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Tuesday, 09 December 2008 00:00

Thames River barbel stocking

Environment Agency delivers a stocking packed with 1,250 barbel to the Thames River. Christmas has come early on the River Thames this year as the Environment Agency delivered a stocking packed with 1,250 barbel to the Thames River last week.

The batch of 18-month-old fish was released in three areas along the river as part of an Environment Agency project to give the declining barbel population a boost.

The fish have been marked with a small orange spot in the translucent skin adjacent to the eye. The marks will help the Environment Agency keep track of how the population is developing in the coming years.

Anglers are being asked to do their bit by reporting any catches of barbel which have the distinctive orange spots. Working closely with local anglers the Environment Agency will be able to build a more complete picture of the fish’s movements and survival rates.

Environment Agency fisheries officer Lizzie Rhymes said: “Our aim is to see these barbel flourish in areas of the Thames where numbers have declined. When the fish reach maturity, we hope they will spawn successfully and continue to boost barbel populations.

“The stocking is part of the Upper Thames Barbel Project, which we started in 2005. The project identified areas of the Upper Thames where barbel populations are threatened. We have also begun a programme of habitat restoration to improve and create new spawning grounds. Stocking juvenile barbell in the river is designed to complement this work.”

Barbel, which can live up to 25 years, indicate high quality river habitat. However, the species faces many pressures which threaten populations in the River Thames. These pressures include a lack of suitable spawning grounds, and an inability to reach important habitats as a result of impoundments.

To spawn, barbel require shallow gravel areas with fast flows. Hatching larvae use still shallow bays to feed and avoid predators. As juveniles grow, they use faster flows on shallow gravels. These habitats are required if larvae are to survive their first critical winter. In rivers without suitable spawning grounds nearby, adult barbel will migrate over 30 km to spawn.

The fish have been bred at the Environment Agency fish farm at Calverton, near Nottingham, which produced half a million fish last year. They were released on Thursday, 4 December, between Buscot and Newbridge. This follows on from last year’s stocking programme which targeted the upper reaches of the River Thames between Hannington Bridge and Cricklade.

Lizzie Rhymes added: “We plan to monitor these barbel during our annual fisheries monitoring programme. However, we are also asking all anglers fishing the River Thames to look out for these marks. If anyone is lucky enough to catch a barbel, and it is marked, we would like to hear about it.”

“We carry out more than 500 fish stocking transfers every year. Other stocking programmes this winter will be taking place on the river Cherwell, Great Brook, Enbourne, and Thame. Species due to be stocked into these rivers include: chub, dace, roach and bream.”

If you catch a barbel, please contact Chris Bell on 01491 828358.

Source: www.environment-agency.gov.uk

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Published in Latest UK fishing news
Tuesday, 30 September 2008 20:32

Barbel Rivers and Captures

'Barbel Rivers and Captures' By The Barbel CatchersClub

Compiled By Mick Wood and Bob Singleton

There have been revolutionary advances in barbel fishing since the publication of Barbel by the Barbel Catchers Club (BBC) published by The Crowood Press in 1988, and the BCC has been at the forefront of these dramatic developments.

This long awaited, and entirely new volume written by BCC members comprehensively covers the modern barbel fishing scene, discusses the size of the fish now caught and illustrates the changes that have taken place in tackle, tactics and baits. There are individual chapters on each major barbel river in England from the smallest streams, such as the Lodden and the Holybrook, to the mighty Midlands rivers, the Trent and the Severn, to the Yorkshire spate rivers and the crystalline waters of the famous Hampshire Avon. Each river chapter is written by an experienced angler with proven success on the river in question and culminates with a fascinating account of the capture of a really special barbel weighing in excess of 10 lb.

This remarkable book provides a wealth of expert information and explores not only traditional fishing methods but also ground-breaking new ideas. Lavishly illustrated with 200 images including photographs, drawings and diagrams, and a colour-plate section, this is an indispensable volume for both the barbel enthusiast and general river angler alike.

Barbel Rivers and Captures is written by the Barbel Catchers Club and provides a vast amount of information about the contemporary barbel-fishing scene. Written by experts, it comprehensively covers all the major barbel rivers in England.

Contents include:

  • Indivual chapters on twenty-nine rivers, or sections of river
  • Detailed and fascinating accounts of the capture of a 'big barbel' on each river
  • Modern Baits-both pellet and HNV specials
  • Scores of photographs, some in full colour, of barbel catches over 10lb
  • Diagrams illustrating rigs, feeders and swims
  • A review of devolpments in barbel fishing since the late 1980's and a consideration of the future of barbel fishing
  • Details of the Barbel Catchers Club River Records and the Clubs 'top fifty' barbel.

The Barbel Catchers Club (BCC) were established in 1977 with the objective of providing a forum for debating key issues and discussing new ideas. Since its formation, the BCC has been extremely successful and has been at the forefront of virtually every breakthrough in barbel angling.

The club is organised by dedicated barbel anglers for barbel anglers and emphasizes the social aspect of the sport rather than its political and commercial divisions. The BCC is divided into seven regional groups, (Chiltens, Midland/Cotswold, Northwest, Southdown, Southern, Wessex and Yorkshire) and has its own website www.barbelcatchersclub.co.uk and its own Magazine entitled Barbus. All members write at least one article each year for the magazine, which also provides a forum for news and views.

To order your copy of this fantastic book, please visit:
www.barbelcatchersclub.co.uk

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Published in Various
Monday, 22 September 2008 19:58

Barbel fishing on the River Severn

WHAT CHANCE A SEVERN MONSTER? - By Stuart Watkins

Source: Barbel Catchers Club

It’s now almost a decade since Howard caught his former British record fish from the lower reaches of the Severn. I recently read an article by Steve Stayner in one of the angling monthlies where he briefly mentions the capture of this memorable fish. He then goes on to talk about the many people who have since tried to catch it, or a different fish of a similar size, from the lower river. In my experience these people that Steve talks about, don’t exist. The river never did see the influx of anglers that many of Britain’s smaller rivers see when a huge fish is caught. In short the Severn’s most popular period was at the very beginning of the barbel boom in the mid to late eighties. In my opinion this will always remain the case, because other rivers produce fish of an equal size, or in many cases bigger, that are in the majority of cases far easier to locate and catch. We often hear the term anyone can catch from the lower Severn, and while this is certainly true, fish of say 12.08 plus are not common, and fish of 14 plus are rare creatures indeed.

Stuart Watkins with a 13-0 from the Lower SevernSo what chances a Severn monster? Obviously location is the key factor here or is it? Most of the better fish I have caught came from swims which only produced the one fish on the day. A lack of smaller fish may indicate the opportunity for a better fish to move in on any feed present. Note I said on the day, because I feel these larger fish could turn up in any swim on any stretch between Worcester’s Diglis weir and Tewkesbury weir. I feel swim type has very little bearing on whether large barbel will or will not feed in them. The most important factor being a lack of run of the mill fish, again on the day. Could it be that these larger specimens perhaps only move around as solitary fish, or at most in groups of two or three fish of a similar size, and may prefer not to compete with other smaller barbel for any food in a given area. Another thing about these larger Severn fish is that they can turn up at any time of the day. Whilst most Severn regulars prefer to fish in the hours of darkness, myself included, my two thirteens from the river both came in daylight, and one of these in mid-July with an air temperature of 27°c under a blazing hot sun in water as low and clear as it gets on the lower river.

So how would I go about catching one of these truly large Severn fish? As I said earlier, I feel swim type is not that important. But having said that I always feel more confident in a swim that has less of a slope on it from the margins out towards the middle of the river, say fourteen foot deep one and a half rod lengths out, to around eighteen to nineteen foot in the middle, as opposed to say only ten foot deep one and a half rod lengths out. In shallower areas of the river, say around Diglis, the same applies, the only thing that changes is the overall depth, which may only be eleven foot in the middle so eight foot of water one and a half rod lengths would be ideal. I would be looking to place my bait around two rod lengths.

One of the most useful pieces of kit that I have used over the last two seasons has been the ‘Smartcast’, Now some people may cringe at the use of this, saying that it is unfair, but believe me if like myself the lower Severn is your usual venue, you will find it invaluable. Since first using it I have discovered that in most areas the river has no shelves apart from the marginal one which may be only a few inches deep when the river is at it’s lowest. It will also find snags and you will get used to spotting these after using the unit for a period of time and getting used to it. One other thing about the ‘Smartcast’ is don’t buy one if you are expecting it to find your fish for you, in reality it’s a pretty crude piece of kit. Believe me, having worked in the marine industry for the past eighteen years, it is only really useful as a guide.

As far as baits and baiting the swim are concerned, boilies would be my first choice in daylight, with a sausage meat concoction, donkey choker size, courtesy of ‘The Cullen Guide To Anti-social Barbel Baits’, Millennium editon, as an after dark option. Feeding the swim would be done using no more than twelve to fifteen boilies, fishing only two rod lengths out makes it easy to place loose feed by hand. I would be looking to feed an area say 20’ x 10’, putting in large amounts of loose feed in my opinion, and especially after dark, only encourages smaller barbel in numbers, or bream, and believe me once they move in forget your barbel. Once you start fishing below Upton they are definitely the river’s most predominant fish, and fish approaching double figures can reasonably be expected.

Once the swim has been fed I don’t wait to put a bait in, I can’t see the point, life’s too short and past experience tells me the biggest fish invariably comes out first, especially if you have had no action in the first half hour. Always a good sign that smaller fish and the dreaded bream are not present. My theory is that if your hook bait is untouched or you have had no rod top indications your loose feed will also be uneaten and intact.

Rigs used are simple and uncomplicated. Hooklengths are braid, either or ‘Silkworm’ or ‘ESP Sinklink’, around sixteen inches long for boilies and around thirty inches for meat. I never fish with bolt rigs in the true sense of the term, although a two to three ounce running lead will, I believe, to some extent have the same effect. I don’t see the need for fancy rigs and any modifications I make are usually to make life easier for me. For example incorporating a Fox Safe-lok with a one inch long piece of rig tube placed over it for security will make it easy to change hooklengths after dark. My views on Fluro-carbon lines are that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. So I will not use them, even in a gin clear river. Having said that Fox Illusion seems to be getting some excellent reviews at the moment, so I will see how Martin gets on with it over this winter with a view to using it as a hooklength next season. When fishing the large meat baits everything Martin has talked about in his articles applies. To give an idea of the bait size I use, all the ingredients weigh around 1.3 kilos. This makes around fifteen baits!

So what exactly constitutes a Severn monster? Fifteen plus is probably not an unreasonable target if you fish the river week in week out, three members have all taken fish of this size. One of the most important things to note about most barbel anglers on the lower river is that none of them are from the ‘Catch at all costs’ brigade. I think if you take this misguided approach, you will be in for a very lean time. Personally I go in the hope of catching a personal best, and if I don’t then there is always next weekend. I will probably get some stick for saying this but once you get down below Severn Stoke, don’t forget the chub. They don’t come out very often, but when you do hook one it will probably be well worth catching. In barbel anging terms my biggest ambition is to catch a lower river fifteen. Who knows, one day I may just get lucky and achieve it. Now what about that double figure bream??!!

Many thanks to The Barbel Catchers Club and Stuart Watkins for allowing UK Fisherman to reproduce this article.

Visit their excellent website at: www.barbelcatchersclub.co.uk

Submit an Article: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of the fishing articles or if you would like to submit an article of your own.

To do so, please visit the CONTACT page.

CARP, BARBEL AND PAELLA

A Guide to Fishing in Andalucia - By James Clear

Description:
A chance day trip to a reservoir near Ronda in the province of Cadiz, revolutionised James's views on fishing in the Spanish region of Andalucia. Despite spending many holidays in southern Spain, he had never considered the untapped potential for fishing in this stunning part of the world. This day trip got him thinking and having decided to research the subject, it soon became apparent that there was a serious lack of information available regarding angling in Andalucia, a fact that partly helps explain why fishing in this region remains largely undiscovered ....

.... and so, Carp, Barbel and Paella - A Guide to fishing in Andalucia was born !!

Review:
Let me say that from the outset, this is a quality piece of work and provides an indispensable guide to fishing in the region for those new to the area and also to those who have fished the region before. If you are thinking of taking a fishing holiday in Andalucia, you must buy this book - you won't regret it.

A Guide to Fishing in Andalucia is a comprehensive guide to fishing in the Andalucian region of Spain. It is well structured and set out in a number of sections which include:

  1. species and methods
  2. rules and regulations
  3. the provinces of Andalucia
  4. travel tips and what to bring
  5. useful phrases
  6. tackle and bait shops
  7. festivals

Chapter 1 - species and methods:
This is an excellent section which will appeal to all anglers whether you are visiting Andalucia of not. It details what you can expect to catch when fishing in Andalucia. Did you know for example that there are 7 species of barbel that can be caught there and one of best summer baits to catch them is .... crickets !!! This section also contains some excellent advice on baits and tactics that work well for barbel, carp, pike, trout, bass and eels as well as the more unusual species to be found in Spanish waters such as Allis Shad, Cacho, Saboga, Colmilleja and Pardilla amongst others.

Chapter 2 - rules and regulations:
Travelling abroad can often be confusing when it comes to local laws and regulations which is why this section is a great help in shedding light on the legal aspects of fishing in Andalucia, particularly in regard to what licences are required, how much they cost, where to obtain them along with useful contact numbers and adresses. Did you know, you need a licence to sea fish in Spain?

Chapter 3 - the provinces of Andalucia:
The bulk of this excellent guide concentrates on the various provinces within Andalucia, starting with a brief description of each province. Each is then split into individual fishing venues, detailing what you can expect to catch there and the best bait and tactics to employ. Each venue also includes a useful map of the location as well as details of how to get there. This is a really in depth section and contains loads of really useful information.

Chapter 4 - travel tips and what to bring:
Another useful section on how to make the most of your trip along with some ideas about what tackle and bait to take with you. It also includes some brief detail of things to watch out for ... like the fighting bulls that can turn up anywhere (especially around Cadiz) and the dreaded mosquitos.

Chapter 5 - useful phrases:
For those not fluent in Spanish, the Guide to Fishing in Andalucia also includes a section of useful fishing phrases and words, basically everything anglers will need when visiting tackle shops and venues etc (believe it or not, not everyone speaks English in Spain !!). Phrases like la aguja pesca (baiting needle), la pesca al la inglesa (waggler fishing) and el asticot (maggot) are not phrases you are likely to find in your standard Spanish phrase book.

Chapter 6 - tackle and bait shops:
A useful list of addresses and phone numbers of tackle and bait shops in Andalucia.

Chapter 7 - festivals:
Brief details of the many festivals and fiestas that take place in Andalucia - just in case you get an hour or two off from fishing !!

Price:
A Guide to Fishing in Andalucia is available worldwide at the following prices.

delivery within UK - £14.24 *
delivery in Europe - £15.13 *
delivery to US - £19.13 *
delivery worldwide - £19.19 *

* all prices include postage and packing

Summary:
A quality piece of work. If you are unfamiliar with the Andalucian region of Spain and the fishing it offers, this guide is invaluable if you are thinking of visiting the region. A great deal of thought has gone into producing this book and as it is written by an angler it is much more useful than your standard holiday guides. It basically includes everything you will need to think about when fishing in Andalucia.

The only problem I see with this book is that it could seriously damage your bank balance. With its descriptions of the various fisheries in Andalucia, complemented by well chosen photographs, this book will make you want to head down to the nearest travel agent, dust off your fishing rod and head to Andalucia to experience the delights on offer yourself. You have been warned !!

Paul@ Uk fisherman

Score:
highly recommended !!

Where to buy:
For more information about A Fishing Guide to Andalucia and to purchase the guide, please visit www.go-fishing-spain.com

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UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of our sale items. To do so, use the comment box below.

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Published in Fishing Book Reviews

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