Members Article

My First Rother Barbel

This is my account of the capture of ‘old whiskers’ (the fish, that is)

I have been a member for a winter season and a full member for this season. My previous outings were three fairly unsuccessful visits to Watersfield and a few good early season visits to the Granary. My barbel fishing is usually done on the upper Ouse (HH & District AC) but my friend Tony(the barbel king) Dade and myself decided to give the Rother at Coultershaw a go.

This was my first visit and Tony’s third. We walked down the first field and tackled up at the sloping fence. He went downstream for one swim and I walked back upstream about 50 yards. I found a good looking swim, very narrow and fast flowing. My tackle was a 1/4 oz lead and a size 10 tied directly to the main line. Bait was a small cube of luncheon meat straight on the hook with a piece of grass as a stop.(can’t be simpler)

I dropped it into the flow as near to the trees as I could and let it swing round with the current. As it hit the bottom, the rod was  immediately snatched out of my hand and the fish shot straight under the trees. I held it as hard as I dared for several minutes as it tried to get as far under the trees as possible. I was sure that I would lose it and Tony would never believe the story of the one that got away. After what seemed an age I got the fish into clear water and saw it for the first time. Tony had by this time arrived, having heard my call and after a further few minutes he landed it for me. My first Rother Barbel and it weighed 14lb 5oz.
Copyright Petworth and Bognor Angling Club

It was weighed, photographed and returned safely

Later on I fished another fast run and had another almost immediate response. This barbel was between 21/2 & 3 lbs, which I unhooked in the water and finished off the day with a large eel. My first visit to the Rother and immediate success. The fish was not my PB as I have one in excess of 15lbs from the Ouse but I know that it is hard fishing on the Rother so I am absolutely delighted with my day.

Ray Smith