Saturday 6 July 2024

300th blog entry!

Date fished 06/07/2024

5.45am until 10.30am

For the 300th blog, I wanted to do something special. However, the special trip to the Wye that Ellis and I have planned has not come around quickly enough (end of July). I had a free day so decided to hit the Swale. Recent matches have proved "peggy" with the fish shoaled up (but still had to be caught) 44 chub and a barbel for 189lb. I would not grumble at that for the 300th blog!

A ledger rod, the usual tactics plus an 'alternative' bait and a raincoat completed the kit list. I set off early and arrived in good time.  Setting up, I realised I had forgotten my bait needle.  It's quite hard to push a hair through meat with a blade of grass, but I managed! 

The first cast went to my right by a fallen tree. I sat and waited. 

Regular readers will know, I usually set targets each year. I didn't this year, with stuff going on personally, I just didn't have the thought. But in reality the targets remain the same, as they are yet to be achieved, even after a few years. 

A 2lb perch

A proper Swale barbel

A 6lb bream

A zander

I have had one Swale barbel before. This little guy on the float.

The rod hooped over and the bait runner sang. This was a fish. I hoped it was 'something' as I played its powerful runs. Then I saw it. It was a barbel, a chap, a bumble. My legs gave a wobble. 

I went down to the water to net it, in truth it took three trys. It giving powerful kicks each time. The barbless hook holding firm as the fish frequently dived down deep. Eventually it slipped into the net. A stones throw from the swim Davey caught his first ever Chub, pretty pertinent this time of year and I am not to macho to say, a tear rolled down my cheek. 

At 6lb 7oz, it was not a pb and not a massive fish. For me, it was my world. I was so happy. A quick look at the clock, 06.17am. 

I put the phone camera holder in my bag 30 seconds before I left the house this morning. So glad I remembered that! 

A Kingfisher fished in the peg next to me as the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. I was actually cold. The rugby commentary on my phone warming me up as England went close to a victory in New Zealand. At half time, I stretched my legs. Seems the fish were waiting for the break too, the rod pulled round and I was in. This time it felt chubby, unfortunately the hooklink broke as I played it near the boulders. I never saw the fish, so who knows!? 

A short walk closer to the tree resulted in more snags. I learnt my lesson in casting too close and a re tackle was required. I chucked some bread crusts in and watched them float away whilst contemplating the tackle change. A loud splash as the bread disappeared. I tied on  a hook and tried my luck. 

A few floats down, of course all the freebies taken whilst my piece remained unscathed. I might of caught if I kept going, but the clouds were getting darker and home called. 

I have watched Ellis catch a barbel on the Swale, I have seen many Facebook friends share their catches. Today, I joined them. I achieved a target! 

Oh, and the alternative bait!? Yeah, it didn't work. But "has potential, must try harder". Just like all my school reports used to say! 


  1. Still to catch a barbel in over 50 years of angling. I've seen them in the water and a 14lb fish on the bank. A barbel and
    a grayling before I cark it will do me. So well done you.

    1. Plenty of both up here. Love catching winter grayling. Thanks, am sure you will do it out your way. Will look forward to reading the chances.

  2. Congratulations on the three hundredth blog, and well done on finally catching a "proper" Swale barbel.

    1. Thanks. Might need to start to target some other Yorkshire rivers!

  3. Congratulations, a stunning barbel for post number 300! Good luck with the perch, zander and bream - look forward to reading about them soon…

    1. Thanks Brian. The years I have only caught big chub on that stretch. There is not many barbel, so to do it the 300th blog was very fitting.

  4. Fantastic Adam! That's a river on my list (hopefully this season) cracking looking Barbel too. Good luck with the targets, fingers crossed chalk them off.

    1. Thanks James. More likely stretches on the Swale, on Leeds book. I will hopefully do another target soon.