Things Ain’t Going Right


It’s been a funny old season so far. I’ve put a few barbel in the net, but I’ve lost around 1 in every 3 that I’ve hooked. And it’s been for a mix of reasons – hook pulls, snags, line breaking and even a hook snapping. It’s annoying to say the least, especially as the mix of reasons means there isn’t one thing to focus on and fix, and the tackle Ive been using is stuff that I’ve used a lot before, without these problems.

The Wye at Holme Lacy
The Wye at Holme Lacy

A couple of weeks ago, Andy and I went to the Wye, and just like on our first visit to this stretch last autumn, we failed to catch any barbel. Conditions seemed reasonable, with a little bit of extra water and a tinge of colour, but the fish didn’t want to play ball (or we fished it crap). I did at least hook one, which proceeded to slip the hook. As this happened mid-morning, I thought there was a good chance that there would be more bites forthcoming. Not so, apart from a greedy gudgeon that snaffled a pellet. Andy’s day consisted of catching 3 small chub and almost sitting on a grass snake.

On the Kennet, I’ve had some fascinating moments getting a shoal of barbel to instantly home in on loose-fed pellets, dropped in behind a very large overhanging bush. It’s a well known holding spot, but nobody actually fishes where I’ve been putting the pellets, as it is only about 18 inches deep, silty and sluggish paced. Everyone casts further out into the main flow. Yet every time I’ve fed the pellets, the barbel are on them literally within a few seconds, dropping back out of the bush and soon churning up the silt and debris to search out the food. Clouds of silt make it almost impossible to actually see the fish, they just show the occassional glimpse of tail poking out of the silt. I have caught one fish from there, but I think I will leave them alone now, as it’s obvious that the fish feel extremely comfortable feeding there, and it would be a shame to spoil that.

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