Sunday, 2 September 2012

River Soar barbel - Pastures new

Saturday the 25th of August

Having spent a good deal of time fishing the more popular known barbel stretches on the Soar over the years I felt that it was time to look further afield for the chance of both peace and quiet and an unknown big fish. On Thursday I spent an hour or two walking and baited some likely looking spots with a small amount of pellet and boilie, the baiting was repeated on Friday night and on Saturday afternoon I ventured out fully kitted up and looking forward to a few hours fishing an area that I had hardly touched previously.

The weather forcast was for localised heavy showers and the sky certainly seemed to back that up so I bit the bullet and packed the brolly, not something I particularly like doing on a long walk but if needs must I'd rather do that than get a soaking. I won a Korum fibreglass brolly last year and it's a cracking bit of kit, well built without weighing a ton and I would certainly reccomend it if you are in the market for a new shelter.

With three swims having received bait already my confidence was reasonably high considering I had no idea of the head of barbel present however the best possible way to know what swims in front of you is to see it and with that in mind each area was baited once more with a small amount of pellet close enough in to see what was happening. With my tackle stashed away safely I spent the next hour and a half rotating between these areas just looking, fish were only seen in one swim and they were almost all chub although I did spot one large fish glide through the run just on the edge of my vision and thought that it could well have been a barbel.

Light conditions weren't perfect for spotting, no sooner had I adjusted to bright sunshine when a bank of cloud would arrive and I had to adapt again, and then it would brighten once more. I often prefer consistent cloud for fish spotting than constantly changing conditions, constant sunshine is of course best of all and on days with light cloud cover I often find myself watching for good gaps in the fluffy stuff which will lend themselves to good vision. Now I don't profess to be anywhere near excellent at seeing things below the surface, I find spotting a single barbel pectoral fin peaking from beneath streamer weed virtually impossible for instance, and as for identifying individual fish I find that difficult enough on the bank let alone while they are still swimmimg. What I do know though is that there is looking and there is looking, what I mean by that is you think that you are staring into the water effectively but in fact you aren't, adjust your focus to look through the surface (obviously always with polaroid lenses) and suddenly you start to see so much more. I often find it helps to concentrate on an object on the river bed like a stone or similiar in shallower water and then gradually work your way out into deeper water. Something to bear in mind with polaroid glasses is that ambient light bypassing the lens around the frame messes the positive effect up considerably, my solution is a peaked cap pulled down combined with my hands cupped around the side of the glasses though I have started exploring possibly clip on dark side shields which would help a lot.

With all of the visible activity taking place in the one swim then that was the obvious place to fish, the chub were constantly moving over the shallow gravel area that I had baited but any barbel present certainly were not, if they were there they were hanging back and with that in mind I swung out my rig to gently land a few feet further downstream into slightly deeper water. I flicked a second rod fifteen yards or so downstream towards a far bank tree and sat back to wait.I couldn't help but hear the odd rumble of thunder in the distance and see worrying looking banks of darkness pass me by, a light shower or two did come my way and one in particular that I had been watching approach looked to be turning nasty when the wind endeavored to send the brolly off downstream but it was an idle threat. 

I was just arranging my waterproof's for easy access when the upstream bait was taken and the rod, which I had left lying on a reedbed rather than on a rest, started to skip through the foliage. On bending into the fish it took off at an incredible pace and my first thoughts were of carp though it soon relented under pressure and moved back into the run under my bank where it held it's own for another couple of minutes before relenting and allowing me to guide the net beneath it's fairly substantial looking frame. Soar barbel and Derwent barbel are completely different beasts, where the Derwent fish are long and lean those from the Soar are stocky creatures and having gotten used to seeing the longer variety lately I found it tricky to guestimate the weight of this one, the scales told me it was 9lb 4oz's and I was happy at that, a good result for my first go on the stretch.

Short and stumpy!

I had promised to be back home at tea time so decided to call it a day at that point only pausing on my way back to the van to ask a ticketless Polish angler to leave, two brand new empty spinner packets were further up the bank too. On my way home I called in on the canal to do my bailiff bit and checked a couple of tickets, the sky was becoming increasingly ominous and I remarked to one bloke that I thought this time we were in for it but he thought otherwise. I had driven for no more than two minutes when the most incredible downpour forced me to slow almost to a halt, the roads were flooded in seconds and it was like driving through a thick fog, surreal. A mile up the road the rain stopped and as I headed towards my town I was in bright sunshine while I could see the houses ahead envelopped in a blanket of low cloud. I was aware of some kind of line across the road ahead and didn't realise what it was until I hit it, the same torrential rain storm, I had just enetered the town when there was the most terrific bang you have ever heard and a flash of lightening ahead, a house no more than two hundred yards away had been hit and the next day on passing a great big hole was visible in the roof. You have to wonder when, or if, this weather will ever get back to some kind of stability don't you, what a crazy year it has been.


  1. Lovely Barbel Rob and even more special when from a new stretch far away from the crowds.

  2. Yes mate it is nice to find a bit of seclusion, unfortunately it didn't last long, more in the next blog!