I don't consider myself a purist angler exactly but I do sympathize with those sort of beliefs if you will. For example, I consider trotting for roach with maggots using a centre pin to be a purist pastime, as is float fishing for crucians or feeder fishing for bream on the Broads. On the other hand I am open to the idea of chub in lakes or fly fishing for dace maybe. There are a few places I think wrong to go and frankly barbel in still waters is not quite right, they belong in rivers, right! And actively targeting them, well, that's just a plain old filthy pastime.
So it was with trepidation that I donned a dirty old man mack and headed out to actually chase after still water barbel the other day. Really I should explain that I was at a bit of a loose end as I had neither the time or means to do anything else. Add to that the temptation to try and stick some points in what, on this seasons challenge sheet, is a virgin category all round.
I could not however go to a commercial just to try and snag a dirty barbel and so concluded to try and catch two species on this trip by going after an oversized gonk as well. Donkey's years ago when I frequented these places more than I'd like to admit, I caught several massive gudgeon from the diminutive Paddock pool on phase two of the then Makin's fishery. So I figured if some of them were still about then a couple of hours of maggots bashing should turn one up and help me tick another challenge box.
As these things always seem to go, the gudgeon hunt proved rather productively unsuccessful. From the off I was on the fish, casting a small clear waggler tight to the island that divides this match orientated pool. The only problem was that all that seemed to be taking the bait was small perch. At first I thought it would just be a numbers game but after two hours I had caught nothing but perch, perch and more perch.
With my initial endeavor seeming a fruitless task, I concluded to move on to worse of pastimes and headed over to another pool on the complex which is reputed to hold barbel into near monstrous proportions.
As a child of the 80's and an avid A-Team fan, I of course had a cunning yet outlandish plan to catch the afore mention bab and of course once my plan came together I would celebrate thus so chuffing on a cigar whilst grinning and proclaiming my love of a plan coming together. This plan though involved the use of some nuclear power spicy garlic flavouring which stank up not only my hands but bag, car and kitchen much to JB's chagrin.
The second part of my session was a scaled up mirror of the first. My cunning plan worked and the ground up free offerings basically attracted ninety percent of the pools fish population to the two foot square patch where I'd thrown it. Three hours fishing yielded a string of carp which one after another came zombie-like towards my hook bait, mindlessly munching. At 3-7lb I reckon I could've won myself a qualifying spot at Fishomaina with what I caught, not to mention what I lost. The fuss I was causing dragging these stupid cyprinids out and cursing them like a nutter whilst shaking my fist at the pool must have made quite the sight for the two chaps over the other side, who were practising for the following days match and who were scratching around for bits.
With little time for a change of tack I was left with no choice but to run out my plan hoping the next fish that found the bait was a barbel. But no, one after another the carp came and scoffed! Some of them weren't bad looking fish either, but none of them were what I had come for.
Ultimately this venture returned a theoretical blank even though I went home stinking of fish and garlic. Sadly I don't think I will be entering any points in that illusive still water barbel box as this was the one and only time I was willing to commit anything towards trying to earn those dirty points. Next I will be getting back after some more honourable points by way of an autumn river perch or big old estate lake pike or something much more respectable.