Monday 19 September 2016

September Barbel Trip on the River Wye

My barbel fishing had taken a back seat of late and once I was contacted by my good friend James Marlow about the the possibilities of a September barbel trip, It was at the forefront of my mind and I was itching to get up there!

We planned to fish the afternoon through until dusk and were aiming to target an area downstream of Ross-on-Wye.

We arrived at the beat and noted only one other angler was present, which was perfect, lots of water to fish.

We looked to target a couple of swims mid-beat and work our way down stream as the day went on, ending on a peg just below some rapids.

The setup was fairly conventional for the Wye, Korum Combi Feeders in the large size, 60g and 90g, 2ft 10ft fluorocarbon hooklengths tied up with Drennan Barbel Specialist hooks.
The Korum Combi feeder did the trick!
The perfect hoobait for the Wye? I think so!

The successful mix

A few catapults full of the Source dumbells were fed into a few swims on the river and we set about mixing the groundbait ready for the first cast. The mix consisted of 2kg of Hinders Blitz Mix, 350g tin of cooked hemp, a few handfuls of crushed Source boilies and a liberal helping of 4mm and 6mm halibut pellets.

(This mix did us proud on the day, we fished all rods on feeders after the straight lead approach failed to get us any bites)

The midday sun was very welcome but very hot, we anticipated a slow start but my right hand rod nodded into life within 20mins, in the shape of the perfectly formed miniature barbel, showing the fine health of the river and the new generation of barbel is looking good!
One for the future!!

 Bites came steadily through the day and we were amazed at times the feeder had hardly settled before we had a bite, which always makes it ultra exciting. As the day went on we moved down to the swim below the rapids, both had instants takes on our first casts, then nothing else. We decided the head back up to another swim as dark was approaching and it was on our way back to the car. This change of swim worked again and James finished the day with the last barbel.

On the day we had 7 barbel and 1 chub (a PB for James at 4lb 4oz), only lost 2 feeders but I did manage to snap my rod, Doh!

Hopefully we can get back up the Wye again soon!!

Wednesday 24 August 2016

A Week in Sandbakken, Norway. The Highlight of a Successful August

My new personal best 26lb coalfish
August has been a great month for me. Yet more decent barbel fishing on the River Wye and a fantastic holiday in Sandbakken, Northern Norway. I wont go on about the barbel fishing as I have posted here many times before on the subject. This season though continues to be one of my best with both good numbers of fish and some sizeable specimens too. Sandbakken is something new though, so here's a bit about my week spent there. Four of us, George, Roger, Matt and myself had been looking forward to this trip for sometime after booking it through the excellent Sportquest Holidays. Pre-trip information had told us to expect a great camp in fantastic surroundings and some decent fishing with good cod, coalfish and the chance of some nice halibut. That's exactly what we got! Sandbakken did what it said on the tin and we all had a brilliant week. Day one started well with all of us catching coalfish bigger than any we had previously caught before. These fish shaped rockets were eager to take pirks and jigs worked quickly in some deep water found not far from our camp. Day two and more coalfish were joined by cod, a couple of haddock and a few small redfish. The cod were more in to taking large shads while the haddock and redfish took a liking to feathers. Day three saw me land a halibut of 8lb, I caught it using a mackerel flapper after catching the bait on spinning gear fishing from the jetty just outside our cabin. Days four, five and six continued with some wonderful fishing and saw us catch a second halibut, a wolffish, numerous torsk and plenty more cod and coalies. By the end of the week we had taken cod to 37lb and coalfish to 26lb. All of our expectations had been exceeded. It's impossible to fault either Sandbakken fish camp or Sportquest Holidays from this experience. I would recommend anyone interested to go for it and contact Sportquest Holidays via their website

Roger with the biggest of the week - a 37lb cod

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Hot July Sport

Bass from Lyme Bay....
July has provided some good weather and I have been out making the most of it. I have got out to sea a couple of times aboard Outcast II, skippered by John Wallington of Devon Bass Pro Charters and enjoyed some great fishing. Targeting the inshore wrecks of Lyme Bay with both lures and bait has produced some cracking bass, some nice pollock and a single cod. John is a great guy and a day at sea with him comes highly recommended. Give him a call on 07968953184 or take a look at his website On the freshwater side of things it has of course been my favourite species, the barbel, that has been the target of two visits to the River Wye at Courtfield, Lower Lydbrook. The fishing here has been truly amazing, quality and quantity. Barbel to 9lb 8oz, double hook-ups, bites before I've even had time to put the rod in the rest! It's all been happening. Check out for information. Next month sees me travel to Sandbakken in Norway for a week of cod and halibut fishing and I have another two days on the Wye to look forward to also. I'll tell you all about it in a month from now.

....and barbel from the River Wye have kept me
busy during July

Saturday 18 June 2016

June 16th 2016 on the River Wye, Courtfield, Lower Lydbrook

June 16th, first day of the river season. For me that means only one thing, a trip to Courtfield at Lower Lydbrook on the River Wye. I've written many times before about this venue, my tackle, tactics and so on. So I'll skip all that boring stuff and get straight to the exciting part. Eight years I've been fishing here, my favourite river and in that time I've landed well over three hundred barbel, my favourite species, to just ounces shy of 10lb. Today though I caught a very special fish, a barbel that pulled the scales past 10lb, an immaculate example of the species weighing 10lb 2oz. A double! A ten! A dream fish! Finally! And on June 16th too! It doesn't get better than that! This fish means more to me than any other I've ever caught. Record catfish, 400lb sturgeon, 30lb plus carp. They were great. This is better!

Dream come true - A 10lb 2oz River Wye barbel

Thursday 2 June 2016

Porbeagle Shark Fishing Aboard Celtic Wildcat. Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire

Geoff with his porbeagle shark of 144lb
I've been getting out a bit since the last time I posted on here. I've enjoyed an incredible run of luck with the weather and the five charter boat trips I had booked during April and May, unbelievably all went ahead. The fishing has been good with wrecking producing pollock, ling, bass and whiting. A flatfish trip out of Weymouth produced just that - fish that were flat! Turbot, brill etc. When I haven't been out at sea my local Cheddar Reservoir has produced a good number of pike up to 12lb for me, all on lures and light tackle, great sport! The subject of toothy predators though brings me to my most recent boat trip, my first ever try at catching sharks. Porbeagle sharks to be exact. I was booked aboard Milford Haven based charter boat Celtic Wildcat along with friend Geoff and two of his friends Phil and Rob who I had not previously met. Skipper Nick was to be the fifth member of our team and needless to say once we all got talking fishing it was like we had all known each other for years. With much excitement we headed out for the Celtic Deep. Rubby dubby was prepared and our rods set up during the trip out and when the engines were cut after reaching our mark we all tossed fresh mackerel baits over the side. Now all we could do was cross our fingers and wait. This waiting however certainly didn't feel like too much trouble, with a flat calm sea and a bright blue sky it was pretty lush just being there. As if that wasn't enough though we were entertained by common dolphins and even minke whales as they approached incredibly close to the boat. As we sat watching our floats a fin belonging to a very large porbeagle shark broke the surface just behind the boat. An amazing sight and one which got everyone very excited indeed. What a fantastic day this was turning out to be. It was about to get even better though! My float bobbed and slid under, the reel started to scream and just like that I found myself attached to my first ever shark. The fish went on a long dive under the boat bending the rod in to its fighting curve and then all of a sudden the rod was straight again. The shark had come off and I was left reeling in a very torn up looking bait. Would I get another chance? Unfortunately not. That was all the action that came my way for the day. Geoff and Rob later got chances though and both managed to get their sharks to the boat. Fish of 144lb for Geoff and 156lb for Rob were the rewards for their efforts. Well done both of you! Great to see porbeagles for the first time. What a day we had all enjoyed! Everyone was in agreement that the day had been a huge success and as we headed for home we were all wearing big smiles. Information about Celtic Wildcat can be found at Nick is a great skipper and if it's sharks you're after then he's your man.

156lb for Rob

Saturday 30 April 2016

Wall to Wall Rays at Kingston Seymour Sea Wall (Bristol Channel Sea Fishing)

the first fish of the evening
The tides on the 20th of April looked good for a spot of ray fishing of Kingston sea wall, with a high of 12.4 mts at 19.30 and although there was a north easterly wind I had reasoned that it would be just fishable, my approach was to be  2 rods 1 pulley rigged with Bluey ,and one fished with a 2 hook flapper with rag  worms tipped with Bluey , arriving at 6'o' clock  I cast one the pulley rod 70yds and the flapper rod 40yds, By 7.30 I had a knock on the pulley rod leaving it to develop into a proper bite didn't take long as felt the tell tale resistance of a ray on the end of the line ,this turned out to be a fish of between 6 to 7 lbs which gave a good scrap trying to dive under the rocks in front of the wall,next just as I recast the pulley rod I had a knock on the two worm rod which also turned out to be a ray of roughly the same size, then 15mins later another bite on the pulley rod ray number 3 a smaller one but very welcome ,so a busy half hour followed by a couple of small whitting on the worms but nothing else all evening,
ray no. 3
2nd fish of the evening on rag

Thursday 24 March 2016

A Spring Ling (Pollock and Barbel too!)

My new personal best ling of 24lb
I ended my last blog post by telling you that I had some boat trips booked and a trip to the River Wye planned for March 14th, the last day of the river season. I've got lucky with two trips aboard Spot On! of Brixham and my day on the Wye all producing some great fishing and on lovely sunny spring days too. The first of my two boat trips was spent wrecking for pollock and to say we caught a lot of fish would be an understatement. Pollock to 16lb were caught in abundance by all on board and there were a lot of aching arms by the end of the trip. My day on the banks of the Wye at Courtfield changed the pace a little and it made a nice change to sit down and wait for a bite instead of winding lures furiously all day. Two barbel of about 5lb a piece were the reward for chancing my luck on a river that can be very unpredictable at this time of year. Great to end the season by catching my favourite species from my favourite river! Trip number two aboard Spot On! and I was keen to try and catch a ling on bait. There would be a window of opportunity to do this during slack water but until then it was a case of working lures to try and tempt other species. I caught a few pouting (that was the ling bait sorted) and a few nice pollock, biggest was about 12lb. Just before "ling o' clock" I got the rod and reel I had intended to use for the ling fishing in an almighty tangle, losing a lot of braid. I had no choice but to set up my lighter outfit, the one I use for "having a bit of fun with the pollock" with my ling end gear. A 12oz lead was soon plummeting to the seabed dragging behind it a pouting head mounted on an 8/0 hook tied to a short length of 70lb line. Of course the inevitable happened and after only a couple of minutes I found myself attached to a ling that had me fooled in to thinking I'd snagged the wreck below. This fish really did feel huge on a rod and reel that had previously only handled cod and pollock to mid doubles. I slowly but surely gained back braid and after a ten minute scrap that I really enjoyed a big ling lay on the deck of the boat. It pulled the scales round to 24lb, beating my previous best by 9lb. I was very happy and even caught a second, smaller ling soon after as well. Visit for all you need to know about trips with Ross aboard Spot On! and for information on the River Wye. I'll be out again soon no doubt so check back here to see how I get on.

One of two Wye barbel caught on March 14th

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Kingston Seymour Sea Wall (Bristol Channel Sea Fishing) Cod at Last!

 Since before Christmas I have made numerous visits to the sea shore of the Bristol Channel in search of a PB shore caught Cod,
Which stands at a Lowly 2 1/2lb caught some years ago, so with the tides spot on this week and rumours of fish being caught I planned a visit Tuesday evening my approach was to be two rods one with a whole squid fished at range and another two hook flapper rig with rag fished closer for a flounder or smaller fish,
First cast at around 6.30pm produced a couple of small rattles on the rag worm rigs which I left followed by an almighty drop back which I promptly wound down too, this was no flounder not what I need a good size fish on a size 2 thin wire hook pumping it in from 60yds the fish kited right then tried to make for the rocks under my feet by this time, I still hadn’t Seen the fish but was now convinced I was connected to a Cod, not massive but certainly a PB,
It’s at times like this you need some luck and tonight I had some a freak wave lifted the fish out of the rocks right to my feet where I pick it up and carried to the shore,  it was hooked by the most tenuous of hook holds with the thin wire no.2 practically straight ,
Between 4 & 5 pounds

Not a Breath of wind
Sadly I had not packed any scale’s but put the weight at between 4 and 5 pounds And feeling so pleased with myself I decided to return it alive , I fished on until 8.30pm with only a couple more small pin whiting to show for my efforts , and not a bite on the whole Squid , so if your struggling for a Bristol Channel Cod go Flounder Fishing ,

Saturday 20 February 2016

2016 Starts With Quality Pollock

Not one but two successful trips aboard charter boat Spot On! of Brixham, Devon has seen my 2016 kick off in fine style. Plenty of quality pollock have been eager to accept lures worked near deep water wrecks some thirty miles offshore and I have enjoyed some pretty hectic fishing. Standard wrecking tactics of a lure fished on a long trace of 30lb line, a 12oz ball weight, 50lb braid and a 12lb or 20lb class rod and reel combo have done the trick, hauling up fish to low double figures. A bit of bait fishing for ling over slack water has unfortunately proved unsuccessful so far, a little early still for this species perhaps?! Now is the time to book yourself a boat trip with the pollock fishing sure to get even better in the coming weeks and with spring just around the corner the cod shouldn't be far behind them. To book a place aboard Spot On! visit or call Ross on 07878668662. More boat trips coming up for me and a visit to the River Wye for a last chance barbel before the season ends so check back here soon to see how I get on.

A pair of quality pollock for Dan and I

Thursday 7 January 2016

A Winter Session on Barrow Tanks Reservoirs, Bristol

Bristol water who control barrow tanks 3 concrete bowl shaped reservoir's just south of Bristol, this year they have decided to open all year for trout fishing ,
So at a  loss on Tuesday where to go a few hours  a local venue not to far from home it seemed to be a ideal choice,
Loading a 5# 9 rod and reel loaded with a slow sink intermediate line and a pocket full of lures
I set off arriving a 11'0'clock ,my tactics where to be walking around reservoir 2 casting every 25 steps covering as much water as possible, and by 12.30 I had caught one fish and dropped 2 the bites being very timid with just a very slight indication on the line,
Biggest of the Day from Barrows no.2
 Time for a move to Barrows no1 the biggest of the 3 reservoirs tactics where the same using black and green damsel patterns fished mid water ,the wind by the afternoon had dropped to a breeze and fish where showing but to far out  to cast to so fishing short I managed one more fish and a couple of pulls before the light faded, so a very productive day and a ideal outing on a short winters day ,
tickets are purchased from a hut in car park  a 6 fish ticket is £14.50
Sun setting over Barrows no.1