End of an Era

Pete Reading has decided to step down from the BS committee.

He has been an absolute stalwart over the past ten years especially in his role as Research and Conservation Chairman. On behalf of the Society we would like to say a huge thank you to Pete for his commitment and expertise which have been invaluable to the Society. He will be a hard act to follow but we have strong foundations in place and this will enable the good work to continue and flourish.

We wish Pete all the very best in his retirement from committee work.

The Barbel Society Committee – January 2017

By |January 20th, 2017|News|Comments Off on End of an Era|

Major pollution incident on River Teifi highlights national failure of government to tackle agricultural pollution

This week the River Teifi in Wales, which was once one of the premier salmon and sea trout rivers in the UK, was polluted with farm slurry and hundreds, possibly thousands, of fish have been killed. The impact on fish stocks is likely to be very severe for up to a decade, and thousands of both local and visiting anglers who bring money into the Welsh economy will have their sport destroyed.

Fish Legal, a membership association for angling clubs and fishery owners, is fighting more than 60 legal cases throughout the UK and is investigating the Teifi pollution case to see if it can make a compensation claim for its member angling clubs and riparian owners who have been affected. However, many elderly anglers who have fished the river all their lives may not live to see it restored to its former glory. Thousands of anglers on internet forums have expressed their fury in the past two days about the pollution of this beautiful river.

This tragic incident is the latest in a rising tide of major pollutions from farms affecting rivers in England and Wales. Government figures show that farming is now the top cause of major pollution incidents and also the principal cause of the general malaise affecting the majority of rivers. The Angling Trust has repeatedly called for tougher regulation of farmers for more than five years, including earlier this month on BBC Countryfile, but governments in Westminster and Cardiff have chosen to take a light touch to regulation.

The Angling Trust is, coincidentally, this week responding to a consultation from Welsh Assembly Government about a proposal to define the whole of Wales as a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, which would place greater restrictions […]

By |December 22nd, 2016|News|Comments Off on Major pollution incident on River Teifi highlights national failure of government to tackle agricultural pollution|

Tony Miles

The Barbel Society is very saddened to hear that one of our founder members, highly respected specimen angler and writer Tony Miles has passed away.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.

By |December 8th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Tony Miles|

Hampshire Avon fish habitat projects

The Barbel Society (BS), Environment Agency (EA) and Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust (WCSRT) are pleased to announce details of the latest habitat improvement projects completed as part of a continuing partnership which plans to improve habitat for fish fry and other wildlife on the Hampshire Avon.

Using funding provided by the EA and BS, and technical and logistical support from WCSRT, ten log deflectors and five fry bays were constructed at a site near Fordingbridge, which will improve diversity of flow and create refuges for fish fry of all species, as well as connecting hundreds of metres of water meadow ditches to the main river. Live willow was also planted to create overhead and instream cover.

An old silted flight pond, within an old oxbow area, upstream of Ringwood, has been enlarged and connected to the river via a ditch, creating a large backwater which will again be an important refuge for fish fry of all species, as well as important plants, invertebrates and other wildlife.

Pete Reading, Conservation Officer for the Barbel Society said; “We are delighted with the positive results of our continuing partnership with the EA and WCSRT, and also with local landowners, and can see huge benefits for fish and other wildlife from these restoration measures”

Richard Battersby, Fisheries Team Leader for the Environment Agency said; “This is one of a number of projects we have delivered in partnership across the Wessex Area which has benefitted both fish and their habitat. Funding has been and is available through our Fisheries Improvement Programme which is directly funded by rod licence holders through the purchase of their EA rod licence. I would urge any interested clubs or groups who have any projects in mind […]

By |December 6th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Hampshire Avon fish habitat projects|

An appeal to all anglers from the Angling Trust

The Angling Trust is pressing hard to secure a better outcome for threatened bass stocks at the crucial forthcoming meeting of EU fisheries ministers on December 12th.

Across Northern Europe, sea bass stocks are in deep trouble because of commercial overfishing and the repeated failure of politicians and fishery managers to follow scientific advice and introduce the necessary conservation measures. The Angling Trust and Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society (B.A.S.S.) have pressed hard for a ban on bass netting and we fully support the EU Commission’s proposals for 2017 for a sustainable and well managed recreational and commercial hook and line only bass fishery.

Last year’s disproportionate restrictions on anglers and increased commercial catch limits were bad for bass, bad for coastal businesses, bad for the tackle trade and damaging to our sport. The Commission’s proposals would not only see the removal of the damaging bass nets, which also kill sea birds, porpoises, dolphins and seals, but the introduction of a more flexible monthly bag limit for anglers. This would be good news for the struggling charter boat fleet and for the fishing tackle trade as more anglers would once again go bass fishing.

But there’s a real danger that the proposals will be watered down in the face of political pressure from commercial fishermen and so we need to stand up and be counted as anglers.

The campaign seems to be going well and we already have over 6,000 signatures on our national petition. Lots of people have gone on to the campaign page to either sign or to send an email to their MP. However, we need to keep the pressure up and this is where YOU can help.

It would be great if you could sign the […]

By |December 1st, 2016|News|Comments Off on An appeal to all anglers from the Angling Trust|

Angling Trust reminds Water Minister of government promises to protect our rivers

The Angling Trust has written to the recently appointed Water Minister, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, to urge her to fulfil promises from previous Ministers to reform the water abstraction licensing system and afford better protection to our precious rivers.

The Angling Trust, alongside conservation and fisheries NGOs, has been calling for a reform of abstraction licensing policy for several years and the government announced last December its intention to do this, but there has been little or no progress subsequently and there are worrying indications that the promise to act is going to be broken.

The current regime, which is the national system that approves water being taken from the environment for use by the public, businesses and farms, was formally created by the Water Act of 1963, by amalgamating previous licences into a single permitting regime.

At the time, this was done with little or no consideration of what level of abstraction our water bodies could actually supply without causing harm to wildlife. Today, a third of river catchments in England and Wales are either ‘over-licensed’ or ‘over-abstracted’ according to Environment Agency figures, with more water taken out than the environment can sustain. Furthermore, around 600 water bodies are at risk of failing to meet EU Water Framework Directive standards due to low flows resulting from abstraction.

There are some promising indications of change. Earlier this year the government consulted on proposals to bring a raft of damaging abstractions into the licensing system that were previously exempt from any control, under the banner of New Authorisations. This will include highly damaging trickle irrigation, water transfers between water bodies, and dewatering of mines, quarries and engineering works.
However, a far more fundamental change is required if the UK is […]

By |November 30th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Angling Trust reminds Water Minister of government promises to protect our rivers|

Regional Roundup – Midshires Region

Mid-shires region started the season off with two fish-ins, at our glorious Bransford fishery, on the river Teme. Thankfully, the weather was kind to us on both weekends – it was summer after all but I would not be surprised if snow turns up these days.

We banked just shy of ten barbel upto 9lbs, over both weekends, and around five hundred thousand bait robbin’ chub. So with the BBQ and sunshine added for good measure, fun was had all round.

We are yet to confirm dates, but we will be holding another Bransford summer fish-in for 2017, so please keep an eye on your inbox and the BS forums for updates coming very soon.

The same goes for a last minute regional winter fish-in, we’re just waiting on confirmation from a local angling club, but it will most likely be around the end of February so that we don’t interfere with anyones end of season angling plans.

The river Severn has been fishing relatively well for those putting in the time, there have been some tremendous multiple catch sessions from Shrewsbury through to Worcester – especially for those using the float and rolling baits. 10-15 barbel is very doable in the right areas. Upwards of 20 fish was recently taken at Sydney Avenue, Shrewsbury, on the float (Shropshire Anglers Federation). Knowle Sands/Danery on the Birmingham Anglers Association can be very prolific when caught right, and there are some very good middle Severn specimens lurking around too.
Pop into Bewdley Tackle & Leisure if you’re in the area and Adam Sheriff will put on the fish. BS members get 10% of everything also!

Hopefully see a few of you down Pixham before the season ends, it’s due a […]

By |November 25th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Regional Roundup – Midshires Region|

Regional Roundup – Staffordshire Region

2016 started off with a new regional organiser (me, Andy Degville). My first regional meeting was held on April 2nd, at the Doveridge Club. I gave an introduction talk regarding myself, providing a brief fishing history, with particular emphasis on my recent barbel exploits. Paul Floyd, who gave a great insight into his fishing roots, all the way from Australia, and his more recent successes regarding barbel fishing, provided the main talk. As always, we had a raffle with some great prizes, plus the Hook Bait company and Specimen Angling attended with a selection of their wares.

November 20th was the date of the second meeting for 2016, at the same venue, again with the Hook Bait Company and Specimen Angling in attendance. The format was slightly different; instead of two talks, we had one talk and a fishing discussion. Simon Asbury gave the talk, a really interesting and thought provoking presentation, with some excellent under water footage. I facilitated a fishing discussion, which involved some good audience participation, with some very experienced barbel anglers sharing some of their ‘ways of fishing’.

A couple of clubs worth a mention with plenty of good waters within the Staffordshire Region are the Burton Mutual Angling Association & the Stoke Angling Society. The BMAA have nine miles of rivers to fish, including the River Dove and the Upper Trent. Some very big fish have come out of the BMAA stretches on the Dove; including the current river record at 18lb 6oz. Barbel Society committee member Simon Asbury had a 15lb 1oz Barbel from the Dove in 2016.

Though not as prolific as the lower Trent, there are still some very good fish in the BMAA Trent waters. I know of […]

By |November 25th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Regional Roundup – Staffordshire Region|

Regional Roundup – South London Region

As some of you may have noticed I am the new RO for that particularly salubrious but slightly run down part of the Metropolis. As this is where I live with my half Italian partner; who due to this dual nationality makes the lovely Julie, always permanently furious about one thing or another! Especially with me when in her words ‘you’re not disappearing off to that fishing/Jolly again’ (this has been edited for the sake of children reading this missive).

Anyway, a bit about me would be in order I guess. I caught my first fish, a Bleak, on the Thames at Windsor when I was about 10 years old. And like most of us have developed a lifelong obsession and passion for all things angling.

Moving on, I met my first Barbel at about 14 years old fishing in a fur and feather match with the Bermondsey and District Angling Club (do these still happen I wonder?). On a flooded River Thames again at Windsor, it weighed 5lb 2oz in old money. Tactics being homemade swim feeder one of the older blokes showed me how to make fished in a slack under a bush and a lot of luck. Bit like I do now really but with a swim feeder that costs an arm and leg.

Been a passionate Barbel angler from then on I guess. Fishing most if not all rivers that contain or even rumoured to contain our friends.

I was a member of the Association of Barbel Enthusiasts back in the day and met such fine people as Steve Pope, Steve Smith, John Founds, Don, Gordon and the wonderful Fred through the ABE. When this morphed into the Barbel Society I helped run […]

By |November 25th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Regional Roundup – South London Region|

Regional Roundup – Anglian Region

Well this is proving to be a tough years fishing for the Anglian Region. Undoubtedly not helped by the low clear river conditions, and now as the New Year starts the very unsettled cold weather. Without doubt the Nene (fish to 18lb), Lea (fish to 16lb) and Ouse (fish to 15 lb) have fished better than other rivers in the region such as the Stour, Yare and Waveney.

Further 90% of the fish seem to have come to 10% of our members. Blanks have been the norm for many … but ‘perseverance’ is the key. That said, some, understandably, have no doubt kept their captures quiet. A sign of the times with the circuses that can turn up overnight. One notable capture however, was that of Gary Johnson’s 19lb 4oz fish which has been accepted by the BS as the new river record for the Nene. Congratulations Gary.

Three fish-ins have taken place on three different rivers. Our idea (John and Chris) was to offer members a choice around the Region. The first was on the Nene, 21st August, and is fully described by John in Barbel Fisher Issue 42. The second was on the Ouse, 15th October. Sadly, following a change in weather we only had a single Pike to show for our efforts. The third was on Kings Weir in early December but following some severe frosts again the weather was against any Barbel being put on the bank. However, members were offered a variety of venues throughout 2016, some taking advantage to fish new venues and the all-important banter between attendees made up for the lack of fish. Further, the bacon butties and tea was well received: thanks Chris. Our thanks go to […]

By |November 25th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Regional Roundup – Anglian Region|