Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A Return To The Great Ouse?

It's a wonder I catch any fish. There's something within me that shuns the easy life and the runs waters.
 I like the quiet places, you see? Not for me the commercials and heavily stocked lakes. There's no release from the shackles of work there.
 I make life difficult, a kind of piscatorial masochism. I set myself challenges that I rarely fulfill, but it's not the success that drives me. I just like the difficult path.
 Many of my quests are ongoing. My hit-list includes 'The Common', A double figured Tench, a Grand Union crucian to name a few.

 They're all do-able, but difficult....and now I have another one niggling away at me.
 I want to catch a barbel again. That's easy enough.right?....Wrong, because I want another Great Ouse barbel.

 The Great Ouse wasn't easy when it was in it's heyday. Yes, we all know about those massive fish, but they were never there in the numbers one finds in the prolific barbel rivers.
 The decline in Ouse barbel stocks has been dramatic. I've witnessed the decimation of those wonderful fish for years, it breaks my heart.
 The fish pictured above is from the fabled Kickles Farm stretch, it was caught a few seasons back, some time after the death of The Traveller and all.
 Kickles was difficult in it's prime "a blank waiting to happen"said one highly respected angler. Yet  there I was after the circus had left town, cradling that fish.
  I need to catch one more from the Ouse....just one.
 Conversations with them that still try do not fill me with optimism. I hear of just a handful of captures a year. There are just so few.
 The fish pictured here is my biggest ever barbel. It was caught from a club stretch many years ago..

...The stretch produced some very large fish up to 19lb+ and was taken over by the Barbel Society for a while.
 I loved fishing there and had a lot of success....A private syndicate of 30 members fish there now and  not a single barbel was caught from the stretch last season.
 I just love that river, I'm going back to try for just one more...and I'll write about it here.



  1. Wonderfulls barbels , nice report!! congratulations!

  2. I hear what you are saying, away from the crowds and so called circus areas. Best of luck and hopefully one of those few barbus that still remain will grace your net.

    1. Here's hoping mate, the wait will be worth it.

  3. Good luck with your efforts, the river certainly keeps hold of you with the anticipation, well it did for me anyway.

    I didn't know about the was talked down by some members of the BS when we took it on, and we couldn't sell the permits.
    It was expensive, the knock on effect of Adams Mill, so we shared the costs with the LB club and it still didn't pay for itself.

    1. Cheers Fred. That little stretch has everything you'd want from a river,a weir at the top, slow snaggy area, shallow gravels, long glides, eddies and plenty of cover. The only problem is that those three fields no longer produce barbel. I'm sure a few remain, perhaps less than five. I might have more luck a couple of miles downstream though NPFA has suffered the same fate..Time will tell..Just one will do.

  4. There is no point in setting easy targets Gurn, there is very little joy in smashing targets every time you go out too fish.

    Good luck with the Ouse quest, the barbel are there too be caught and when you do the feeling of achievement will be with you for a long time afterwards.

    1. Indeed Tom, can't wait for the 16th now. Though I probably won't get out until the next day.

  5. There's nothing like a challenge Gurn but yours is a tall order. Good luck, I look forward to reading about it as it unfolds.

  6. I too like the natural venues, especially small rivers. I find them more interesting but let's be honest the biggest appeal is the lack of other people. But I actually find them 'easier' to understand than commercials. A lot less stressful too. If I blank, so what? The fish are wild and temperamental. And I'll have had a good day bank walking and looking for likely spots and swims etc.

    I dabble in commercials a bit. The noisiest most obnoxious people seem to catch the most fish........... (well that's my excuse).......... If I blank (it happens) I feel like a complete failure and go home more stressed then before I set out! Not good.

    Perhaps I'm just a crap angler who gets lucky once in a while!

  7. I think we all get lucky once in a while. That's the joy of angling, it's a great leveller. A small child can catch the biggest fish in the lake and a seasoned old-timer can go home wondering why he didn't.. I haven't fished a day ticket venue for many years now. I just can't relax. Perhaps I'm becoming a grumpy old man :-0

  8. "I just can't relax"

    Yes, that's it. I just don't find them relaxing. Which surely defeats the whole purpose of going fishing. I don't mind giving them a bash every now and again but they require a totally different mindset.

    There is a nice lake near me with all species but thanks to its large carp it's hammered 24/7. If you turn up with a feeder rod they look like you've got two heads! I do try for the carp too but it always feels ridiculously intense and serious. You feel as though your every breath and move is being judged. Which of course it is because no one has anything to do except watch the other anglers.......

    Good luck with your quest.