Royalty Fishery

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DaceAce
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by DaceAce »

StefanDuma wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 1:20 pm That's a great article. I had extensive correspondence with Peter over a number of years as he was writing a book on Barbel and me on the history of the Trent anglers.
I did track and trace FWK Wallis barbel's history and have covered it in my next book on the subject.

Peter's book was going to be the "bible" of barbel and it's a pity it was never finished. Claude Taylor did have a Wallis creel, I wonder what happened to that?
Peter Wheat's barbel book was supposed to come out in the 90s (Medlar mentioned it but in the end, Jon Berry could deliver) but I remember talking to him about it in 2011 when he told me it wouldn't be long, and that he also was writing two other books, one on crucians and another, possibly on the Royalty (maybe not). As ever with books you have to set a target otherwise they may not see the light of day and get published. In a similar vein, Gerry Swanton wrote a book called 'Chalkstream Roach' that he was still working on in 2000 having started circa 1980 and after his death no-one knew the whereabouts of the manuscript.

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StefanDuma
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by StefanDuma »

Peter was covering barbel from the day that Adam & Eve made a rod line and bait upto the 90's. Such a pity that many works are lost. I have set a finish date to the follow-up to Men of Trent for next year. At approx 600 pages it will get hard to hold and read!

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Paul F
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by Paul F »

StefanDuma wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 1:20 pm That's a great article. I had extensive correspondence with Peter over a number of years as he was writing a book on Barbel and me on the history of the Trent anglers.
I did track and trace FWK Wallis barbel's history and have covered it in my next book on the subject.

Peter's book was going to be the "bible" of barbel and it's a pity it was never finished. Claude Taylor did have a Wallis creel, I wonder what happened to that?
Peter wheat has Wallis's creel, he mentions it in his book
"Angling down the years"

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StefanDuma
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by StefanDuma »

Paul F wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 9:21 pm
StefanDuma wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 1:20 pm That's a great article. I had extensive correspondence with Peter over a number of years as he was writing a book on Barbel and me on the history of the Trent anglers.
I did track and trace FWK Wallis barbel's history and have covered it in my next book on the subject.

Peter's book was going to be the "bible" of barbel and it's a pity it was never finished. Claude Taylor did have a Wallis creel, I wonder what happened to that?
Peter wheat has Wallis's creel, he mentions it in his book
"Angling down the years"
Claude must have left it to him, I wonder what happened to it? Wallis had them made for him in either Newark or Long Eaton I can't remember which at the moment.

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Mercman
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by Mercman »

That is a really interesting read thank you.
Does anyone still fish the Royalty today, if so what is it fishing like?
I went once back in the 80's and remember driving down the side of a shop to get into it. It was slightly unimpressive after reading many articles in the angling press at the time, but I would not mind another trip down there one day. It's a fair trip from Essex but I quite fancy a re-visit. Is it still a day ticket venue?

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DaceAce
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by DaceAce »

I fish the Royalty for roach in summer under my Ringwood DAA ticket but it is still day ticket. It's a lot less busy than the old days, still some barbel in there.

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ExeAngler
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by ExeAngler »

Great read Stour Otter. Regards Exeangler.

Jeremy Croxall
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by Jeremy Croxall »

Stour Otter wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:21 pm ​Editorial from ANGLING, Written by anglers for anglers -September, 1977 Price: 40p

Royalty barbel
By Peter Wheat

I DOUBT if a single section of river has ever more completely captured the imagination of barbel enthusiasts than the Royalty Fishery during its hey-day. For close to 40 years this unique stretch of the Hampshire Avon yielding vast numbers of double-figure specimens every season, and indeed, remarkable as it may seem, the majority of all "doubles" taken in this century have come from just this one short piece of water.
The story of how barbel arrived in the Avon in the first place is an interesting one, and for readers who have not heard it before this is how it happened.
At the turn of the century the fishing rights of the tail-end stretch of the Dorset Stour, for Iford Dowls downstream to Wick Ferry, were held by Henry Newlyn, a local Bournemouth hotelier. Newlyn, who at various times stocked rudd, carp, silver bream, rainbow and brown trout in the Stour, wanted to add barbel to his stretch and asked one of his rods, T. W. Gomm, if he could help.
Gomm, a noted London trout specialist who frequently restocked parts of the Thames with rainbows and brown trout, agreed to supply Newlyn with a batch of barbel and to this end enlisted the help of his friend "Otter" Hones, a famous Thames professional, to bait a hot-spot at Staines during the autumn of 1899.
Within the space of a few days' fishing the two anglers bagged no less than 70 barbel ranging in size from 2.5lb to 4.5lb. These fish were put into metal containers, transported down to Christchurch by rail, and placed in the Stour at Iford Bridge Hole. A further 30 barbel, also from Staines, were added at Iford in October, 1910, bringing the grand total of stock fish to 108.
These barbel thrived and bred, journeying up the Stour as far as Throop Mill, and downriver into Christchurch Harbour where the Stour and Avon join forces to enter the sea.
As far as I can tell, the very first barbel caught from the Royalty weighed 6lb -- taken in 1911 in a mixed catch made by four Nottingham anglers. The men concerned were W. Murfin, H. E. Birks, J. Bailey (a son of William Bailey), the celebrated Trent barbel angler and author of "The Angler's Instructor", and the legendary F. W. Wallis. Which one of the party actually caught the barbel is not known, but the fish certainly caused a big stir at the time, because it was the first indication that barbel had moved up river into the Avon.
Eighteen years later, in 1929, the first "doubles" were reported; two 13-pounders caught fairly and a 14 lb 4oz specimen foul-hooked by the then headkeeper, M. W. Hayter, while salmon fishing.
Readers who fished the Royalty during the 50s and 60s will not need me to tell them of how superb the barbel fishing was in those years, but even the quality of that fishing cannot compare with sport in the 30s and 40s; the golden age of Royalty barbelling. Throughout the 30s, particularly, the capture of barbel over 10lb was common-place, and though detailed statistics of pre-war catches have been lost forever, enough stories do survive to bear witness to the superlative fishing enjoyed in those halcyon days ...
Roy Beddington foul-hooked a 16lb 4oz specimen in April, 1931, while spinning a dace bait. F.W.K. Wallis caught over 60 barbel during September, 1933, including specimens weighing 14lb 4oz, 13lb 8oz, 11lb 8oz (two), 11lb (three) and 10lb (three). And the Keeber brothers recorded a remarkable brace of 14-pounders from The Barlins in March, 1934, when Tom Keeber took a barbel weighing exactly 14lb on the first day of that month and brother George took one of 14lb 3oz two days later. Both fish were witnessed and weighed by Hayter, and mounted in the same glass case. The case was still in existence in 1972, owned by a relative of the Keeber brothers living somewhere in Leicestershire. Incidentally, all that now remains of The Barlins is the dead strip of cut-off water near the Bypass Bridge.
Two more historic barbel came over the net in 1934. The first, taken on September 13, fell to the rod of Aylmer Tryon, and, at 14lb 6oz, equalled the long-standing record barbel taken by T. Wheeler from the Thames at Molesey in 1888.
Tryon, very much a novice angler at the time, hooked his mighty fish on a lobworm legered from a moored boat. It was witnessed by Hayter, weighed carefully on both the Royalty scales and those of a butcher, and set up by J. Cooper and Sons. It hangs today in the home of the Tryon family at Great Durnford, Wiltshire.
The second outstanding barbel of September, 1934, was taken a week after Tryon's fish by my old friend Claude Taylor. In big-barbel lists you'll find this one recorded at 13lb 14oz, but what is not generally known is that this fish definitely weighed more than 14lb 2oz at the time of capture.
Here is Claude Taylor's own story ...."I'd arrived at the rod room early that day, and was talking to Mr Hayter and several Royalty regulars when F.W.K. Wallis arrived. I asked him where he wanted to fish and he said Barlins, where he thought he had a chance of taking a 20lb barbel. As Mr Tunnicliffe and Mr Burrows were having the boat and would fish the Piles Swim, I therefore elected to take the Railway Pool.
"It was a soft September morning with just a hint of a southerly breeze when I arrived in the swim about 9.30am. I baited with four big balls of bread and bran, mixed stiff and filled with chopped worms and a few stones, and then tackled up a Wallis Avon rod with a centrepin reel carrying 100 yards of 5lb silk line, a pelican float heavily weighted with a running lead and shot, and a number 7 hook tied to a 3x gut bottom. Bait was a two-inch length of lob tail.
"First trot down I caught a 4lb chub, on the second trot a 5lb chub, and then the dace came on and I started to catch them at frequent intervals from the tail of the swim. Suddenly, about half-way down the swim, the float slid under sideways and I was into my first barbel of the day. It weighed 10lb and was followed by two more of 11lb 4oz and 9lb 8oz before lunch.
"Early in the afternoon I started fishing again, and about 1.30pm I hooked yet another large barbel. This one fought very craftily indeed and at one stage snagged up on a salmon stone. Fortunately for me a little slack lining got it clear again, whereupon it tore off 20 yards of line as it pulled downstream towards the bridge arches. Realizing by now that it was obviously an outstanding fish, I played it extra carefully and brought it to net in about 45 minutes.
"In the rod room it thumped the scales down against 14lb of weight, and as there were no more small weights available, Mr Tunnicliffe, who had arrived with other anglers to see the fish, threw an unopened 2oz tin of tobacco on the scales. This extra weight, however, made no difference; the scales remained firmly bumped down.
"Mr Hayter had informed F.W.K., that I had caught a barbel well over 14lb, and he came from his swim (where he had taken two 12-pounders) to see the fish and to offer his congratulations. As his suggestion I agreed to have the barbel set up, and so the carcass was left overnight in the fishery's bait box. I caught two more barbel that afternoon; fish of 7lb 8oz and 9lb 4oz.
"Mr Hayter had intended to borrow extra weights from a butcher in Christchurch and to weigh the barbel accurately, but as this didn't happen the fish was recorded as 13lb 14oz -- its weight on arrival at the taxidermist. The taxidermist suggested 14lb 12oz as about its weight when caught. The fish is on display at Warwick's, the fish merchants in Catherine Street, St. Albans.

TWENTY-MINUTE FIGHT
It was also from the Railway Pool, in September, 1937, that F.W.K. Wallis landed the third of the 14lb 6oz record trio after a fight lasting 20 minutes. Almost certainly this barbel was set up, but (if it were) it has unfortunately gone missing without trace.
I remember Claude Taylor telling me of two days' fishing he shared with Wallis that remarkable year. They fished from a punt anchored in the weirpool, baited with 2,000 lobworms, supplied by Claude, and caught 17 barbel between them in eight-hour sessions lasting from 10am until 6pm. The smallest weighed 9lb and he largest, to F.W.K.'s rod, weighed 14lb. Four of the catch were in the 12-13lb class.
Yet another outstanding barbel came from the Railway Pool on March 14, 1943. This one, foul-hooked in the dorsal fin by Hayter, weighed 15lb 12oz and took 20 minutes to master on salmon tackle. Interestingly, the body was given as compensation to an angler from Birmingham who had earlier caught a 6lb chub and then lost it when it slipped from his grasp as he crossed over the bridge in front of the rod room. I wonder, was this barbel thrown away, or was it set up and even now lies hidden in some dusty attic awaiting discovery?
Other notable Royalty barbel included the 16lb 8oz fish hooked in the mouth on a gold sprat, in April 1948, by the then head bailiff, Brian Parkinson; another, estimated at over 15lb, which grabbed a Heddon plug fished by D. Curry in 1951, and a 14lb 2oz specimen reported caught by A. Jessop in December, 1968.
But big as all these fish so obviously are, there can be no doubting that even large barbel once lived in the Royalty. Hayter, who was exceptionally well qualified to judge the size of big barbel, commented after landing the 15lb 12oz fish; "I expect some day to be able to record a 20-pounder from this same pool (the Railway), as it is full of barbel and plenty of them I am sure are close on the 20lb mark." And, as F.W.K. Wallis wrote; "...with the sun well behind us we could see shoals of these great fish, some of which would be on the borderline of 20lb."
I don't think there are 20-pounders left in the Royalty these days, although there can be no arguing with the fact that enormous barbel did survive into the 70s. Certain proof was the 17lb 14oz fish taken by B. Sheppard in July, 1971. The captor, salmon fishing, hooked the barbel in the mouth on a silver minnow lure.
Personally, I continue to believe that barbel of the 15-16lb class swim the Royalty; I also have faith in the possibility of a fish a pound or two heavier being present. But, of course, the likelihood of making contact with a barbel of this calibre is somewhat akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. And even then the odds are heavily stacked against beating such a fish on ordinary-strength barbel tackle.
Patrick Chalmers' said of the barbel in his delightful book "At the Tail of the Weir"; "...he is as strong as a cart horse and his are the staying powers of a social bore." That's true of a barbel of any size, but never more so than one of record-breaking proportions.
Big-salmon-strength tackle is essential for monster barbel, which is one reason why salmon anglers have been more successful than barbel anglers in landing the biggest of the whiskery gentlemen.

Editorial from ANGLING, Written by anglers for anglers - December., 1977 Price: 40p
Royalty barbel - LETTERS PAGE
SIR-- An error in my article on Royalty barbel (Sept., issue) has been brought to my attention.
Regarding the ex-Thames barbel stocked by T. W. Gomm at Iford Bridge Hole on the Dorset Stour, I stated that 70 were put in during the autumn of 1899 and a further 30 during October 1910, and then went on to say that the grand total of stock-fish was 108. To put my "sums" aright, here are further details of those stockings.
During October, 1899 (or just possibly 1898, as Gomm mentions both years in different records) 70 barbel caught by Gomm and "Otter" Hones were placed in the Stour at Iford.
On October 24, 1910, 20 barbel caught on October 22 (17) and October 23 (3) were added at Iford, and a further 18 on October 31. Total stock-fish; 108.
All these fish were taken at Staines, and transferred by rail in metal containers; the 1899 batch taken down by Gomm and Hones, and the 1910 batches by Gomm's brother who likely had a hand in their catching.

Peter Wheat
Poole, Dorset
A brilliant post! More like this please!!
I have tried for a barbel on three occasions at the Royalty but failed spectacularly. I have only managed an eel and a dace.
I will keep trying though, it's a bucket list thing :fingertap:
"Oh for want of rod and line I'd fish this stream serene, sublime".

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Wanderer
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Re: Royalty Fishery

Post by Wanderer »

Further thoughts on my one and only trip to fish the Royalty.
The Railway bridge was a "very risky" place to fish. Certainly as late as some time in the nineties, and maybe beyond, some of the passenger trains using that piece of track had track discharge toilets.
With metal grills on the track bed of the bridge.
It was a fearful few seconds when the trains passed over and it was a brave man ( or woman) who stood their ground.
If you were unlucky, the consequences could be, shall we say, rather unpleasant..... :fish:
"Not all those who Wander are Lost !"

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