The light June evenings meant I could grab a couple of hours fishing after work. I returned with a fly-rod to my “fishing hole” on the River Wandle in south London, hoping to catch some more wild brown trout.

The water level had dropped since last week’s visit. My favoured location is surrounded by thick foliage and other obstacles hindering casting. These restrictions and fast flowing water mean this spot is suitable for the Czech Nymphing style of fishing.  I dangled a Czech Mate Hare’s Ear Red Super into the water.

Within a couple of minutes, I felt some resistance. Initially it felt like a fish, but then it didn’t move. Was I just kidding myself I had a fish? I lowered the rod to release tension; the line slackened. Nothing pulled back. A snag surely? Then the ‘snag’ moved towards the middle of the river. This was a big fish! The fish stayed deep and took a lot of bullying to get to get under control. This had to be done carefully not to break the delicate 3.3lb tippet. As it broke the surface, I recognised the distinctive streamlined form of a barbel. This was a complete surprise. I’d never seen, let alone caught, one before. Eventually the fish tired, and I deployed the net. On my stomach, with a fully-extended net in one hand and rod held high in the other, I guided the barbel into the net. The fish barely fitted into the net. I’d say it tipped the scales at 3lb.

Perhaps catching a barbel shouldn’t have been such a surprise. The chaps I met last week, said my 6-weight rod would be handy if I hooked into a barbel whilst nymph fishing. A few photos, and the fish was unhooked and returned to the Wandle. Some other fish showed in the water, but it seemed like the trout weren’t there in numbers as before. I mixed things up by trying the Nugget Buzzer Black & Green that worked last outing. A huge golden koi – maybe 5lb in weight – patrolled the waters.

After an hour in this spot with no further catches, I moved to the bridge I’d tried on the two previous visits. A few fish showed, but none were interested in my dry Yellow Owl CDC or GRHE Nymph. The barbel was to be the only fish today.

Total Catch:

  • 1 Barbel (Czech Mates Hare’s Ear Red Super)