What's it all about? For a couple of years, now, I've been toying with the idea of tidal river barbel. As far as I'm aware they have not been captured in this section of the Stour? So the one big question is "are they present?" The thinking behind this quest is based upon very sound reasoning. Barbel, including some very big barbel, are to be found in the tidal reaches of the Trent, Severn and Thames, so why not in the Kentish Stour? If Benno and I don't try, we'll never know. Failure won't mean anything more than our efforts were not good enough, certainly no way are we that arrogant to think that the barbel aren't present just because we can't catch one. You only have to go back to our 2013 campaign to see how much we struggled to get a grasp of the barbel conundrum in the, non tidal, Canterbury stretch of this wonderful Kent river. No, this is a leap of faith, and the outcome might not be as we expect? There are some very large carp swimming around in these same waters, and chub, even decent bream, so we might just find ourselves taken off at tangents, results dictating where we focus our effort.
The drains are still there, waiting, should I need a carp fix, plus my syndicate fishery will start to quieten down as the members have their fill, so the eels remain, very much, on the radar. Due to the furlough rules, I'm not allowed back on site, at Fuji, for three weeks; whoopee do! As things stand, it seems I've been given the best chance of exploiting the unknown potential of this wonderful river due to the ridiculous fall out caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. I'll take it all day long. Getting full salary to sit behind a fishing rod - you couldn't make it up? In the back of my mind, I still hanker after wild carp and one out of the tidal Stour would certainly fit the bill. So I'm going into this particular project with a very open view as to what I will call success. As when we tackled the Canterbury section, it will be one rod each. Under no circumstances do we want the self inflicted pain of losing a fish due to it picking up another line.
Rigs, bait and tackle? I'll have to see how it pans out. Where? You'll wait an awful long time for me to disclose such information. It was seven years before I even mentioned Willow Close, and that was the worst kept secret in Kent barbel fishing. Out of respect for the land owners, no chance of me spilling the beans, although I quite like the thought of an un-invited (ponce) angler being confronted by a shotgun wielding, angry, farmer as opposed to an EA, rod license, bailiff. No, by definition, Benno and I are searching for the unknown and we'll keep it like that all the while the challenge remains viable. There are two ways of approaching this type of situation. "know when you're beaten" or "never give up" - let's see how it evolves and where it leads.
I've already stated previously. The Covid-19 situation is a very strange time and, I'm sure, will result in very strange things happening. A tidal river barbel might just be the start?