Posts Tagged ‘Barbel fishing on the Trent’

The lure of the Trent drew Geoff, Kevin and I back to the Midlands for another sortie on the mighty Trent.  The only problem was the forecast.  From a spell of warm sunny weather to windy, chilly and possibly even rainy conditions.  When I say chilly I actually mean bloody cold, it had the potential to drop to 4c overnight and with a top daytime prediction of 14c, it was set to be long johns weather.

Still we decided to give it a go anyway, mad fools that we are.  Some would say idiots and who am I to argue.  We camp near to the fishery and after setting up we headed to the river.  Both Kevin and I opted for the long slog to the top end whilst Geoff (who was feeling a little under the weather) decided to stay a little closer to the car park.  Its a fairly arduous walk to the top along a narrow and overgrown path.  Numerous overhanging trees create obstacles along with an awkward sloping path, however we overcame these minor irritations and eventually arrived at the area we wanted to target.  We soon selected a couple of swims and as the light was fading fast, got on with setting up as quickly as we could.

I opted for two rods, 3oz Andy Witham cage feeders, 14lb mainline and Camfusion hooklinks.  I intended to fish double elips on one rod and the other would be double boilie. I started to cast out into the respective area with both rods every 5 minutes to get a bed of bait out.  After an hour I slowed that down to 10-15 minutes.   The light very soon faded and it didn’t take too long to get some action.  I had three barbel fairly quickly, all about 4-6lbs.  Then the chub moved in and I took half a dozen all over 4lbs topped off by a real clonker that looked well over 5lb.  I should have weighed it really as chub weights can be so deceptive, but I was confident it was a 5+.

Geoff seemed to be struggling his end although he also caught a big chub which he estimated to be a 5, plus a couple of snotties.  Kevin had a bit more luck on the barbel front taking four to over 8lbs and a couple of chub.  By 1am it was freezing and we decided to call it a day.  When we left the river it was 4c and I think it got even colder early hours.

After a good lunch at the local pub we headed back to the river.  I fished a little lower down this time and had more daylight hours to bait up.  So again casting every 5 minutes with both rods, I put out a good carpet of bait over the next two hours.  About 6.30pm I had a spell of action which produced three barbel to 8lbs quite quickly and then it died.  I eventually caught a small chub and another barbel late on but then that was it.

Kevin had another 4 barbel and a couple of chub and Geoff managed 2 barbel and another bream plus a chub or two.  All in all not too bad considering the conditions.  During the afternoon the temperature had dropped to just 10c and it was bitterly cold.  The river was very low and clear and has been fishing very poor of late, which was also confirmed by the bailiff.  So perhaps it was a good result, although poor for the Trent generally speaking.

During the night we had some prolonged heavy rain and the temperature rose quite considerably.  Better fishing conditions perhaps but not so good for packing up the tents!!  Ah well, hopefully we’ll get another trip in before the onset of winter, although a Travelodge may well replace the tents next time.

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A return to the Midlands was in order and so Kevin, Geoff and I made arrangements to camp in our usual place and fish the Trent.  Both Geoff and I had already paid a visit to the Trent a while back but this would be Kev’s first visit of the season, so we hoped it would be a little easier than the last one.

The forecast was for some pretty heavy rain on the Wednesday but Tuesday sounded dry and the weather was at least warm.  By the time we set up the tents and arrived at the river it was almost 7pm.  I wandered upstream quite some distance and decided on a two pronged attack.  I would fish one round around half way and the other, more powerful rod, would be cast as far across and into the main flow as possible.  The closer rod was set-up with pretty much standard Trent tactics in mind: a large open end feeder packed with pellets and plugged with groundbait.  I used 14lb mainline and a 10lb Sufix coated hooklink, which was about 3 feet long.  The second rod was pretty much the same but because of the distance I was hoping to fish I dispensed with the feeder and used a shorter hook length.

Constant casting with the feeder rod every few minutes started to build up the swim, whilst the other rod would be left to its own devices.  If one rod started to produce good results, then I planned to mirror that with the second rod.  As it turned out the feeder rod at the half way mark produced the only action and eventually I brought in the distance rod and set that up with a feeder and fished the same area.

The fishing was fairly slow for me really.  I ended the night with just 5 barbel but one was a decent one at 9lb 15oz.  Geoff was finding it similarly slow going, whilst Kevin had not had a fish.  However that soon changed after midnight.  Suddenly Kev was getting a bite a chuck.  So we fished through until 2.30am when we just couldn’t fish any longer.  Kev ended up with 9 barbel to around 9lbs.

So not a bad start I suppose but not brilliant for the Trent.  The river was much lower and clearer now and after the high levels that it had for most of the last 2 or 3 months, was fishing understandably slower.  So the next morning we headed to the farm shop for breakfast (full English with chips…..yummy) and then we headed to the river again around late lunchtime.  Kev headed for the same swim as the night before and I headed to the upper limits of the fishery.  It was a bloody long walk but the area looked very good.  Here the main flow was about halfway and the river a little narrower.  Geoff ended up about halfway between me and Kevin.

Again I opted to fish two rods about halfway out into the main flow.  Both rods were cast every 5 or 6 minutes throughout the afternoon to keep plenty of bait going in and hopefully pull those large shoals of barbel in.  Two fish came to my rods during the afternoon, whilst the others struggled for a bite.  Kevin opted to fish a lighter set-up and hopefully get amongst the roach.  It worked and he caught numerous decent roach but lost one at the net that he thought might just go 2.  I also managed a nice roach which looked around the 1lb mark.

Throughout the afternoon and early evening we were subjected to some very heavy rains and a thunderstorm.  Luckily I had managed to set the brolly up just prior to the heavens opening.  Eventually the banks started to get a little treacherous and on one occasion I did a sort of Harold Lloyd impression and went arse over tit.  No harm done, just a bruised backside for my troubles.  Eventually the rain eased off and the remainder of the night was dry.

During the two days we were there, numerous narrow boats and big cruisers plowed up and down the river.  They are always respectful and remain about halfway out, thus avoiding angler’s lines.  However one decided to come through less than a quarter of the way across and by the time I saw it, it was almost too late.  Due to the trees to my right (upstream) I often couldn’t see the boats until they were almost on top of me.  Generally of course you could hear them coming but because of the heavy rain, my hearing was diminished.  So I managed to sink the line on the first rod in lightening quick time but as I grabbed the second rod, the narrow boat went straight through the line and started to take line.  I didn’t fancy my chances at landing this one, so had to pull for a break.  There was much arm waving and head shaking but I did manage to resist the temptation of hurling abuse at the man and his wife at the wheel.  She watched as I jumped up and down and shaking my fists like Basil Fawlty and must have got the message, because by the time they reached Geoff they had steered the boat across to the other side.

As the light faded so things began to hot up.  I started to get steady action throughout the night and despite loosing a couple of fish and missing a couple of wraparounds I ended up with a dozen barbel.  They were mostly small to medium sized barbel but a couple may have gone 7-8lbs.  Geoff also found a few fish taking 7 but unfortunately Kevin couldn’t replicate the action from the previous night and only managed one fish.  Sadly I think he lost a couple too.  By the end of the night I was getting knocks and twitches as soon as I cast out.  Unfortunately we were running out of time.  We had decided to pack up earlier than the previous night, as we were heading home early the next morning.

So ended another Midlands sortie and no doubt there’ll be a few more before the end of the season.  What I’d like to do is come up in the autumn and fish for those lovely roach…….



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The call of the mighty Trent was too strong to ignore and so Geoff and I made arrangements to do a couple of nights.  It’s a bit of a trek from Kent but the rewards and scenery well make up for the distance.  As always we got to see plenty of Goldfinches which just add some really rich and vibrant colour as they dart about, resplendent in their gold plumage.



Whenever I think of Nottingham, it always reminds me of that great line from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves when the Sheriff of Nottingham (played by the brilliant actor Alan Rickman) says to a young wench “You. My room. 10:30 tonight.” and immediately follows it up to another young wench with “You. 10:45… And bring a friend.”  Brilliant.

The weather forecast was (not surprisingly) mixed; sunny period interspersed with some heavy rain and thunder storms.  That pretty much summed up the whole of the summer so far.  Still undeterred by such things we arrived at the river early evening on the Tuesday.  She was carrying about 3 foot of extra water and looked really good.  We headed upstream and settled on a couple of swims.  After a few bite less hours in what looked a perfect spot, I decided to move lower downstream.  Geoff hadn’t had a bite either and we really couldn’t understand what we were doing wrong.   Just before packing up around 1am my rod finally slammed over and a small barbel of about 5lb was returned safely to fight another day.

So 1 barbel between the two of us was pretty appalling and we both felt rather inadequate.  Quite what we were doing wrong wasn’t glaringly obvious to us, other than maybe we hadn’t found the fish.   So Wednesday we returned after enjoying a rather hearty breakfast at the local farm shop, which had a superb cafe.  This time we opted to fish a little lower down.  I found a few fish, taking four during the afternoon and I moved lower down again early evening and managed a further two from close in on very small pellets.  Six was certainly better than yesterday but far from good.  Geoff still hadn’t managed a fish.

As darkness fell I got chatting to one of the locals who pointed out the error of our ways.  During high water the barbel shoaled up lower downstream leaving much of the upper stretches devoid of fish.  He proved himself right by fishing the evening and catching over 30 barbel.  We decided to try a couple of swims lower down and Geoff managed four and I had three more.

A lesson learned as they say.

The next morning the heavens opened and we had to pack away the tents in heavy rain.  We couldn’t even have an early morning cuppa.  So this is what Hell’s like then…..bugger!

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