NACA Sayers barbel continue to grow and all looks good for the future

Sayers - Fruition

Sayers Meadow - Fruition - Steve Loades

NA Article - Sayers Meadow - FruitionI first fished Sayers Meadow many years ago, having just joined the newly formed NACA syndicate on the upper river Wensum. As a fishery, to be perfectly honest it wasn’t of my immediate interest, although it did contain one or two good sized roach.The mill pools at the head of the stretch being the main decent ‘fishy’ areas.The river downstream didn’t really ‘float my boat’, in fact all I seemed to be able to catch was the odd mediocre 3 lb chub! However, that was all about to change dramatically, over the next fifteen years when NACA decided to carry out an ambitious habitat restoration project.

The campaign to restore and improve this section of river using tons of aggregate and plenty of hard work was spearheaded by the irrepressible Chris Turnbull.At the time of the project’s inception I was just a mere disciple, hands firmly clasped around the handles of my woefully inadequate wheel barrow, trying desperately to cross the river and deposit my puny load of gravel on top of a newly built riffle. In those days, we really did do things by hand! The majority of the work being carried out by the 35 strong syndicate. It was during these initial stages that our first stocking took place, a thousand baby barbel from the NRA Calverton Fish Farm (incidentally paid for by the syndicate members). If my memory serves me correctly, our primary intention was to create a barbel fishery, the habitat improvement and biodiversity plan, hopefully, having a positive domino effect on all of the rivers flora and forna. This in my view, seems to be pretty much what has been achieved, except the barbel have grown slightly larger than most of us had expected!

During the syndicate’s formative years, there was plenty of work to be done. On the fishing front some of the members got interested in the roach and occasionally the odd small barbel would get caught accidentally. In what seemed to be just a few short seasons these little fellows started to grow. Soon regular catches began to feature, particularly from the mill pools. Once these fish reached about seven pounds, there was no stopping them! In no time at all the first doubles started appearing (actually, it was nine years after the initial stocking).

It was during this period that I was unable to fish much, although happy to pay my subs and attend the working parties (a perfect candidate for a syndicate member don’t you think!) It would be some time before I could join the upsurge in barbel fishing, as other more pressing elements took precedence in my life. However,my interest was soon to be rekindled when an old cottage on the cusp of the river valley came firmly into focus. All I needed to do was convince my fiancee how much ‘she’would benefit from living in a rural setting! I believe it was on our first walk along the water meadows that I pointed out how fortunate ‘we’ were to live so near to the river. And that beneath the surface of this particular river there were barbel, and these barbel were getting bigger! “Why don’t you have a fish for them,” she said.Now, I knew I couldn’t let her down. I kept an eye on the river that summer and during occasional fish spotting trips, the barbel would show themselves on the riffles, The campaign to restore and improve this section of river using tons of aggregate and plenty of hard work was spearheaded by the irrepressible Chris Turnbull.

Super Wensum barbel for SteveAt the time of the project’s inception I was just a mere disciple, hands firmly clasped around the handles of my woefully inadequate wheel barrow, trying desperately to cross the river and deposit my puny load of gravel on top of a newly built riffle. In those days, we really did do things by hand! The majority of the work being carried out by the 35 strong syndicate. It was during these initial stages that our first stocking took place, a thousand baby barbel from the NRA Calverton Fish Farm (incidentally paid for by the syndicate members). If my memory serves me correctly, our primary intention was to create a barbel fishery, the habitat improvement and biodiversity plan, hopefully, having a positive domino effect on all of the rivers flora and forna. This in my view, seems to be pretty much what has been achieved, except the barbel have grown slightly larger than most of us had expected!

During the syndicate’s formative years, there was plenty of work to be done. On the fishing front some of the members got interested in the roach and occasionally the odd small barbel would get caught accidentally. In what seemed to be just a few short seasons these little fellows started to grow. Soon regular catches began to feature, particularly from the mill pools. Once these fish reached about seven pounds, there was no stopping them! In no time at all the first doubles started appearing (actually, it was nine years after the initial stocking).