into labour and at 02.30hrs (just as we were getting back home) gave birth to the latest edition to the clan. Does it get any better? Icing on the cake indeed.