Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!


Sunday 3rd April 2016 – ‘We have no bread – So let them eat cake’


Newland Hall, Park Lake, Clear sky, a waning crescent moon reflects a sun the colour and size of an outspan orange. Light Breeze coming from the west and a glorious 17 degrees.

No need to erect the bivvy today so Howard sets us up at swim 4 eager to try out his latest acquisitions of boily crunchers, fake bread and a mysterious illuminous solution in a PVA bag which could legitimately be mistaken for some sort of toxic waste.

I put my usual kernel of sweetcorn on the hook of my float rod and cast my line to the waters, only it doesn’t quite make the water, in fact it only cast as far as the tree branch allows, I give it a yank. Oops it just seems to tangle more. Another pull and the hook, line and float is well and truly caught about 10 foot up the only tree within 100 yards. “Howard, can you help me, my line seems to have got caught” Big sigh, he is now up out of his chair and precariously dangling between tree and decking. “Give me a bit of slack, take off your bail arm, that’s enough, that’s enough” I am biting my lip and looking coyly around to see if there are any other fishermen within laughing distance. “It’s no good. I’m going to have to cut the line” ‘Twang’, it makes the kind of sound that even Brian May might envy. The line is released and the bough of the tree catapults free. I replace my sweetcorn and perform a perfect cast about 5 feet from the bank.

Howard now settles down and has put out a ledger rod with bite alarm, and a method feeder he casts expertly about two feet from the reeds on the opposite bank. I am struggling to focus on the tip of my float which disappears periodically in the bright sun reflecting on the water. All is calm, time for a cuppa.

Isn’t it always the same, I am just about to pour when…beep beep beep beep, the shrill sound of the bite alarm has Howard up out of his chair and I turn just in time to see his line whip up and away as he strikes. “Quick, get the landing net, down with the flask up with the net. “No, not that one, get me the pan handle” Oh my God he is going to hit it with the frying pan! “No you idiot, the other net, this is a biggie” huff, puff, ‘expletive’ “Lost it, it’s come off” Ah thinks I, the one that got away. Sulky silence follows and I resume making tea. “Would you like an apple pie?” I enquire warily as I take them from their wrapper. “No thanks”.

My float has now drifted into a bit of shade and I can see the bright tip  peering up at me like a submarines’ periscope. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a bend in the tip of Howards’ feeder rod. Faster that a whippet out of a gate, Howard is on it, he is now reeling in the fish and masterfully holding the landing net with his left hand. The result is a pretty common carp weighing no more than a couple of pounds but I ooh and aah over it until it is suitable returned from whence it came.

There are a couple of ants crawling over my enamelled mug that reads ‘I heart fishing’ I brush them away and take a swig. Yuk, oh actually more like a sort of sweetness then a sort of chilli flavour dances in my mouth, I put my finger towards the offending sensation and an ant crawls down my hand apparently none the worse for wear. “Howard, I’ve just eaten an ant” but Howard is busily reeling in a mirror carp. “Have you checked your bait lately?” I reel in my empty line where I peruse the vacant hook. “This sweetcorn isn’t working today, what else do you suggest?” Now right at this moment, Ian the baliff appears, “Have you got any bread with you” “Hmm no not today, do they like it then?” “Love it” says Ian, issues the tickets and wanders off towards the other lake. Howard helpfully suggests that I share my cheese and pickle roll with the fish. What! as it is the fish eat better than we do, we can’t do our weekly shop now without stocking up on goodies that may attract them. But yes actually, I am rather peckish. I devour two thirds of my roll while Howard hauls in another couple of fish or three. Just for the hell of it I chuck a small morsel of crusty roll near to where my float has re settled. Heavens to Betsy a veritable frenzy of fish fighting over my cheese roll. So I decide that Ian might have something there, so I ask Howard if he has eaten his roll yet, but sadly he has. “I tell you what” says Howard “I’ve got a small piece of fake bread you can try if you want”

I rebait my hook and squidge the small piece of white bread looking sponge through the rig elastic and re cast. Within seconds, there is again a flurry of gills flying as several fish try and nibble the bread. Attracted by the commotion, I can see just below the waterline large carp beginning to nose the ‘piece of bread’ but I still haven’t had a bite.

I reel it in and discard it as rubbish. Time for a cuppa and a nice apple pie. Whoa the crust of my cake is swarming with ants from where I left it uncovered earlier, the lid comes away in my hand and I ‘frisbee’ it across the lake and watch it skip three maybe four times before a giant carp from the deep surfaces and takes the pie in one swift bite.

Howard continues to pull in fish after fish with Tiger Nut and Pineapple flavoured boilies. He makes his dirty dozen before we call it a day. So there we are, Howard – 12, Di – Nil.

None of his fish were double figures but no doubt with a bit of bait tweaking that will come very soon.




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