Having had the last few weeks off from fishing to move my life back down to Yorkshire, I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I want to achieve in the months ahead.

Anyone who has read some of my earlier articles will know that I dedicated the majority of my fishing time last season to pursuing Barbel on the River Swale.

I’m not ashamed to admit that, for one reason or another, last season proved incredibly challenging.

The River endured some of it’s worst flooding in modern times and several other moments of bad fortune struck my adventures along the way.

But I’m not one to hide behind excuses and so, with only a couple of weeks to go before the 16th June, my thoughts are drifting back to that enigmatic and revered water.

The one big positive I can take from last season was meeting up with fellow Carp Army member James Davies.

James is obsessive about Barbel (perhaps a little too obsessive) and it’s common for us to exchange text messages throughout the day whilst at work to discuss something to do with fishing. With James the conversation usually gravitates back to Barbel!

Chasing Barbel can be a solitary pursuit for much of the time but the one thing that fishing in general does is bring like-minded people together and it’s great to have such a good friend to share my adventures with this year.

Many of our conversations of late have centred around how we’re going to tackle the Swale in the coming months and we’ve both decided to give the Red Crustacean Boilie range a go this year.

James has had success with the Barbel on similar baits to the Red Crustacean in the past so we’ll be out on the bank on the 16th to see if we can tempt a few big Yorkshire Barbel to get stuck into these baits.

My hope is that with better weather, some better fortune and a better bait that I can lift a nice fish of two for the cameras soon.

I’ve got unfinished business with those Swale Barbel and the next two weeks can’t come quick enough so I can get back to chasing them once again!

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