Members Article

Charity Barbel Fish-In

Sunday 17th July 2011 witnessed an unusual gathering at Coultershaw. Why were seventeen anglers and two women standing in the torrential rain listening to another angler sheltering beneath his car boot lid? They were all there to remember Chris Humphry by attending the club’s first barbel fish-in. After the draw had been made and format explained, Chris’s widow, Lynnette thanked everyone for coming and showed the Chris Humphry Memorial Cup which was to be awarded in his memory for the highest weight of barbel.

I’m sure none of us thought when we were arranging this event to take place in July that we’d all be kitted out in waterproofs and armed with an array of brollies and shelters. The weather could have been kinder, but it did relent long enough for a few photographs to be taken and allow most of us to get to our swims and set up, before the rain poured down again. During the afternoon text messages were exchanged and phone calls made, but the news everyone wanted to hear didn’t come. Eighteen barbel anglers and not one barbus barbus between them.

The organisers had deliberated long and hard about what to do in the event that no barbel were caught, and had come up with what they thought was a clever contingency plan along the lines of: ‘if no-one catches a barbel, then the trophy should go to the best carp, if no carp, then chub, then bream and so on.’ But nobody thought that, despite improving conditions and a river that coloured up in the last hour, all that would be caught was a few eels!

Meeting up by the cattle drink for refreshments after five or so hours of fishing, everyone was decidedly upbeat. Despite the lack of fish, all seemed to have had a good time and welcomed the opportunity to meet other Rother regulars and barbel enthusiasts. So much so that after a short discussion about what to do about awarding the cup, it was unanimously decided to do it all over again, and hold another one later in the season when, we all hope, conditions would be more propitious and a few barbel might (I stress might) be caught. Although Lynnette was not able to present the trophy on this occasion, there was, however, still a presentation to be made, and so Jessica and Harry (Chris and Lynnette’s children) handed out to everyone attending a special key-ring which they had had made to commemorate the event.

Copyright Petworth and Bognor Angling Club West Sussex

As well as reminding us of Chris, it also served to remind us all what a barbel looked like, as it was the only one we saw that day! I’m sure Chris would have been very pleased with the turn-out, but I suspect that he would have had a quiet chuckle at the fact that we’d all blanked so spectacularly.

Finally, this was a charity event, and the club can be very proud that the members attending the fish-in raised £250, which the Humphry family is donating to the British Heart Foundation.

Copyright Petworth and Bognor Angling Club West Sussex

Above are Lynnette and Jessica with most of the anglers who attended. Those that did were Paul Berry, Rob Carnell, Dave Chambers, Nigel Chapman, Peter Chase, Martin Cornish, Rick Desmond, Charlie Duffy, Chris Exall, Peter Foster, Mark French, Ray Huskisson, Mike Kitchener, Mick Mills, Victor Shephard, Ben Sherman, Steve Warner, Peter Vale.

Peter Foster

22 Jul 2011