Passion for Barbel… Tactics

I know I have been quiet for a while on this particular ‘Passion’ but I have been beavering away in the background – if we are allowed to talk about beavers in this strange day and age?

The problems of the Wye are well known and very real, and involving myself with them has become my main focus this summer, as is only right and proper.

Make no mistake, these Wye issues are serious, and we’ll have to fight to make them go away.

But isn’t that the challenge everywhere? Aren’t we all facing perils on the rivers we love? Perhaps you are sick of the attention the Wye receives, but if we can get things moving here, perhaps there is hope everywhere?

But to the fishing… I decided I either lie down under the problems of the Wye, or try to fish on and do my best, especially as I live hereabouts now.

That alone confers huge benefits. Instead of fleeting trips now and again, I have been able to formulate plans and campaigns that have ultimately paid off.

Of course, everything has been helped by the lowering of the temperatures, the periods of rain, and the approach of autumn, always a good season.

Having said that, several approaches do seem to have paid dividends…

1 – Living close, I have been able to bait some fifteen swims on a daily basis. A terrific advantage.

2 – With the Wye at low levels, it has been possible to fish boilies/pellets with only 2 to 4 SSGs spaced up the line around nine inches to a foot apart. These hold bottom well, pin down the line, and go in with far less splash than a lead or feeder.

In fact, I suspect they sound something like a catapult pouch of loose feed going into the swim? But whether the fish think that way, we’ll never know.

3 – I wear chest waders or waterproof pants, so can sit on the ground. A rod rest in a few swims, but mostly the rod lies on the reeds. A pocket of SSGs, baiting needle, bait stops, a couple of spare hooks, forceps. A bucket of bait. A net.

That’s pretty much it. This means you can move, move again, and keep moving – space on the bank allowing.

4 – Catch a fish and move on. The first cast is always your best. And taking one barbel doesn’t freak out the shoal.

5 – The Wye is low, phosphate-rich and oxygen-poor. The barbel give their all, and I’m concentrating on shots of fish in the water or going back.

I’m limiting the usual trophy shots to a minimum. My new camera is so quick, a couple of hand held/fish images take ten seconds.

6 – I appreciate that geography and time play a huge part in my good fortune, and if you are limited to odd days on far flung rivers, you’ll be thinking ‘lucky bugger’ or worse.

But I never take this for granted, work my proverbials off, and have been doing this river stuff for sixty years, so have earned some privileges.

Above all, perhaps take some ideas from these ‘Passion’ pieces and, as ever, contact me if I can help.

7 – Now I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

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Gareth Evans is the 2017 Anglers World Fly Fishing Champion