Angling: Get ready for a ‘monstrous’ haul of barbel from the Aire

Peter Mischenko, from the Enviroment Agency, releasing some of the 1000 young Barbel, fish into the River Aire near Thwaite Mills, Hunslet, Leeds.
Peter Mischenko, from the Enviroment Agency, releasing some of the 1000 young Barbel, fish into the River Aire near Thwaite Mills, Hunslet, Leeds.
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I told you a few weeks ago that the Leeds-controlled stretch of the River Aire at Thwaite’s Mill had received an influx of small barbel in the six to eight-inch category courtesy of the Environment Agency.

This signalled the conclusion of the five-year project to rejuvenate the barbel stocks in the river and angling clubs all along the river have benefitted from the scheme.

The latest batch of fish here were introduced between Keighley and Leeds and this is the culmination of a scheme which has seen, over a five-year period, 17,000 of the species stocked at half-a-dozen locations along the river.

The fish all came from the Environment Agency’s own hatcheries at Calverton in Nottinghamshire and were financed by cash gained from the sale of fishing licences.

Yorkshire is not the only county to benefit from all of these new fish for other rivers in the country have also been included in the project. Apart from Leeds, other local clubs who either lease or own stretches of the Aire will benefit and these include Saltaire, Bradford and Keighley. These fish are fairly fast-growing and I know that barbel up to four pounds have been caught from the Leeds water, and they are only five years old.

At this rate, they could grow to a ‘monstrous’ size, double figures even. I do know that for many years anglers have wanted to introduce barbel into the Aire but the main objectors were a section of the Bradford City Club. I refer to the fly-fishing section for I understand that for many years whenever the subject of barbel introduction came up at the club’s annual meeting the fly men turned up in force and vetoed it.

Fortunately, a few years ago they had a change of heart and suddenly, to the course anglers’ relief, the objections were dropped, so the Environment Agency went ahead immediately.

The Yorkshire Ouse Festival took place recently on the Hunters Lodge and Linton stretch of the river and 60 anglers who had paid the £50 entry fee to fish in the services took part. The event took place over three days in midweek but the river was not at its best and was running low and very clear and the first heavy frosts of the season did not help matters.

Catches were generally of small roach and dace, mostly taken on feeder fished maggots with only one decent catch in the whole site.

This came on day two when Selby’s Wayne Shillito caught three decent bream from peg 225 for a 22-5 return.

The final pay-out was excellent with the top 10 anglers receiving both cash and fishing tackle.

Top of the list was Sheffield’s Wayne Bartholomew, who collected a top of the range rod and a bonus of £500.

The organiser, Stan Haigh, thanked several sponsors for their support and these included Bobco, Maver, Garbolino, Drake Floats and Tackle Trader.

It will not be long before the festive season is upon us and the yearly problem occurs, what to buy for the angler?

Personally, I have received over the years items which were the wrong size or type of angling clothing.

The solution these days is very simple for most shops now sell gift vouchers which you can then exchange for the goods of your own choice or even add to it if your desire is a little more expensive.

A word of advice here, hang on to the voucher for a few days for most of the shops will be having a New Year sale with huge discounts so then you will be getting more for your money.

YARNBURY AC are mourning the passing of Gary Parr, owner of Weeton Lake Fishery.

The club’s sympathies and thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.