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BARBEL A Lifetime's Addiction by Trefor West.

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Steve Williams

Senior Member

Trefor West is a name that surely most barbel angler's are familiar with. A large number, also, will be personally acquainted with the man having been customer's of his much sought over barbel tuition days or seen him at one of the many BS and other meetings that take place round the country. In this book, Trefor has put into words the approach that he has used, over the last 40 years, to put barbel on the bank nearly every day of the year. This review is planned to be in two parts; with an update later this year after I have put some of the methods through their paces on the river bank.

So what do you get for your money?

- a step by step method for catching more barbel

- a bag full of opinions on many barbel subjects- with no punches pulled

- a huge sense of Trefor's passion for barbel and barbel catching

- all written in an engaging conversational style

Catching more Barbel

The approach outlined in the first few chapters of the book is how Trefor catches hundreds of barbel every season. From identifying the best locations on a new stretch, to feeding patterns (less is definitely more); from fooling chub to tempting pressured fish. All the way through the instruction is backed up by examples from his or his customer's fishing. Later chapters also offer advice on rolling meat, floodwater, winter and night fishing, rigs and baits and more.

Opinions Galore

Throughout the book Trefor shares his thoughts on wide range of barbel related subjects that have exercised the minds of many during online forums and post fishing pub discussions. His opinion is always backed up by logical reasoning and he leaves you in no doubt of the strength of his views. Amongst other things, Trefor shares his opinions on barbel bites 3 ft twitch vs. 3 inch tickle, moon phase theory, barbed vs. barbless hooks, a barbel's sense of smell and appropriate strength tackle to use for the prince of the rivers.

A Passion for Barbel

Trefor's passion for barbel first and catching barbel second shines through in the many stories and anecdotes introduced throughout the text. The entertaining opening chapter of Trefor's early closed season 'poaching' that led him into the 40 years (and counting) love affair with all things whiskery. This is followed by, for me, one of the best chapters -the Annual Barbel Conference, not giving much away to say that this is a barbel's eye view of that strange sub-species of man 'Homo Piscatorus'.


Trefor's writing style may not appeal to all but to me was a refreshing change from some of the more straightforward fishing manuals. I'm not sure that he necessarily captures the mood and feeling of being on the bank in the way that Chris Yates would do but I'm also sure that wasn't the intention. This book is more reminiscent of chewing the fat over barbel and barbelling over a pint, or perhaps more appropriately, a cup of tea!

The book closes, in the chapter entitled 'I have a Dream', with a call to 'arms' to all anglers to unite and join together to take angling to another level visionary and thought provoking and a timely message for all bfwers!

In summary, as a relative newcomer to barbel fishing I've found this book educational and entertaining in equal measure. I'd be interested to hear of the opinions of those that have already been on one of Trefor's tuition days as to whether this book is as worthwhile for them.

If you are a new barbel angler, like me, keen to increase your competency and consistency or an old hand keen to understand the approach of one of the best barbel anglers around or you just love reading about fish and fishing and having a chuckle then go out and buy this book.�� For the price of a few bags of wonder bait or a fraction of the cost of the latest must-have rod this book will do more than either to improve your barbel fishing.�

Finally, I would rate this book 9 out of 10 and hope to be coming back later in the year to up this to a 10 once I've emptied the rivers by 'running the sequence'.

The book is available direct from Trefor, priced at £30 plus p&p, on 02476 454181 or at whackedit@west2244.freeserve.co.uk

Graham Dear BornAgainFisher April 2006
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