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Summary of a Poor Season
This season has been undoubtedly the worst I've had since I began specialising in barbel-fishing some 15 years ago. Following on from the Christmas Day piece below, I have to report a zero return for the rest of the season. To be fair, I only ventured out once (onto the Thames) and obviously blanked. Can't really say much else except to say that 2008/09 must be better (or I'll give it up!).
'Tis The Season to be Jolly
I've been a bit lapse in keeping this season's diary up-to-date, so as it's Christmas Day and I'm sat at home bored, I'm going to attempt a summary of the season so far.
It's been a very slow season to date, with only 17 barbel finding their way to my net, topped by an 8.15 early in the season. Most of my fishing has been on the Kennet, where my usual haunts have been producing less fish than I would expect. Normally I would expect to average 3-4 fish per session, but it has often been a struggle to catch more than one. The stretch seemed to react badly to the summer floods, surprisingly making the fish more difficult to find. Once the weather had settled down later in the summer I did start to catch a bit more consistently.
I've had two holidays on the Teme this year. The first was in early August for 3 days on the Barbel Society water. The river had just returned to more normal levels following the disastrous floods. The damage caused had been incredible, washing away many of the usual swims and depositing huge amounts of debris on the banks and across the fields (check out the photos in the gallery pages. As on the Kennet I found it tough, with just 2 barbel (best 7.01) being caught.
The second visit to the Teme was in September, this time for 5 days in the company of my mate Andy. It was Andy's first time on the river. As he's not a Barbel Society member, we spent the week exploring the Birmingham A.A. venues. Andy caught his first Teme barbel on his very first cast, which promised well, but the week turned out be slow going. Andy finished with 5 barbel to my 3 (one of which was caught from the Severn as we decided to have a change of river for the last day). Despite the lack of action, it was an enjoyable week, as we had both been to places we'd never seen before, and the Teme valley is always a delightful place to be - except perhaps when it's in the state it was in the July floods.
Since returning from the Teme, I've only managed 2 outings. One was to the Royalty with Andy. Neither of us caught a barbel, but Andy did manage a decent bream of just under 7lbs. Finally my most recent outing was back on the Kennet, where I landed one modest barbel.