Posts Tagged ‘Barbel (fish)’

At long last an opportunity came up at work to get out and fish.  It’s been a few weeks since I was last out and come hell or high water, I was going to fish a river somewhere.  Talking of high water, it seems that most rivers are still incredibly high and really pushing through.  I suspect the heavy colour has dropped out a bit by now and with it some of the nasties that get into the river system during floods i.e. oil, untreated sewage etc.etc.  So if its safe to get access to a swim then its well worth a go in these unseasonably mild conditions.

After much deliberation Kevin and I opted to fish the Lea in Hertfordshire.  We hoped it wouldn’t be too seriously affected by the recent deluge of rain.  We arrived early and found we had the place to ourselves.  This particular stretch contains some very big roach and dace and it was with these in mind that I set up a light float outfit.  The 14ft Drennan Matchpro Light, Bob James (am I allowed to mention his name still?!) 2.5lb mainline, 1.14oz hooklink with a 22 barbless fine wire hook.  This was fished in conjunction with a 6xNo4 stick float.  Bait was single red maggot and loose feeding maggot and hemp, with a small pinch each and every trot through.

Now with the weather being so mild I thought it prudent to take a second rod and reel set up a little heavier in case the barbel were active.  So the second outfit was made up of a 13ft power float rod, Fred Crouch aerial centrepin and 6lb mainline.  The hooklink was 5lb and I used a strong  size 14 barbless with 2 or 3 maggots.  This was fished with a much larger float which helps to pull the thicker line through the rod’s eyes and enable the float to travel downstream more freely.  Well that was the idea anyway.   To be honest due to the tight confines of the swims here, an 8 or 9lb low diameter mainline used in conjunction with a 7lb low diameter hooklink would be much better but I was still confident it would suffice.

As the light slowly began to filter through the gloom, I ran the stick float through a nice deep glide.  The float continued downstream in a lovely unhurried fashion and I eased back on the stick so the bait fluttered up and ahead of the floats passage.  With each trot through, a few maggots and hemp were flicked in to travel along with the hookbait.  After just a few trots the float buried and the strike met with a solid resistance.  Whatever was on the other end soon realised and was off on a powerful run.  I bent the rod into the fish and allowed line as sparingly as I dared.  The fish was just too powerful and it straitened the tiny fine wire hook.  It was obviously a barbel.  Shortly after another barbel took the bait, followed by another.  It was fairly obvious at this juncture that roach fishing was going to be pointless .

I now swapped the roach outfit for the heavier rod and reel in anticipation that only the barbel would be active from this point on.  After just a couple of trots through, the float buried and this time I was able to subdue the barbel comfortably with the stronger tackle.  It was a barbel of about 5lbs.  Several more followed before it went quiet.  I decided to return to the roach fishing as it appeared the barbel had moved out of the swim.  Er big mistake.  A dozen or so trots through and another barbel was hooked and again lost to some unseen snag.  So it was back to the heavier tackle.

Mud, mud, glorious mud.....

Mud, mud, glorious mud…..

This went on pretty much all day.  I ended up with 8 barbel to about 6lbs but lost quite a few too, which I always feel bad about particularly if I’ve left a hook in them.  Luckily they were small, fine wire hooks so wouldn’t take long to work free.   The rain started early to mid afternoon and it all got a bit messy.  The banks were sticky with wet mud and most of my equipment was soaked through.  As the light faded both Kevin and I were more than happy to call it a day.  Both Kevin and I also had one chub apiece but sadly the roach and dace didn’t put in an appearance.




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