How l was hooked on old whiskers...

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How l was hooked on old whiskers...

Postby Mooks » 02 Jun 2010 20:40


l thought l would write this article about my local river, the River Tees here in Darlington County Durham..

Having lived in Middlesbrough for near 27 years but with a lack of transport, it was very hard to get to the stretches of the Tees which contained old barbus..this was the fish l most wanted to catch .But l had to make do with local ponds and lakes, yes l do admit l enjoyed catching perch, roach, crucians, and tench. I remember catching a 3lb er on a flick tip back in the 80s...that was a thrill a minite...

But the river held a soft spot in my heart, and was my main reason to start fishing in the first place...So l had to move to Darlington...

Once here and settled the next step was to find some local knowledge, and l found that on the internet via a lad who fished the river many times..and actually lived on this estate..
I was eager with my new friend Phil, to get fishing the Tees as soon as possible, but as time passed l new l had to move forward and buy some stepped up gear, my crucian gear was not at all right for the job in hand...
So l had to step up from 2lb line to 10lb plus a 8lb hooklink...which at the time l thought was really hefty, but in truth was not...

With all my new gear feeder rods....etc...We went to the free stretch for a days dace and chublet fishing, bite a chuck..ended up with near 10lb each time we went...After a few sessions like this , he suggested night fishing !!!.....because he had had chub and barbel most nights...Hmmm l thought, at first l was a bit dubious, never thought about night fishing on rivers...So with nightlights at the ready l was eager for my first trip nightfishing...rats an all...

Well what a different story at night, and after my first trip l was there most fridays nights throughout the season...we started getting chub to 3lb with real rod pulls of the rest....magic stuff.......all on legered meat.......after a while the fish got wary and we thought we would try the hair rig l made up some hair rigs from 8lb mono and had almost instant success..

That first month was totally barbel but plenty of chub to keep us happy...


The second month was different again, l hooked into a real whacker, and it stayed deep very deep....after about 10mins l saw it a barbel at long last, and it fought like a demon.....netted and just stared in amazment at this wonderful fish.....weighed and released ..6lb 4oz...of pure fishing magic.....

Every season l go back and its different, weathers different all the time, but l have always caught at night....
Last season l started using dacron as a hooklink 10lb ml to 10lb dacron hair rig and l found l got more bites. But after a while the fish got wary, and l decided to scrap the idea of cubes of meat and used the largest Korum punch and used pelleted meat instead. Bingo it worked and l caught my new PB barbel on this method all 9lb 12oz of it, caught on 16th June 2003, what a fight from a truly awesome fish.
I will not forget that scrap in a hurry 12 mins of hugging the bottom, slowly getting it to rise to the top, he or she was turning left and right, l kept saying...its gonna come off...but it didnt and was truly delighted..espescially as l lost my father 2 weeks earlier.


I can tell you now this barbel fishing is getting very addictive, and with hope in 2004 l hope to catch a double from the Tees...

I have met two other friends who love barbel just as much as myself, one is a member of Barbel Fishing World and has fished with me, and has caught his first barbel from the Tees..well done Kevin Guy..all 7lb + of it...


8lb 6oz Swale barb

Second is my good friend John Cunningham from Leeds, he asked me to go to the River Swale with him in early Sept last year, this is a river that l have never got a bite from anything ..
So l was a bit sceptical, but as the day progressed John said to me ( I THINK WE HAVE PICKED THE WRONG SWIM IAN ).. soon as he said that my tip flew round and l was into a Swale torpedoe....great fight lasted 6 mins before landing all 8lb 6oz of it....brilliant....that was my only bite all day and night......

As you see l am only a novice but l hope one day to get my double of the Tees and to continue to meet more addicts like myself, who pursue the most awesome of freshwater fishes the Barbel....

Many tightlines and l hope to have trips to other rivers in 2004, but not of course forgetting the magic River Tees....



This was written a few years ago ie 7 lol....hope ye enjoy it...
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Re: How l was hooked on old whiskers...

Postby Jedd Hughes » 02 Jun 2010 20:42

Great read

I could not agree more with the excitement of the first fish.

It was this big
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Re: How l was hooked on old whiskers...

Postby CabbagePatchKid » 10 Aug 2010 00:50

Ever since I was a kid I wanted to catch a Barbel.
I read and marvelled at Mr Crabtree's exploits in Bernard Venables' evocative writings, but they always remained a mythical creature to which I dared not even aspire to catching!

I spent most of my time fishing for Carp in the 70's and early 80's, but decided to seriously try and acheive what I saw as my ultimate Angling goal around 1982 - to catch a Barbel.

After several unsuccessful attempts (fishing totally the wrong type of swim I realise now) I had a conversation with a young Mark Crudgington in Crudgington's fishing tackle shop in Bath and he promised me my first Barbel if I fished Hayden's Field at Limpley Stoke with luncheon meat and hemp.

The very next trip I duly took his advice and caught two Barbel. To this day I've had no bigger thrill in angling than seeing my rod top go round and striking into what I KNEW was my first Barbel.
(Bear in mind that in those days most Anglers had never even seen a Barbel on the bank, let alone caught one!)

Like most of us, I've had my share of good fish of many species over the years and enjoyed them all....but I still get a very special privileged feeling when I land a I alone in this or do others share my thoughts :?:

Here she is - 28 years ago - 4 1/2lb
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