Great Ouse Barbel

GrahamM

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I’ve never fished the Great Ouse but I’m assured by some of that river’s regulars that the resident barbel are not easy to catch. So why is it that I’m not particularly impressed by the news of some of the huge barbel that are caught from the river?

I don’t include the two recent 17-pounders and the 19lb fish caught this past week or so. They’re impressive because they’re not only massive, but two of such stature in a day is one hell of a feat, and a 19-pounder when an 18 has yet to be caught is equally impressive.

But when I read about yet another 15 or 16-pounder from the Great Ouse I skip through the report with a distinct lack of deep interest. But tell me about a 14 from the Trent or the Severn, or practically any other river, and I want to know all about it.

Tell me about a 10-pounder from the Dane or the Dove and I want to reach for my rod and dash off for a session. Of course, they’re ‘my’ rivers and that makes a difference.

But 15lb and 16lb barbel from the Great Ouse? They should get my juices flowing, I know that, but they don’t. Why? Is it familiarity? Have I, and lots of other anglers I speak to who feel the same way, overdosed on them?

I know they’re enormous fish. I believe they’re not easy to catch. I know I’d love to catch one. I’m not a jealous angler, or one given to sour grapes.

So why does the news of Great Ouse barbel do little for me?
 
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John Toohey

Guest
Hi Graham don't worry yourself its not just You who is thinking this, I have exactly the same sentiments myself as are probably most of our friends on here and on other forums that we visit. All you did is post your opinion before I or somebody else did.
John.
 
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STEVE POPE

Guest
Hi Graham,
You are echoing my words of a couple of years ago, words that landed me in all sorts of trouble because some anglers thought I was pointing the finger at them, which I wasn't.

The Anglers Mail couldn't understand why I was making the point that the repeat captures and constant hype in the press did not in my opinion constitute news, and had the effect of undermining catches in other parts of the country as you mention. To some degree the press have taken note, but they both still tend to play off each other.

We have pushed the river best list as this shows anglers from all over the country the potential of their own waters, rather than the top fifty list which is really only of interest to those who are monitoring the progress for want of a better word of the huge Ouse barbel.

I fully understand and agree with your views and as you say they should not in any way be taken as criticism of those who choose to fish for them.

I will be having a go myself to try and land one but I can say with hand on heart that I would get far more satisfaction at landing say a fifteen from the Severn than I would from a larger known fish from the Ouse. That is just my own feeling because I spend most of my time on the Severn, but I could spend the rest of my days there and not see a fish of that size, but with a degree of effort and application the Ouse should produce.

Variety, mystique and mystery are essential ingredients in angling and to some degree they are missing with regard to the Ouse monsters.

It really is just a matter of waiting for time to pass to see how big the next one is, the element of surprise for those not fishing there has gone.

All the best,

Steve.
 

GrahamM

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I agree with your sentiments to a great extent Steve, but I would like to make a point with my website editor's hat on.

I can understand the Mail and the Times publishing the news about these Ouse fish. It's their job to do so and not to discriminate between one lot of news and another. After all, a 16lb barbel is a big fish wherever it comes from and is, therefore, newsworthy.

What I do object to is the news of a 13lb barbel from the Severn or the Trent, say, being given a much less prominent report on the same, or another, page in the same paper.

That is what is most unfair, and what gives those readers who don't know the value of a Trent or Severn 13-pounder a totally misleading impression.

A river-best list, and news prominence according to a river's average species size, IS the only true guide.

This is something I've written about at some length many times before, and if I do nothing else as editor of this website I'll publish news according to its true value and not according to any other standard.
 
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STEVE POPE

Guest
Rest assured Graham I shall take every opportunity to ensure the reporters on both weeklies appreciate the value of fish from the more northern rivers.
We have many members in the Barbel Society from the north of England and I often feel they get a raw deal from the press, because the fish just don't grow so big.
Steve Partner at AT fully appreciates and agrees with both our views but from an editor's standpoint, big is and probably always will be regarded as best.
We will just have to keep chipping away.
 
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Paul Hawkins

Guest
One of the fascinations with Angling is it's almost infinite diversity.
The fact is, these Ouse barbel and Carp like 'Mary' etc aren't fresh anymore. DOn't get me wrong, as Angling achievments they are fantastic and, if carp truly do learn by association, the people catching Mary now are 'cuter' than say Pete Springate was in '87 or whenever it was.
But it's not new is it?
Tell you what is fascinating in the Barbel world this year, Kennet barbel. Where the hell have all those 14 and 15 pounders come from.
There have been some stunners this year, giants for the river but have they been afforded the glossy two page spreads in the Times 'the' record fish will get this week?
I remember a story in the press a couple of years ago, relevant to me because it's from a local water, the Bristol Avon.
A 12 1/2 pound February river Tench!
Barely a bloody mention it had....absolutely phenomenol!
Still, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Steve's right, a fish of lesser weight from somewhere other than Adam's mill that's tucked away in the gallery somewhere this week may interest those who think about 'the game' a bit more.
 
C

Carp Angler

Guest
Well said all.
The Ouse is a lot closer to me than the Severn, but I'd still rather have the mystery of that than the circus of Adams mill etc.
One of the reasons that I pulled off of Wraysbury was the way that it had become so ...... commercialised?
By that I mean people capturing fish for the monetory or fame gain as opposed to the personal satisfaction.

A 15 from the Ouse...nah
gimme a double from the Severn any day.....
 
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Mike Fidler

Guest
I feel for these poor fish holed up at Adam's mill and it makes a mockery of other streches of the river that don't hold monster size barbel. These fish are hard to catch and fight like buggery. The stretches I fish have a very low stocking density and it is an acheivement to catch one of them. Trouble with Adam's Mill is it's tarring all Ouse Barbel with the same brush. I wish the landowners would close it down or make it a syndicate water. A 19lb barbel? I should be amazed at the catch but i'm not, when will these guy's learn that the majority of us don't care anymore about how big they get.
 
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BUDGIE BURGESS

Guest
I agree with most of what has been wrote on this subject.It certainly is the old "familiarity breeds contempt"I have yet to catch a double figure Barbell and despite still very much enjoying catching 4-8lb fish I too hardly bother to read these reports!As with all fishing it is relative.One thing I will ask is do you/have you fished Adams Mill Mike? The reason I ask is just because a stretch produces repeat captures of known fish it does not always mean that it is easy or that these fish are not as noteable.I know a lot of good anglers who put a lot of time in on the Medway record stretch for no reward.I wouldnt mind betting a lot of time is put in by many for no reward on the Ouse?Even though my gut reaction is to not like this situation I often ask myself why the capture of a good fish by angler"A" should be any more/less meritous than a later capture by angler"B"? I accept that if angler "A" found the water/swim developed the bait/method/rig etc he has a far more deserved catch but how often is this the case now?Both "A" and "B" are now just doing the circuit.And is this wrong?We are not all lucky enough to have great fishing on our door step.Why exactly do you think Adams Mill should be closed down or syndicated Mike? the latter would hardly change the situation regarding repeat captures.I can not afford to go Cat fishing in Russia,where a lot of the big ones are comming from,but does that make the fish caught any less or should we stop people going there as it is making a mockery of the ones I catch in Europe? No it is as I said earlier all relative.What you catch and where you catch it from only really matters to your self.Forget the weeklies as they are only interested in selling copies.
 
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Paul Williams

Guest
Interesting thread this! but what makes a fish "hard" to catch? is it measured by the number of blanks that are endured? i ask because these fish are often discribed as difficult, in fact i think it was Steve who said elsewhere that Ray the roller endured 50 or so blanks before conecting with one, does that make them difficult or does it prove that the angler is just to stereotyped in his approach? that is not a personal attack on Ray bytheway but i feel it is a fair question.
I have to say that imho the only thing that makes barbel consistantly difficult to catch is fishing where there aint any!
 

GrahamM

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Several interesting questions have arose from this thread but the most interesting for me is 'what makes fish hard to catch?

Putting aside the obvious one that Paul mentions, that of fishing a swim where there are no fish present, we are still left with several possible answers.

That there are so few fish they are hard to locate. So the angler needs watercraft to be able to find them.

That the fish are not feeding. So the angler needs a good bait and a good feeding technique to encourage them to feed.

That the fish are extremely suspicious. So the angler needs good bait presentation skills in order to fool them.

We can go on with several more examples, but the sure way of coming out a winner in the eyes of the great majority of the angling world and the angling press, is to make sure you have plenty of time to go fishing.

With enough of that at your disposal you can pick any swim that has history; use any bait that has history; use any presentation that has history.

And then wait for long enough.

Catch a huge fish doing just that and you'll receive equally as many rewards and accolades as the angler who can fish only rarely (in comparison) but fishes ten times harder and more skillfully to make his time count.

Trouble is, unless you're there, you'll never know the difference.
 
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Ron Clay

Guest
How refreshing it is to see that the vast majority of anglers contributing to this web site have a true sense of values. The successes in our sport have nothing to do with the ultimate weight of the fish. It's all relative you know. I've caught lots of fish in my life in several countries of the world that could be called whackers. The fish I do remember most however were not always the biggest. It has got to do with how much skill you used and the problems you had to overome in catching the fish that counts.
Unfortunately the Angling Press will always be motivated by the biggest fish. Just like all the other papers, sensationalism is what sells them.
 
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Paul Williams

Guest
Very well put Graham! i have always said that the greatest weapon anyone can have is to be able to fish when they want!!
I have friends who can only fish as work dictates, one of them hasn't fished for months now, and i know how much effort he puts into each and every trip! fifty outings is at this time in his life the equivelent of 25yrs fishing !! he wouldn't want to lose 49 of them on an unproductive method.
 
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John Tait

Guest
It does seem to be that size is all, doesn't it ?? - very little consideration is given to what water the fish was actually caught from.

It'll be interesting to see the reaction to a Dove fish which should become public knowledge sometime in February (I think)

Jonty
 
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Paul Williams

Guest
Jonty, Why Feb??? is it so the captor can give an exclusive story, didn't the captor of the previous two (pre 19) do that only to have his record taken away the day after the press release?
As long as this mentality prevails fish that imo are equally creditable as an Ouse 19 (eg a Dove 13) will never get the credit they deserve.
I'm off fishing tomorrow, if i catch a biggy then you you lads will know tomorrow!!
 
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John Tait

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Paul - due to restrictions imposed by the controlling club.

Jonty
 

GrahamM

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I understand this to some extent (from the angler's point of view that is, being restricted by club rules) but the club is being short-sighted considering that interest in river fishing is decreasing rapidly. It won't be long before they may have to lift their membership radius of 15(?) miles and possibly even advertise for members.

Serve 'em right then if they're told (by virtue of lack of interest) to get stuffed.

Last year I fished miles of the Dove and never saw another angler. Many parts of it were like a jungle and had obviously not been fished for months, if not years.

If the fish you're talking about is as big as the rumours I've heard then the angling world deserves to know. Why can't it be published without reference to any particular area of the Dove?

If the club is against even that kind of vague publicity then they don't deserve the rights to the waters they control.

If the excuse is the one I've heard a thousand times before: "ah, but everyone will know it's come from our stretch," Then that only applies to anglers who already know the score anyway.

Sometimes the only logic is selfishness and self-righteousness.
 
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John Tait

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It is not the club you are thinking of, Graham - no `radius restrictions` with this one ! - and certainly no need to advertise for members, not with the current waiting list!

It is not especially that the club are totally against publicity, but that all publicity has to be approved by the committee - and in this case it appears that the decision has been made to reserve that publicity for the next newsletter.

Even so, news leaks out. I knew about the fish the day after it's capture, because the guy who caught it mailed me to tell me about it (we had been communicating via e-mail for a little while) - he also informed certain club officials. I was down on the Severn shortly afterwards, and was told all about it by another angler, who had, in turn, been told about it by an angler from Preston !!

The captor hadn't leaked it - and neither had I !!


Jonty
 

GrahamM

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Oh, so it's the angling club formerly known as........... But their waiting list is nowhere near what it used to be.

But do you know what annoys me as much as anything about all this publicity business? It's the only sport I know of that likes to keep so many secrets. Somebody catches a whopper that in any other sport they'd be so proud to shout about.

We've bred a culture - at least in the specialist world - where publicity is looked on as though it's something to be ashamed of. We've got anglers who have set themselves a style where they go out of their way to avoid publicity. Then they make sure that a few details are leaked, and then revel in the reputation of being the strong silent type.

They make me want to puke!

Have they ever considered that it's only due to the generosity of the thousands of anglers who went before them, who gave up their knowledge willingly and without hesitation, that made it possible for them to catch fish?

Do they realise that if we all went around with an 007 complex we'd all know sod-all?

That there would be no angling newspapers, magazines, books, videos or websites to enjoy when we're not actually fishing if we all had the big 'I'm above all that' attitude?

I'm not suggesting that the captor of this Dove barbel has that kind of attitude, but here we are talking about publicity bans and leaks instead of the guy shouting 'Look, I've caught a huge barbel from the Dove and I'm bloody proud of it!!!!'

Excuse me while I throw up.
 
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John Tait

Guest
Graham - I can assure you that the captor does NOT have `an attitude` at all - he desperately WANTED to shout about it, believe you me !!

Jonty
 
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