Featured Angler - Nick Fisher

Nick 'aptly named' Fisher

Nick and I met back in 2010 via our respective spouses, who have been best friends since Uni days. Nick is a vet by profession and away from the bank enjoys birding and is a passionate Wolves fan, which I think should be held against him.
Nick first got into fishing as a child, going out with his father, Steve. He hadn’t kept it up since then, but seemed really keen to pick up where he left off. It’s fair to say Steve’s references weren’t exactly glowing, with at least one suggestion that Nick was cursed and scared the fish away. I didn’t pay too much heed to this and was confident we could put Nick on a fish or two and go from there.

Nick's first fish - a very respectable tench
Our first session together was on day ticket water at Lower Bishopswood. He had borrowed his dad’s split cane rod and I lent him the rest. We finished the day with a blank, on a river in fine fettle. A second session followed soon afterwards, with me catching a pair of barbel and Nick failing to notch. Undeterred, we persevered; alternating sessions between the Wye and Severn. There was a familiar theme, I’d catch and Nick would inexplicably struggle. I’d be lying if I said his father’s warnings weren’t ringing alarm bells.

Nick’s first connection with a barbel eventually came on a flooded Wye, running the colour of chocolate. His rig was placed in the slack water between two bushes. No two foot twitch, just a screaming take. The rod doubled. “Fish on!”. The rod fell flat. Silence. Nick’s clutch had been tightened to free from an earlier snag and had not been readjusted, the bolting barbel snapping through 10lb mono like cotton. The mood on the bank was somber and I really felt for Nick, having persevered for so long for his first bar of gold. Fortunately, he managed to take two barbel of five and six pounds from the same swim later that afternoon. You never do forget that feeling of your first barbel, and both fish gave fitting accounts of themselves in the flow. Nick was genuinely elated, and even bought the beers.  
Nick and his first barbel

Despite lifting the curse of the ‘barbel-scarer’, Nick's catch returns still weren't as they should have been. We often fished the same pegs as one another, with our trips being a bit of a social. Yet the barbel had an uncanny knack of finding my hookbaits, again and again, whilst ignoring Nick’s. We would use identical terminal tackle and baits, yet on only one occasion had he registered more fish; a single (but welcome) barbel to my blank on low, clear water. On most sessions Nick would blank, and the nick-name ‘barbel-scarer’ was once more beginning to take hold.

Then one day, we made a revelation. On a Severn in prime condition and a swim seemingly stuffed with fish, three barbel had graced my net without reply from Nick. As usual, we were only fishing ten metres or so apart. We swapped swims. Two more barbel to me. This time we swapped rods. Nick quickly notched a barbel. And another. And another...

Our set-ups were identical, with one exception - I had always used 12lb brown diawa sensor, Nick clear 10lb fox soft steel. I was astounded that a line choice could have made such a consistent difference over a period of a couple of years. Asking around, others shared similar experiences, with barbel supposedly spooking when they contact an invisible object in the river. By comparison, they don't appear to be put off by what they can see. There’s something to learn from every challenge and I’ve been paranoid about line choice ever since, rarely straying from sensor.

The soft steel was subsequently scrapped and the barbel-scarers curse finally disproved. Nick now enjoys equal returns and is a confident angler. I’ve always been impressed with his perseverance and I think he savours every barbel all the more for his experiences. These days Nick is a confident angler and frequent companion on the bank. He's turning into quite the tackle tart, with something new every time I see him, but it's good to see he's developed a passionate for it.

He recently surpassed my own personal best with a superb Wye barbel of 9'7, tantalizingly short of his first double. I'm convinced the current had washed his feeder down into my swim, but that's the sort of sneaky trick you'd expect from a Wolves fan...

 Nick and his PB Barbel - 9'7

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