The BCC was formed to provide a framework for the discussion and development of new ideas and the debating of key issues. Much of this information has been passed on to the general angling public by a variety of writers through the weekly press, monthly magazines, books and the Internet. In 1999 Andy Humphries developed the club’s own Website. Information is provided regarding the club’s activities together with a selection of articles from the club’s magazine ‘BARBUS’. All members write at least one article per year for the magazine, which also provides a medium for news and views; it is truly the life-blood of the club and its cover has been graced with superb artwork from the likes of Tony Hart and Mike Nicholls. The 100th edition of Barbus was printed in 2003. In 1988 the club produced its first book ‘BARBEL’ which at the time of publication provided a definitive guide to the county’s Barbel rivers – though it rapidly became outdated as a result of the amazing expansion of Barbel throughout English rivers.
The Barbel Catchers have been at the forefront of virtually every breakthrough in Barbel angling over the last quarter of a century, in terms of both innovative techniques and fish captures. That 10lb Royalty fish now seems such a long time ago, as through the late 1970s and into the 1980s the club’s collective knowledge and pioneering spirit began to pay dividends. In the 1979-80 season when Roger Baker set the Great Ouse record at 12lb 2oz, no-one could have predicted the current scene on that river, culminating in fish over 20lb. Even when Stan Sear set a new river record at 13lb 0oz in 1989, many of us thought that this was the Great Ouse at its zenith. It now seems ridiculous that people refused to believe Ray Woods’ unclaimed record of 16lb 5oz. In fact at that time, with Howard Maddocks having taken his 16lb 3oz fish from the Lower Severn, BCC members had accounted for the two biggest Barbel in the country.
Juring the 1982-83 season, Andy Orme’s immense fish of 13lb 7oz set the Wessex Barbel angling scene alight. Nowadays this would be viewed as just another wonderful fish. How important it is to keep our perspective of these historical captures. The following season Dave Plummer put the Wensum into the big league when he banked ‘Beau’ at her top weight of 13lb 6oz, a fish that became one of the country’s most famous Barbel. Beau appeared again and became a player in of one of angling’s greatest stories, taken by the rod of Trevor West as he fished through the great storm of 1987. Who but Trevor would have fished through hurricane Henry?
Even in Yorkshire where the top weights for Barbel would be several pounds below those of their southern brethren, the BCC has made an impact. Dave Mason recorded the club’s first Derwent double at 10lb exactly, but it was Jon Wolfe who set the Broad Acres buzzing with a stunning Swale fish of 11lb 4oz, the culmination of a determined campaign. Meanwhile from somewhere in Kent came another historic capture, and one that led the way to a national record, something which no-one in their wildest dreams ever envisaged would happen. Dave Magson, Guy Welfare, Steve Carden, Richard Storer and Ian Beadle had been quietly discovering the hidden secrets of the Medway, and it was Ian who recorded the first Medway double at 10lb 6oz. During the early 1990s the BCC dominated on this river, pioneering the use of HNV specials and producing a run of huge fish topped by one of 14lb 6oz to Dave Williams, and a then national record Barbel of 14lb 13oz to Dave Taylor.