2009 – Mid-May Blog

As the days lengthen and the thermometer rises I find I’m buzzing around like a blue a***d fly. There’s so much to do and I haven’t even renewed a single club ticket yet. Mustn’t make the same mistake as last year, eh? Lost out on a ticket I seldom used but it was nice to have if only for the stick float fishing it offered when the Trent was carrying a bit of a tinge in summer.


Coaching Success

Improve Your Coarse Fishing ran a competition to win a day’s coaching with my good self and Brian Skoyles at Alderfen Fisheries We threw in Matt Brown as a bonus so the two winners were in very capable hands.



We turned up at 6am on a bleak May morning. The wind was coming out of the East, never a good omen at this time of year, and even Dave the fishery manager didn’t fancy our chances too highly. We chose to set up on the point mainlt because it allowed both guests to fish from the same swim and we could cover quite an area of water.


I rigged up a couple of rods with the new Drennan flat in-line feeders, short 10lb Sink Link hook links to a size 16 hook. Maggots would be the bait today. Blow me if I didn’t get a take within 10 minutes of casting out. Fully expecting a tench it was a pleasant surprice, make that a shock, to see it was a stillwater chub – and a right old clonker of one at that weighing over 6lb. Now that’s the way to begin a coaching feature.


It prompted the fishery manager to admit it was the first time his backside had relaxed for three days!

The chub was quickly followed by a five and a half pound tench and then a lump of a perch pushing a couple of pounds.


When Brian Skoyles popped round to say he’d got some carp feeding in the margins and would one of our guests care to come and catch one, everyone was on cloud nine. By lunchtime, when we adjourned to the fishery hut for a feast of bacon sandwiches washed down with mugs of tea and coffee our competition winners had already racked up FOUR personal bests including a 6-9 tench.


Trust me when I say that features don’t really get much better than this. I’ll stick up a catch picture in a day or two when I can get hold of one.


Barbel Days And Ways Update

Work on the next Barbel Days And Ways DVD continues. The closed season is a great opportunity to shoot some of the underwater footage because the banks are quiet and you’re not disturbing anyone. Unfortunately the fish haven’t completely woken up yet and they’re not feeding quite as avidly as they will do in a few weeks time.


Underwater filming is affected by the weather in exactly the same way as fishing is. If the fish are sulking, they’re sulking, and there’s not much you can do about it.


The water quality isn’t as good in April and early May either and if you get dull, overcast days like we’ve had lately the results leave something to be desired which is a shame because this kind of work eats up a lot of time and effort.


On the positive side we’ve discovered a chub in a local river that’s a good 50% bigger than we had previously imagined the ceiling weight to be. We’re talking a monster fish but alas it is guarded by a bunch of sentinels, smaller and quicker than she is and getting a bait in front of her will be somewhat tricky.


The experiments we’ve done have been somewhat revealing as we gauge reactions to small pellets, big pellets, hemp, meat and so on. We’ve been deliberately stringing tight lines through baited areas to determine what exactly happens and that’s quite shocking. At one stage we had a group of control fish that we were using for each of the experiments. It was as near as we could get to a laboratory, if you like. The shoal included a couple of proper lumps, too.


Then Stu came across a kid with a fishing rod…


He left with a flea in his ear but the next time we returned to film it was clear that someone had been fishing our swim. The bankside vegetation was flattened down, piles of weed, no doubt that had strewn the fishing lines, lay piled up on the bank and the fish in the swim were decidedly spooked. Careful feeding revealed the two largest fish had disappeared.


Now I doubt the kids had caught them, the weed in the vicinity and the snags would make landing any fish without chest waders a trifle tricky. And chances are they’d hook the chub first and spook everything, but our carefully controlled experiment room had been compromised.


If two young boys go missing in North Nottinghamshire only to turn up some weeks later, floating in the Trent, you’ll know who to come looking for. 😉


Childood Revisited

Although the weather is about as hopeless as it gets for rudd fishing I still fancied a day on Mesters On arrival the North East wind was hacking down the lake at a rate of knots and white horses were breaking on the far-end shoreline. It took me about ten seconds to decide my day would best be spent on the ‘little’ lake at the far end. I say ‘little’ but it’s about 7 acres, surrounded by Norfolk reed and you can actually get in to fish in only four spots.


Dave was in the first of these when I arrived and he’d just started getting an odd bite on tares. I dropped in about a hundred yards away and spent the next hour blanking. I didn’t see a fish top or a bubble rise. My swim was dead.


Meantime Dave was catching steadily and Brian Hankin had muscled in alongside him to share the fun. It was tight but I reckoned that I could squeeze in next to Brian without too much difficulty, so there we were, like three little kids, fishing with floats barely a yard apart, betting on who would get the next bite. It took me back 40 years or more to the days when I fished Tilts Pond with me school mates.


Ain’t this the real joy of fishing – the kind of thing Robson Green could never portray in a million years, that it’s not where you fish or what you catch but about the sheer escapism it offers?


Dave and Brian packed up at lunchtime leaving me alone in the swim and I took full advantage. Fishing caster on the drop at about 20 metres I bagged up, taking well over a hundred roach in the three to eight ounce or so bracket. No monsters, just quality redfins with a bite coming practically every cast until I packed up in good time to drive home for tea.



Ethical Double Standards?

The closed season is a great time for taking a foreign trip if you are happy with the moral and ethical conundrum that we feel it’s wrong to fish our own waters yet are quite happy to fish those of others.


I personally have spent many a week fishing in France at this time of year for carp although that has been in stillwaters. Other go to Ireland where it’s still possible to take good bags of bream and roach on the rivers despite what the doom merchants will have you believe. The Low countries are good, too, especially Holland where you’ll find the rivers are still open to angling. Which brings me to a salient point.



I know folk go over to Spain at this time of year to target the comizo barbel (barbus comizo) but how would you feel about catching ‘our‘ barbel (barbus barbus), deliberately, in Holland during the English closed season?


We’re talking about going over there, in the key time when barbel are getting ready to spawn, and fishing for them with pods, bite alarms and bolt rigs, with feeders and pellets…


I wonder how this sits with the Barbel Society members who are so keen to retain a closed season in the UK? Surely not even ONE of their members would commit such an act of hypocrisy, would they? And surely not a high profile one…


I hear the River Waal is on fire at the moment if that’s your kind of thing!


Bloody Minded Waggler Fishing 

A trip back to Alderfen seemed a good idea after the weekend’s success but I really didn’t fancy fishing too seriously so I opted to fish the Match Lake. It’s far from a typical match lake in that while there are carp to be caught, the predominant species are probably bream and tench.


Now I’m pretty certain I could have caught all afternoon had I chucked out a feeder. There were plenty of fish showing at about 40 yards in the lee of an island but I’d come to fish a waggler into the teeth of the wind which was still blowing out of the east. Will it ever end I wonder?


I chose to fish maybe 10 yards out, well down the shelf in about 8 feet of water, on the basis that the fish were hardly likely to be tight up against the margin rushes in this weather. Keeping the float still was practically impossible and even swapping the crystal waggler for a 3 and a half swan driftbeater with a swan shot four inches from the hook failed to stop the drifting.


It didn’t take me long to catch a carp, then a bream of about 3lb but a foul hooked tench put an end to the initial flurry. Bites were hard to tempt and I quite like this kind of fishing but I was able to add a few more fish to my net, ending up with three good bream, a nice tench, a good roach and a hybrid. I missed a few bites and came off a couple of foul hooked fish, all on soft pellets over groundbait.


It’s a water I’ll certainly return to when the weather warms up. I’m assured that one hundred pound bags of bream and tench are on the cards and if I can do that on the waggler then I’ll be a happy bunny.


Out of the blue I received an invite to appear at the Peterborough Tacklefest which I’ve duly agreed to. I was there a couple of seasons ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It’s a great day out, or two if you go for the whole weekend, and it coincides with the Angling Times Winter League final on the river Nene which runs conveniently alongside the showground. If you’re around feel free to drop by and say hello.






So What’s Next?

Over the coming week or so I’m hoping to get down to a local canal where some rather large silver bream have a habit of turning up at this time of year. In fact I had planned to go there tomorrow but with so much rain in the past 24 hours it’ll probably be knocked off as the River Don water runs into it. And another forcasted deluge is on its way but at least that means the wind is turning round to the South West. Good times ahead, I’m gambling.


If we get a bit of sunshine then my attention might switch to crucian carp. They don’t run massive around here but they’re fun to catch all the same and the hair-tearing bites are no different. Just have to see how things go, eh?


Sunday also sees the grand final of my Climax Tackle sponsored Club Match Angler Championship which will be held at Wold View Fisheries. We’re hosting it on the silver lake this year for a change and I’m really looking forward to seing what comes out. Word is there might be a few clonking roach caught among the bream and carp. I’ll let you know how we get on in a week or two.


For now then,


Tight lines!

15 thoughts on “2009 – Mid-May Blog

  1. Great Blog Bob,the guy fishing for barbel in holland wasn’t breaking any laws,was he?Unlike the high profile angler illegally fishing for shad in a recent edition of coarse fisherman magazine.



  2. Thank you for the compliment ‘whiskerton’. As ever your barbs are blunt and impotent.

    Perhaps you can enlighten everyone where any question was raised regarding the legality of fishing for barbel in Holland is questioned in the May Blog other than in your comment. I certainly didn’t question it.

    However the issue raised is one of ethics. You either believe in the closed season and protecting a species you place on a platform, the pinacle of all species, or you don’t, simple as. The geography surely shouldn’t come into it.

    Would you condone the keeping of barbel in keepnets when fishing outside of the UK? Would you use an unhooking mat even?

    It is not illegal for some MPs to have made the claims they have made on their second homes but the ethics are questionable and they are now in no position to preach to others, are they?

    One cannot denounce matchmen and ‘noddies’ for their handling and retention of barbel, their love of catching them from stillwaters and then fish for them abroad in the closed season, can you? You either stand for something or you stand aside.

    The question raised is perfectly valid as it addresses all barbel anglers, not just an individual.

    Regarding your shad comments, if you bother to research the subject you will learn that the angler was fishing quite legally and with the full support of the Wye and Usk Foundation.

    The question as to whether it would be legal today is inconclusive and the EA appear to have no plans to prosecute anyone.

    PS: I did ask you to stop pestering me, following around like a bad smell with your snidey comments and innuendos. Is there some part of that request you don’t understand?

    Remember, as a Tidal Trenter you should be showing respect to all anglers…

  3. Hi Bob I felt the need to correct 1 or 2 points in your blog and question your ethics as well.

    firstly as you are well aware I have just returned from holland and I am the high profile member of the BS you are talking. To correct you there i am just an ordinary every day member of the BS i do not hold any position on the commitee or like wise, i have been asked to and have taken up the offer to bailiff thier trent fishery, other than that i am just an every day member.

    to be a member of the BS you dont not have to agree to either the close season or their policy on still water barbel, if that was the case i wouldnt be a member.

    secondly i did not have any feeling of guilt fishing for barbus barbus in holland last week and still dont now and wont have in the future.

    just a small issue i never used the delkims once or a bolt rig either.

    i feel a little bit miffed that you should decide to have a go at me, yet you feel it ok to be wading about in the river attempting to film barbel underwater when the barbel are preparing to spawn and you are trampling over their spawning beds and disturbing the fish.

    come on bob double standards i think.

    a couple of other things I forgot

    “If two young boys go missing in North Nottinghamshire only to turn up some weeks later, floating in the Trent, you’ll know who to come looking for”.

    This statement is in very bad taste and I think you should remove it.

    I went to holland off of my own back and represented my self nobody from the BS asked me to go and i did not represent them in any way

    judging by the good turnout at last weeks BS berks meeting and the number of questions asked after my slides on the dutch trip. a good few more might make the trip next year.

  4. So,you caught the shad by accident? Or it’s legal to fish for them? I’m a trouble causer as everyone knows and I do like to make a fool of myself, from time to time.


  5. Bob,
    Do you think its a good idea to be filming on the river bed when the barbel are “preparing to spawn”, no better than fishing in Holland at the moment I would say, what say you?


  6. Dear Ade

    I didn’t name you in the blog as the moral stance of travelling abroad to fish for barbus barbus just across the North Sea in the closed season is much more important than the individual.

    However, as you have responded and stated that you are more than happy to fish for pre-spawn barbel in a neighboring country is it unreasonable of me to ask whether you would abolish the closed season in the UK?

    As someone who travels round the country giving entertaining presentations to Barbel Society regions you are in touch with the grass roots and I find it very disappointing that a good few more BS members are keen to make the trip to Holland next year as a result of your recent slide show at the Society’s Berkshire Region meeting.

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but isn’t fishing for barbel in Northern climes between the arbitrary dates laid down by law (in this country) somewhat hypocritical if we are so determined to elevate barbel to be a precious, ‘special’ fish in the UK?

    What is the point of promoting ethical codes for care and conservation, to insist on unhooking mats, banning keepnets, safe returning, alienating stillwater anglers and match anglers, while defending the closed season in the UK with petitions and multifarious forum threads if those who are in a key position to influence Barbel Society members themselves operate under double standards?

    I put it to you that you and everyone else might reconsider the timing of your future trips after barbus barbus. After all, if it’s okay in Holland then it must be okay in the UK and that is to undermine the good work done by the Barbel Society.

    Stu and I considered filming a future slot for BD&W on a River not a million miles from where you fished and we decided against shooting it in the closed season because we simply felt that it contradicted our principles.

    Regarding the ‘two little boys’ reposte, the smiley face on the end of the sentence is there as a clue for those who have recently had a sense of humour bypass.

    With regard to your comment, “film(ing) barbel underwater when the barbel are preparing to spawn“, I’ve addressed it in my response to the post by the ‘Laird of Hazelford’ below.

  7. Dear Tony,

    How apt that you should use exactly the same wording as Ade, “filming on the river bed when the barbel are preparing to spawn“…

    Now a suspicious mind would think you had colluded but that would be beneath you, surely?

    The suggestion from the pair of you is that Stu and I are ‘trampling over the spawning grounds and disturbing the fish‘ and quite frankly we are doing nothing of the sort. We are in fact no-where near the spawning grounds and these fish are drawn by the bait we introduce into open water chosen by us as the filming location.

    As for disturbing the fish, had you seen the presentation I gave to the Barbel Society Conference two weeks ago you would have seen clear filmed evidence that barbel actually remained in the immediate vicinity of us when we were stood in the river.

    Barbel are not disturbed by people, they are disturbed by angling. They have no fear of free food, believe me.

    If I truly wished to disturb barbel on their spawning grounds I’d probably fish somewhere below Hazelford weir during the opening two weeks of the fishing season, mate, and facilitate others doing it, too.

    But you wouldn’t do anything as hypocritical as that would you?

  8. You’re right Bob, best I find something better to do with my time than to keep pestering you all the time.



  9. Mike,

    I’ve explained till I’m blue in the face. You’re a pest and I’d like you to stop contacting me in any way, shape or form.

    My cursor has been hovering over the spam button for a while and it would be so easy to put you on the blocked senders list however I have to balance that against the fact you do a better job than I do in promoting the site.

    Traffic was up significantly yesterday.

    Thank you.

  10. Thanks for the response bob not much other than what i expected.

    for your info Tony Rocca did notify me of your ramblings but other than that we havent spoke on the subject, so his written comments have nothing to do with me or vice versa.

    I am well aware of the work of the BS on trying to maintain the close season and their stance on the still water barbel issue. it doesnt mean i or any other member has to agree with them.

    if the close season is so precious to you and your god the barbel, then keep out of the rivers and leave them alone until the 16th of June, when you can film or fish to your hearts content, but as you and me are well aware by the glorious 16th in 7 out of the last 10 seasons that barbel still havent spawned. sort of makes a mockery out of the current close season rules

  11. Hi Bob,

    It’s Mikey – you know – Mike Joyce from Joyce Interiors? Most know me as the guy who calls himself ‘whiskerton’ (without a capital ‘W’) and I’m doing my damnedest to make myself look a complete prat today.

    You see, I’ve registered email accounts using your name with wanadoo, yahoo, googlemail, btinternet and hotmail so far. That way I can post idiotic comments on your web site and everyone will think it’s you who’s talking rubbish. Clever, eh? Am I going to make you look stupid, Bob!

    Of course no-one will rumble my spiffing wheeze, will they?

    I’m a little concerned though, as someone has pointed out that it’s possible to spot that all these posts come from the same IP address ( but my mate Tony reckons he can get round that.

    In fact so far he’s already used two IP addresses ( and and several aliases like Gordon Bennett and Mike Trahern in an attempt to post similar silly comments on your site. Bet you didn’t spot them, did you?

    Have to say though, I think your site’s brilliant. I can’t keep away from it. I’m on it all the time these days. When’s the next Blog due? I’m really looking forward to it.

    Oh well, must press on Bobby boy – much mischief to attend to.

    Bye, bye.


  12. Mike,

    As you can see I have an oportunity to edit every one of your toxic posts and make you look rather foolish, so why don’t you just do everyone a favour and go away?

    Really, no one’s laughing unless they’re laughing AT you. So far, the only person you’ve managed to make look stupid with these childish antics is yourself.

    I have deleted your other recent posts and registered your address as a spammer.

    It’s pointless you trying to make further comments so perhaps it’s time for you to quit now.



  13. Bob. I really do feel sorry for you in that the only way you can get anyone to look at this site and blog is to insult people.
    I noticed when you do a normal one no one bothers to comment. You have become irrelevant to all. If it wasn’t for your supported and sponsored FM adverts the question would be as your home page

    Who is Bob Roberts?

  14. Does this comment not say less about Bob Roberts and everything we need to know about Graham Elliott?

    Abusive? Insecure? You be the judge, not I. He actually left two comments but I’ll not bore you with the other. Needless to say it was the usual balloon of hot air, threats and insults.

    I’m sure he’ll claim he’s kind to animals and that he helps old ladies across busy roads but even were it true it could never disguise the measure of this man.

    Graham, please do everyone who visits this site by choice a big favour and stick to posting on BFAMWY (where you will find a sychophantic audience in Rocca and Joyce) rather than posting petty and purile insults in a place where no-one actually cares.

    As for the ‘supported and sponsored adverts on FM’ slur I’m afraid this is another pure figment of your deluded imagination. I can only deduce you are aiming a deliberate insult at the editor of FM and to the site owners who in the past were good enough to allow you ample freedom to promote your books and guiding service.

    I shall leave your final post on here for all to read as that is what you so patently wanted. I hope it gives you the satisfaction you crave. As for contributing any future comments on this site, please save yourself the effort as they will be deleted automatically in the same manner as those made by your friends are.

    Just in case I have not made myself perfectly clear, you are not welcome on this site.

    Being optimistic by nature I am hopeful that sooner or later you will each come to understand this message.


  15. iam a 28 year old who has been fishing properly for the past five years, reading these comments are the funniest things ive read in a age, not for their content but the fact that you guys are arguing like a bunch of school girls. iam sure that where passion is involved, arguments are ultimately forseeable-but c`mon guys, have you heard yourselves? (as my mum would say)

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