In Search of the Impossible- Jack Fairweather

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In Search of the Impossible- Jack Fairweather

Nowadays a Wensum barbel is like gold dust, very far and few between; I feel privileged to catch the ones I have.

The first one I managed to catch was quite lucky, I was swimming in the river with a couple of mates as it was school holidays, when I stumbled across a snag in the water. I stood and looked at it for quite a while till the water was still and I spotted what I thought was a carp, but on closer inspection I noticed that it was a barbel! I was excited to get back down there the next day so that evening I stayed up setting up a rod ready, also a few rigs prepared too for the next day ahead. I set it up with a basic running rig with a braided hook link to a size 6 wide gape with a 12 mm halibut pellet.

So, the next day I got down there at about 7 in the morning to make sure no one else got there before I did. Once I got there the river looked amazing in the morning with the birds singing and dog walkers out in force. I was eager to get the rod out. I went and checked the snag where I had seen the barbel the previous day and it wasn’t there. I then put a few pellets under the snag so I could check it later to see if it would return. In the mean time I went further down stream and had a go for the chub that are also on the stretch and managed a few up to about 3lb just free lining meat under all the rafts and overhanging trees.

After spending the early morning catching a few chub I decided to go and check the spot where I had put some bait in; lo and behold I caught a glimpse of the barbel’s tail. I quickly tied the running rig back on so I could lower it in accurately, hopefully without spooking the fish. I then got in the water a foot away from the barbel and managed to lower the rig in without spooking it. Before I had even had a chance to walk back the rod hooped over and I was battling the hard fighting barbel that was trying to go for the snags. I managed to pull it away from the snags and in the net it went! I was over the moon with it! A passer by kindly took some photos for me then I let her recover and she swam off strong. I was over the moon! That was my highlight of my year (fishing wise).


Last year, a couple of days before the new river season opened, I went and had a look down the local river as I always do and put my waders on and had a look round all the snags and likely looking areas where the fish would be held up. I managed to stumble across a few large chub and some dace so I decided to introduce a few 8mm pellets to try and keep them in the area until the season opened. The first day of the season came around so I got down the river and started fishing over my baited area and for the first month or so all I was catching was chub, so I had to rethink my approach and started using boilies instead, just for the fact that they had more flavour and attraction to try and draw any other species into the area.

After about a week I noticed a new species in the swim; it was a jet black common that looked about a low double. So, the next session I decided to put 2 rods out on alarms just to hopefully get that extra chance of hooking a river carp. It was about 11 in the morning and a kid and his mother turned up next to me that were new to fishing; he had a little float fishing kit on him and I was helping him set it up when out of the blue, one of my alarms burst into life! This fish was charging towards the snags like nothing I’ve hooked before, as I drew it closer to the net I realised it wasn’t the carp I was hoping for but in fact another Wensum barbel, this time larger than the one I’ve had previous, to say I was buzzing would be an understatement!
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