Angling: Personal-best barbel is a highlight as rivers run high

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A personal best catch of a 15lb 6oz barbel from Petworth and Bognor Angling Club’s water on the Arun at Watersfield was taken by member Christophe Pelhate after a long wait for high tide in the early hours.

Having fed the swim for four hours with a mixture of Wraysbury pellets and crushed boilies, he settled down to await the results.

Using hair-rigged goose bollies and paste on a size eight long-shank hook, Pelhate decided to adopt his ‘bang on’ method, allowing it to drift right by the side of an overhanging bush, a quiet spot on a retreating tide.

He has developed the device which allows the bait to drop by a sharp pull on the rod, which activates a very small explosive device allowing the contents to settle exactly where required.

Five minutes later, there was an indication of a fish taking interest and then his 2lb test curve rod took a 90-degree bend and he knew he was into a sizeable fish.

Ten minutes later he was amazed to see this magnificent barbel safely in his landing net.

After weighing and photographing it, he properly allowed the fish to fully recover in the water and it duly swam off.

Needless to say, Pelhate was overjoyed and breathless with his catch especially as he caught it on a device he has developed himself.

The club have details of his website if anyone wishes for further information.

Meanwhile, the club’s ponds at Hurston Lane Fishery, Storrington, have had a new stock of tench and carp added and this popular water is providing good fishing on all three ponds, although a drop in temperature sometimes puts them down. The same is true at the Stemps and Cart ponds at Walberton.

Use the right method and bait, however, and the fish can be caught - a ploy often overlooked when a change in conditions often requires a change in the way you fish.

The rivers are all running very high at the moment but a recent quiet spell when the levels fell on the Rother provided some good fishing.

Veteran member Ray Newnham visited Fittleworth and caught a good roach, well over the 1lb mark, plus some small perch and dace.

These river fish find refuge under and close to overhanging shrubs and trees, which are always the best spots to fish when the river is running high.

Two barbel were caught downstream from Shopham Bridge on free-lined meat and a couple of 5lb chub fell to the same angler when he switched his bait to cheese.

The following day, the heavens opened and the river was back in flood.

Quite a few members have tried the club’s new stretch of the Arun at Stopham Bridge. While this is not easy to access with so much water about, some large pike have been taken using dead bait in sheltered spots where they can be found.

This often requires a bit of a walk but bridges now cross the ditches, making it easier to get further upstream, and high tide allows easier casting.

Once the water turns, however, in flood conditions it’s probably better to try a spinner or plug - the brighter the better, according to an angler who had a 10lb pike a fortnight ago.

If you do venture out, especially by the river, take care - the banks are slippery and can be dangerous, so it’s better to go with a friend.

For details of all the club’s waters, conditions and match results, see www.sussexangling.co.uk

ROGER POOLE