Friday 11 July 2014


My swim for the evening was over 6ft deep and I could see the bottom, the clearest I’ve seen it for a long time. For roving around and spotting the fish its ideal, in-fact prior to settling in the swim I went for a butchers at few fish holding spots and there were plenty of fish to be had, some big Chub too. I was after an early season Barbel though and when it’s clear they can be elusive.

I remember when I was exploring this part of the Warwickshire Avon in similar gin clear conditions where upon feeding some pellets around some thick far bank cover I saw Barbel leaving their sanctuary hover up the freebies and quickly return to their lair. It would have been a suicidal swim to fish but a nice spectacle to watch all the same, such a majestic fish to watch.

I started off supergluing a couple of nail filed flattened 12mm Lone Angler Cavier pellets to a hair and rather than use the bait dropper for today’s session the swim was fed with Bait Tech meaty groundbait with small pellets and hemp. Hooklength was 2 ½ feet of coated braid with a few tungsten line sinkers to pin it down to the bed as much as possible. I’ve given up on fluorocarbon especially for longer hook lengths, too much memory and knot reliability; maybe I’m doing it wrong but I’ve far more confidence using a braid. 

Rod is a Mark Tunley built 11ft Harrison with a 1.75lb test curve, fitted with my trusty Okuma Centrepin. I love using the centrepin, ok not ideal for long casting but the control I have over the fish verses a conventional reel adds to the pleasure of catching the fish. The ratchet is the bite alarm, so cast out, sit back and wait for all hell to break loose. There is nothing like a Barbel bite, and needs to be experienced by every fisherman.

For the first couple of hours or so not much happened, a few small chub knocks but certainly nothing strikable, at least I was providing a bed of bait in the swim though. I decided to downsize the glued pellets, this time using a couple of 8mm’s. The bait had settled for 15 minutes or so and after a few 1ft foot pulls the rod properly wrenched over, line was being taken in yards and the ratchet was screaming. It was trying to head to the far bank cover so after turning the fish in to the main flow of the river I caught sight of its golden flanks, yeah a Barbel. Not the big one I was after but Barbel never give up, that’s why we fish for them. After an arm aching fight I allowed it to rest in the net before weighing it. For a 5lb 12oz fish it certainly fought hard, in stunning condition too, a lovely looking fish that was safely returned.

With the swim disturbed it took another half hour or so before fish returned to the swim, this time a 3lb Chub took a liking to the pellets. I left at 10.00pm when the bats came out, an enjoyable session. Barbel, don’t you just love them.


  1. Well worth the effort then Mick. Nice.

  2. Nice going Mick. The barbel do seem to like those Cav pellets.


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