SeanM wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:17 pm
Hope all goes well Jeremy.
This Trent barbel thing is all beginning to concern me. Leaving aside the circus with its tents, noise and litter, here is something to think about:
Bob will have seen this elsewhere, but for the rest of you it is a graph showing the weight distribution of barbel caught by 3 people over a period of around 6 weeks in November and December this year on one stretch of the Trent. Notice anything odd?
Well out of 55 barbel only 1 was below 6lb (in fact there were only 2 below 8lb) and the most common weight class is the 10lb to 12lb one. We (for I was one of the 3) were not being selective and we weren't using anything special for bait. The worrying thing is that most of the most common weight class are nearing the end of their natural lifespan (Trent barbel grow fast and die young) and there is no evidence of smaller fish coming through to replace them. Now I know that some stretches of the river have healthy stocks of smaller barbel, but the graph implies that, on stretches like this one, once these bigger fish start to die off the barbel boom will come to an abrupt end. There will certainly be a chance of a new record coming from the river (which I think is what the piece posted above is implying) but the days of multiple catches of barbel will be a thing of the past.
A sad demise for a great barbel river perhaps?
On the face of it Sean that seems very concerning. However I don't believe that it is quite as bad as statistics would initially indicate.
As you know the statistics are based on the catches of 3 'Barbel Catchers Club' members. I was one of the samplers for a while. We are by nature fishing for the bigger specimens and our style of angling will certainly skew the results toward the bigger fish. Speaking for myself I am only fishing areas where I know there are big barbel in a small population. My catch numbers are relatively small but the average weight is high due to location and methods adopted. I cannot speak for you but I know that the other 2 samplers do tend to have a similar mindset, even if they catch a lot more than I do. Inherently we are 'specimen hunters' and we are all after that monster.
There is another BCC member who fishes a lot more than most and is very active, often referred to as Duracell. He catches a lot of barbel, probably more than anyone in the club. Now he just fishes for barbel and sets out just to catch them of any size. He plays the numbers game and it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up with well over 300 this season. His results run counter to those of the sample you refer to. At the last count he had caught 33 doubles, the biggest being 12.05. He has also caught 24 that were under 5lbs. Now that is an entirely more sustainable and healthy population of barbel for a river, the same one that we are fishing.
Because of our attitude, experience, swim reading, watercraft, bait selection, call it what you will, we will inevitably catch bigger specimens. I guess that is why we were invited to join the BCC in the first place. On the flip side I know chaps who fish our waters who have never caught a double, although not too many of those now.
In summary Sean I personally don't believe that the Trent is a busted flush yet and that there are more smaller barbel present than the survey is indicating. What I will agree with is that there is no better time to catch a really big one from the river, but that will not last forever. I for one reckon that it is the best river in the country and is in a better state than ever it was. But then, I am biased!