Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. 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!


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

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.


  1. Congratulations to you and all your clan on safe arrival of Sarah-Jayne. Love best wishes to you all from the George tribe in mk.

  2. what a plonker. ment to say congrats to you and Sarah-Jayne and clan on new arival of Evelyn Saren Vaughan.