The thirteenth Chris Humphry Memorial Barbel Fish-in was held at the usual venue. Lynnette Humphry was there to welcome everyone to Chris’s local and favourite stretch of the Rother at Coultershaw.
Two weeks earlier several of us had been wondering whether we should postpone the event because of the very low river level. However, with ten days to go the forecast was predicting several rainy days, so we were feeling more optimistic when the forecast proved to be accurate, and the level began to rise. Unfortunately, the old saying “it never rains but it pours” proved correct again because the night before the fish-in there was extremely heavy rain.
By the time we had gathered in the car park the rain had abated, although there were occasional strong gusts of wind and a little drizzle. Despite the weather, there was a very good turnout with eighteen anglers eager to get going as soon as the draw was completed. Previous winner Chris Exall had confided in me earlier that he would like to draw Chris’s swim and would you believe it, he drew it.
As soon as the draw was completed, people walked off to choose their swim, and umbrellas soon sprang up along the riverbank. Lynnette also set off to do her customary walk along the river to say hello to everyone individually. Unlike last year, though, she was not going to be on hand to witness the first capture of the day.
We all had to wait just a little while longer before Martin Cornish brought me the news that Pete ‘Boggy’ Marsh had caught a barbel and that we were therefore certain that the trophy would be presented. Chris Exall was on hand to witness the weighing of the fish at seven pounds exactly.
On hearing Martin’s news, I decided to put my rod aside and walk the river bank to bring everyone up to date with the news.It was soon apparent that nearly everyone was struggling with the conditions. Although we were having just the occasional light shower, the river was rising fast due to the heavy overnight rain, and the strong blustery winds added to the amount of leaves, twigs and even branches entering the water.
The increased flow together with the added water-borne debris were also making it increasingly difficult to hold bottom without loads of rubbish collecting around the line. However, all these factors did give the overwhelming majority of us plenty of excuses for not catching and that remained the case for the rest of the day, so that by the time we had all wound in, there was just one happy angler who had been successful in catching a barbel.
It was nearly dark by the time we assembled back in the car park for welcome refreshments and a chat. Last year’s winner, Mick Mills had, of course, remembered to bring the trophy which Lynnette presented to a smiling Boggy Marsh. She also gave each one of us a commemorative medal to mark the occasion, and treasurer Martin Cornish announced that we had collected £320 for this year’s charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.
So, many thanks go to everyone that fished and made a donation and special thanks once again to Lynnette for continuing to support this event in memory of her late husband, Chris Humphry.
Participants: Mark Adams, Dan (Gordon) Bolton, Dave Chambers, Martin Cornish, Ron Elms, Chris Exall, Martin Eyres, Graham Ferns, Peter Foster, Matt Goody, Nelson Keet, Len Ludd, Pete Marsh, Mick Mills, Phil Shepherd, Victor Shepherd, Bob Tett and Richie Uhlik.