Did our Honorary President, May Lang, witness the first barbel from the Wye?

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Tengisgol
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Did our Honorary President, May Lang, witness the first barbel from the Wye?

Post by Tengisgol » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:31 pm

I always thought that I was 'there or thereabouts', in the late eighties/early nineties, when barbel started to appear in the River Wye, but reading the new 'Redmire' book compiled by Tony Meers, it seems not!

Recounting her memories, May Lang talks about having a session at Ross in 1953, as a break from the carp fishing, and Gerry Berth-Jones 'caught a very nice barbel'.

I was certainly in the valley when John Bailey first found Wye barbel, as our paths had crossed (I was at Lugwardine) and I have a lovely letter from him, written at 2am in the morning when he got home to Norfolk after catching his first barbel there, and talking of having 'paid up and parked' three times (because he just couldn't go home after finally finding some fish). That letter is nestled into a chapter of a book about his hunt for pioneer Wye barbel called 'Wye bother'.

So I am curious, when were these amazing fish first stocked in the river and really begin to feature in catches, does anyone know the true story?

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Lea Dweller
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Re: Did our Honorary President, May Lang, witness the first barbel from the Wye?

Post by Lea Dweller » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:42 pm

That is a stunning fish Phil, perfectly conditioned torpedo! :Hat:

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Re: Did our Honorary President, May Lang, witness the first barbel from the Wye?

Post by Olly » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:52 pm

Found this:-
""Instigated by Angling Times, barbel were stocked in 1956 by the old Severn River Authority. Some 509 of them up to about 9lb were netted from Berkshire s river Kennet and planted into the Severn at nine different points between Shrewsbury and Bewdley.""

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Re: Did our Honorary President, May Lang, witness the first barbel from the Wye?

Post by Tengisgol » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:00 am

Olly wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:52 pm
Found this:-
""Instigated by Angling Times, barbel were stocked in 1956 by the old Severn River Authority. Some 509 of them up to about 9lb were netted from Berkshire s river Kennet and planted into the Severn at nine different points between Shrewsbury and Bewdley.""
That’s correct for the Severn but what about the Wye? And where did Gerry Berth-Jones’s fish come from?
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Re: Did our Honorary President, May Lang, witness the first barbel from the Wye?

Post by Dave Burr » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:34 am

I have met at least three people that claim to have originated the barbel stocks on the Wye Phil. I have never heard of one in the 50's but historically anglers have been moving fish for generations. You only have to read early Walker literature to see he was seeding carp pools, some no more than half an acre, for his own pleasure.

It is probable that the main population came from Birmingham AA members stocking a length of the Lugg and a section they had at Builth Wells. If you look at your capture pictures you will see that most are as in your picture above, long, lean Teme style fish with the occasional stocky rugby ball with fins type Severn fish.

In the 50's transport was an issue but it is more than possible for some well meaning chap to have slipped a few in. It all adds to the mystery and proves that you possibly started your Wye journey 40 years too late :Wink:

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Re: Did our Honorary President, May Lang, witness the first barbel from the Wye?

Post by Troydog » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Beautiful barbel Tengisgol, absolutely stunning.
Shortly after moving to Hereford in 1978, I got involved with the H&DAA committee and one of my jobs was stewarding the Wye Champs. In those days there were 12 sections of 25 anglers so it was a match spread both east and west of the city. I think it was 1979 when I was out at Moccas. On some of these sections, only 3 out of 25 anglers actually caught a fish.
Anyway, that year at Moccas one angler had three barbel for 23 lb.

All the local fisher folk were amazed and the salmon anglers were furious. I have no idea when the fish were introduced.....
Trouble is, the fish just don't read the books......
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Tengisgol
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Re: Did our Honorary President, May Lang, witness the first barbel from the Wye?

Post by Tengisgol » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:35 pm

Some things, thank goodness, will remain a mystery.
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