Extreme fishing

Okay, so fishing for chub on a Sussex stream (for example) isn’t quite as dramatic as watching Robson or Jeremy doing battle with some brutal beast on the Amazon or Atlantic, but it’s easy to overlook the incredibly diverse range of angling adventures on offer in the UK. Actually getting out into nature and experiencing the thrill of finding, hooking, seeing, holding and returning a wild fish is pretty extreme wherever you are, when you actually think about it…

Like many other fisherman I do wish one of the major TV production companies would be brave enough to fund a high quality, informed and engaging programme that really explores the stories of the fish and fishing to be found in the UK.

Late autumn colours on the Wye valley
Late autumn colours on the Wye valley

I indulged in my own version of extreme fishing on Saturday, fishing a flooded and rising river Wye in search of a late autumn barbel.

I’d been hoping to try for the river’s pike and perch populations, but with the weather mild ‘n’ wild and the river the colour of the stewed tea in my flask, I opted to fish for old Boris – a suitably extreme fish that thrives in such extreme conditions.

I made up a mix of various pellets, dampened them with hemp and proceeded to dump a few feeder full’s into the river. Even a rod length out required a 5oz feeder to hold bottom and the flow combined with the sheer amount of crap in the river and the rising water meant I made my first cast unsure as to if a fish would oblige.

And for two hours, none did. Then, just as I was contemplating a move, the tip bounced round unexpectedly – fish on! A barbel raced into the mid-river maelstrom and at this point of the battle it really was a case of simply hanging on! As the fish bored upstream, taking line off the clutch it reminded me yet again quite how much fun floodwater barbel fishing is.

A pale Wye floodwater barbel
A pale Wye floodwater barbel

Fortunately the strong gear soon told and I netted a stocky, pale barbel. I thought it may be the precursor to a few more bites, but after another quiet hour, I again considered a move. And again this thought coincided with another bite. This time the resistance was less obvious and it wasn’t long before a nice chub came to the net.

A long and lean Wye chub
A long and lean Wye chub

And that was it. The river was rising quite noticeably when I took a glance at the football results coming in. So I finished my flask of tea, made those inevitable three or four last casts and was home in time for dinner.


Author: tescovalue79

Age: 37. Work: Marketing & communications. Like: fishing, art, ITFC, good music, bad pubs.

5 thoughts on “Extreme fishing”

    1. Hi Nathan, thanks. Not the most spectacular session, but satisfying all the same. Good luck on the Kennet (today) mate and congrats on the Pallatrax role!

  1. Looked a very nice trip and an absolutely stunning venue Ben.
    Regarding a fishing program that covers the fishing available in the
    uk, now that would really be something, small streams to the larger waterways in this country, it would make for some great viewing, sadly tv companies are more interested in what they seem to think is a safe bet. Ah well we can live in hope I guess.

    1. Hi Mark. Thanks for your comments. It was a fun trip and you’re right – it’s an amazing place to wet a line, you should come over at some point, though you seem to be doing okay on the barbel front at the moment!

      Regarding a fishing programme – I just think there is scope for something that shows the great diversity of fishing in the UK. Extreme fishing/River Monsters are undoubtedly entertaining shows, but I think with a decent budget, sharp script, engaging presenter and a programme that explores ‘why’ rather than just ‘how’ could be a winner… I’m thinking rock hopping for wrasse, Sea trout at night, why do barbel love floodwater? Why do perch thrive in commercials? I think the fish that live in our waterways are as exciting as the giants from exotic, far flung corners of the globe and their individual stories just as interesting… But perhaps it’s just me.

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