2010 – Early August Blog

The stocking of barbel in stillwaters is a contentious issue with some individuals, so much so that they would see captively bred barbel destroyed rather than be released into ponds. But here’s a question for you: Can you define what a stillwater actually is?

You see, to me, a canal is a stillwater, even though it does actually flow at times thanks to the openingof locks and the toppingup from compensation reservoirs. However you can fish canals in the closed season. They do not flood in the same way a river might and they only exist because of boats. So what of canal barbel? Are they swimming wild and free or are they stillwater fish?

I know there are a few kicking around in the South Yorkshire Canal network as odd ones have cropped up in matches. There are some in the Trent and Mersey Canal, especially near where it meets the Trent, although they might be classed as migrants. But what of, say, the Coventry Canal?

Old Macca, who had all those amazing Great Ouse fish at the start of the season sent me a picture the other day of another cracking double – this one weighed 13lb – but not from the Ouse – no, he had it from the Coventry Canal on a Mistral i40 boilie.

Ironically he was only fishing there because his work situation’s not great right now and couldn’t afford the petrol money to drive down to the Ouse

Doesn’t count mate, just ask anyone from the Barbel Police!


Is The Dove Boom Faltering?

The River Dove has been a sensation in recent seasons. The quality of fishing and the quantity of fish to be caught was the equal of almost anything in the country. Lots of fish, a high average size and one or two big individual specimens running to more than 17lb. But are they going backwards?

You’ve seen some of the fish that Stu’s caught this season in my recent blogs – crackingdoubles and he’s made it look almost easy, but most anglers are really struggling for more than the occasional fish. Lots are racking up blank after blank. The smaller fish have been noticeably absent.

Anyway, James Gould, who has travelled to India and Uganda with Stu and me also endured a tough start to his Dove season but he’s finally come good on a session with his dad. The old man had an 11lb 14oz barbel whilst james had a fabulous fish weighing 15lb, bang on the money.

However, it was the same fish he photographed for another angler when it weighed 16lb 2oz and it just happens to be the same fish which holds the river record at over 17lb. Even allowing for the fact he caught it in late July that’s a big drop in weight.

No Sh*t Sherlock!

I used to be a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, to the point where I would order books from the library archives that had long since been removed from the shelves. Conan Doyle was a superb writer and with the singular exception of Jeremy Brett, none of the TV or film adaptations has ever come close to capturing the Holmes I visualised, the imperious, tortured, haunted, drug addicted, intellectual obsessive with gay undertones, but boy-oh-boy the latest stab by the BBC looks like it could be the best attempt by a country mile.

If you missed it, then catch it on i-playerwhile you can. We can all visualise Sherlock in Victorian times, foggy London, horse drawn carriages and deer stalkers, but giving Sherlock a modern twist (it’s set in the present) is a masterstroke, while Benedict Cumberbatch is simply superb as Holmes. Martin Freeman makes a great Watson, too, and you can’t help wondering if we’ve missed out on a classic Doctor Who incarnation.

This kind of drama is what the BBC was invented for.

Images Of Cyprus

I was in Cyprus this past week. Sue and I rented a house, hired a jeep and just chilled out for a week. The days we spent off-roading around the Akamas peninsula were pretty spectacular and I might share a few photos next time. However, while doing a bit of research before hand on Google Earth I came across some cracking images and they all seemed to be taken by the same person or bore the same logo (Arch Photos) so, as you do, I Googled the logo and came across the guy’s Facebook page

Just take a look and give credit where it’s due. Okay, there’s more than a hint of Photoshop about them but by heck, he’s a pretty creative snapper!

Live Aid – 25 Years On

Did you catch any of the programmes on TV that celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Live Aid on the Beeb? Fascinating documentary about how it all came together and you have to say old Sir Bob had a lot of front to pull it off.

I’ve never actually spoken to Bob Geldof but I have stood next to him at the Hammersmith Odeon. A band I used to manage were on stage and I was stood right at the back behind the stalls when he wandered in to watch. I generally treat all men alike and don’t get tongue tied but it was one off those rare occasions when I simply didn’t know what to say and one I’ve regretted ever since.

Do you recall that image of a demonic Geldof berating the live TV audience, demanding, “Give me your f***ing money!”  Everyone does, don’t they?

Billy Connolly was sat next to him and he recals it clearly, and does a fine impression.

The BBC producer and presenter both remember it plainly. It was live TV after all and there was nothing they could do to prevent it being broadcast to the nation.

Geldof was even characterised on Spitting Image doing it.

Yet it never happened. Can you believe that Geldof never actually said, “Give me your f***ing money!”

Honestly, he didn’t. It’s just another of those urban legends.

Bit like “All barbel anglers should pile it in!”.




Out of interest I checked back through my old diaries to see where I was on that incredible day and guess what – this Bob went fishing. Hardly a surprise. I actually drew peg 37 on Barnsley and District’s water at Fiskerton which is not far from the fence end in what’s now called ‘the Horsefield’.

Turns out I had a bit of a nightmare match. I overlaid in the morning and narrowly missed the bus so I had to drive down to the Trent on my own. However, if I wanted to fish the match I would not only have to stand the petrol, I’d also have to pay for a seat on the bus for good measure. Ouch!

Then I fished like a clampit, losing a carp, dropping three chub straight back into the river instead of into the keepnet, lost loads of tackle in a snag and missed out on framing by two ounces.

But I still had the last laugh. The bus broke down on the way home and I was able to enjoy my Saturday evening at home watching Live Aid while they hung around on the side of the A1 waiting for a relief bus!

Four days later I fished on what is now the Barbel Societywater at Sutton, peg 15, and had a good 20lb of skimmers and hybrids on the waggler without hooking a single bonus fish. I was back at Sutton the following Saturday to finish second in a match with just 2lb 13oz 8dr.

The week prior to Live Aid I’d won a match at Carlton, which is the length immediately below the ‘new’ CEMEX water, with 18lb 14oz using waggler, hemp and caster. According to the diary entry I had struggled early on but had them crawling up the rod in the last hour. I’d returned to Carlton on the Thursday in gale force winds to catch 21lb, a weight I might have doubled in calmer conditions. The only other session I managed to cram in that week was a few hours on the River Dearne at Harlington for two small chub.

Two weeks later I had around 90lb of fish in an afternoon below Muskham Viaducts including 20 bream to 5lb 2oz, hybrids (that we now know were silver bream) to 2lb 14oz (a British Record breaker), chub to 2lb 11oz, a 1lb 12oz eel, perch and the odd roach. The stretch is now better known as the A1 Pits fishery.

Funny how folk keep ‘discovering’ these new places and then acting like they’ve always owned them…

So who says we’re not creatures of habit?

Joma Cup Farce

It all seemed a tad embarrassing when Doncaster Rovers pulled out of the Joma Cup. Hello, we’ve practically established ourselves in the Championship, we’ve spent a million pounds on a striker and suddenly we’re getting a bit above ourselves. But then the plot thickened.

Turns out Shrewsbury Town qualified for the final and then pulled out, too. That left the organisers with a bit of a dilemma. So what did they do? Well, according to those who turned up to watch the final, it went ahead with Blackpool playing against Havant and Waterlooville.

Meanwhile it was announced on the Blackpool web site that they would be awarded the cup irrespective of the outcome and that the match would actually be a 40 minutes each-way friendly. Those inside the ground were completely unaware of this.

Unfortunately Havantwent 2-0 up… Oh dear, must have been the thought running through the organiser’s minds, how do we get out of this one then?

Fortunately Blackpool turned it around, but when they went 3-2 up after 35 minutes of the second half the ref blew his whistle – game over – presumably just in case!

What an absolute farce.

Can I just say that the Championship hasn’t yet kicked off and I’m feeling a little nervous… It’s going to be a decidedly strange year. I just know it.

Breaking News: Home from holiday and it looks like things are beginning to shape up okay. Wins over West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday mean little but it’s a good way to round off the pre-season preparations.

Oil Spill In Stormy Waters

I see that attempts to cap the oil spill off Florida had to be suspended due to the approach of Tropical Storm Bonnie. Poor bloke asks for it, I know, but surely there’s a limit to what you can blame Fred for…

On a serious note though, I’m getting heartily sick and tired of the folk who persist in leaving negative and inflammatory comments on here about Fred, Steve Pope and the Barbel Society. What part of I DONT CARE do they not understand? I will continue to make my own observations about any Society I choose and whilst my views may not be comfortable for certain individuals, they are honest opinions and more importantly they always seek to achieve a constructive outcome.

I’m seriously considering running a rogues gallery on the front page of my blog listing the folk I would rather didn’t bother visiting my web site with a further list beneath of those who I am just barely tolerating right now. ‘Tis only the fact that they’d glory in the attention that prevents me from doing it.

I am not a cheer leader for the dysfunctional, the outcasts, the disgruntled nor the inadequate. The Barbel Society is a fishing club. It has its faults and it isn’t a democracy. So what’s new? I raised those issues eight years ago and the very folk who seem hell bent on destroying it today are the very folk who criticised me for voicing my opinions back then. Get over it.

Those who wish to make constructive comments about the situation or offer suggestions on how things might be improved are welcome to share their views here (although I am not inviting them – you’d be better off leaving messages on Steve and Fred’s own blogs) but all I’m hearing right now is negative sniping, back-biting and downright attempts at character assassination. It’s destructive and it’s personal, so take it up withthe persons involved. Yours is a private matter, not a public one and nothing whatsoever to do with www.bobrobertsonline.co.uk

No-one is perfect and nowhere is that more clear than in the actions and words of those cackling witches who appear to spend all their time obsessing on the Society and the individuals within it. They will not rest or be satisfied until it is completely broken. And if that is so, get on with it, but do it elsewhere, not here.

Sermon over.



Check Your Ego’s At The Door Please…

In the same way that fishing is supposed to be fun, so is music. If ego’s abound in fishing they simply soar into the stratosphere where music’s concerned so why don’t you settle down and listen to a bit of plain old fun. Music with a twist. Think Rolf Harris performing Stairway to Heaven at Glastonbury. Then think Hank Williams meets AC/DC. If that brings a smile to your face then join me at the Knuckleheads saloon, Kansas for a live performance by the Hayseed Dixie band…

Honestly, it’s amazing. A bluegrass jug band playing AC/DC, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Zep, Beastie Boys, Queen, the Beatles and more.

Now these are guys would be fun to fish with!

More blogging next week when I’ve recovered from the holiday and spent a bit of time tramping the Wye banks once more. And if you were slow reading to the bottom of this blog, let me just remind you that you missed me on Sky TV’s Tight Lines show (Friday 6th August)!

See you next time.

10 thoughts on “2010 – Early August Blog

  1. No real comment on the canal barbel,apart from they perhaps got there by their own choice!

    I agree with your assessment of Sherlock though Bob, it’s very clever.

    You are also always very correct on the other matter too,at long last it’s sunk in, “..it really doesn’t matter…”(’72)

    Great Blog, what odds on Liverpool winning the Premier now they’ve stolen our manager? Not a bit certain about Hughes!!!

    Oh yes,I’ve pinched your storm Bob,thanks.

  2. I forgot to mention Hayseed Dixie where quite popular on Radio 2, a year or so ago, on that bloke Vines show, made a change for him to have something worth listening too!!

    Cyprus is the only island we’ve visited more than once.Great memmories of good times and journeys.

  3. You’re welcome to the storm image Fred. I did it a week or so ago when it was topical(!) but had to hold it over so I’d have a new blog to publish on my return yesterday.

    Well, I say yesterday. Spent last night trying to grab some sleep in the Paphos Airport departure lounge after our flight home was cancelled. Consequently didn’t arrive home until this afternoon.

    A 13-hour delay when you’ve already returned the jeep, checked in your luggage and passed through security is the last thing you need…

    As for Liverpool winning the Prem, I simply cannot see it. Europa League at best I’d suggest. As for Fulham, I feel the bar’s been raised unexpectedly and I doubt Hodgson could have sustained the progress. Mid-table finish at best say’s Mystic Bob.

  4. Hi Bob,

    Another interesting update, the big barbel from the canal is amazing!

    Just picking up on your point about people contacting me, have to say if its from certain individuals they would be wasting their time, I delete anything that attempts to change the atmosphere on my website.

    As you know far better than me, ninety nine point nine percent of anglers we come across are thoroughly nice and decent people and they are welcome in my world at any time, the other point one percent basically don’t exist as far as I’m concerned!

    Anyway looking forward to your next instalment, you had better keep busy because August may turn out to be a busy old month on the blogging front!

    All the best,


  5. Hi Bob, only the other month i found my Diary from fishing the Trent in the Late 80’s as a teenager. One day fishing Attenborough, bang opposite the Broken half in the water boat shed on the island. The only way i could catch, was by hitting the roof and rolling the feeder off, just like knocking on the door i always thought, 23lb bag of prime Trent Chub to win by a mile.
    Totally agree with your paragraph regarding the BS, far too many negatives and not enough positive s for me, and the same old and friends sticking the knives in.
    As for Sherlock, i really hope the suspense it brings to sunday nights.


  6. Bob, i have a new superbait for Barbel. You are not going to believe this!

    I was fishing my club water the Upper River Lea at Wheathampstead. While I’m waiting for my next take, I decided to use that precious time and have some lunch. After eating my sandwich, I decided to participate in one of my Eccles cakes. Whilst munching away on this cake, a piece fell to the ground, so i threw it in. The current picked it up and took it down stream about 15 yards, and then to my amazement, I saw a Barbel come to the surface and take it off the top!

    I couldn’t believe my eyes!

    So, I carefully hair rigged another piece to my set up, then did exactly the same…. I let the current take it down stream, letting out line as it went then BANG! a barbel came up and took it. The result was a 9lbs 4oz mint condition barbel. What a result.

    I can just see it now…. Mini Eccles cakes sold in tackle shops throughout the UK…. £10 a bag!

    Whatever next… Floating crust!

    Anyway, I wonder if anyone can help? I’m looking for a really soft Florocarbon hooklink. The Barbel where I fish tend to take ok with Floro. I’ve tried Braids and Coated braids, but they shy away from it. After watching one of your DVD’s, it’s put me off Floro hooklinks, but I’m just wondering if there is an alternative out there?



  7. Hello Bob.

    Enjoyed your appearance on Tight Lines the other week. At one point you were describing how you fish the Trent by starting off loose feeding and then switching to a bait dropper? You were then interrupted by Keith (bless him) and the subject changed to small river fishing.

    Can you give a bit more info on how use the bait dropper in this situation and how you fish over the top of the feed? Do you carry on running a stick float down? Do you change depth or do you switch to a bomb or feeder?


  8. Hi Noel,

    The reason I begin a float fishing session introducing loose feed is to attract chub. I love catching chub but as you may have seen in the Barbel Days And Way DVD’s it is absolutely clear that feeding chub will draw barbel into your swim.

    Loose feeding draws chub off the bottom and gets them competing. It is my aim to catch as many of these chub as possible until I hook a barbel at which point they have served their purpose and I then target the barbel specifically.

    The bait dropper concentrates food on the bottom where the barbel will be searching for it although it will be swept along on the current drawing more fish from downstream.

    I simply continue fishing the stick float on the line I was loose feeding (the bait dropper goes on the same line, too), occasionally pushing the shotts lower down the rig but I will still present my bait at the speed of the current.

    This belief that you need great big floats to present a bait to barbel is so fundamentaly flawed it shows that those who promote it have little idea what they’re talking about.

    Fortunately most float fishing for barbel is done for effect or by those jumping on a fashionable band wagon.

    Sadly they have little idea what they are doing which means they’ll soon give up. Strange how they’ll blank for ten hours on a feeder and still keep going but half an hour on a float without a bite and their bottle goes…!

    Takes all sorts though.

  9. While its been Low and clear on the Trent Bob, instead of looking at 2 Barbel rods pointing skywards; I have also rekindled the urge to get the float rod out and being doing rather well and enjoying it so much i dont even take the big guns no more.
    Its like the old days, but just a step up in line. Until the weather breaks for the worse i cant see them coming out. Great Blog Bob and yes i wondered when the next was coming as we had a glut of entertainment last month.


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