Posts Tagged ‘Feeder fishing for barbel’

My second trip to the river was going to be on the mighty Trent, on a section controlled by Worksop.  It’s a really nice spot and the deep water is on the near side bank, which makes a nice change.  No need to throw a 5oz feeder 3/4 of the way across the river.  Even just a rod length out in places, the depth drops to a murky 12 feet or so.  One things for sure; the fish seem to fight even harder in these depths and with a good flow a decent bend in the rod is guaranteed.

A Worksop stretch of the Trent

A Worksop stretch of the Trent

On this trip Geoff and I were joined by Kev.  He’s not in the best of health at the moment, so on those odd trips when he can join us, we are delighted to see him.  We were just having a two day trip here.  First off a visit to the local tackle shop, where I stocked up on feeders and bout 6 pints of red maggots.  With very little rain to speak of the river was still fairly clear and I thought a particle approach may pay dividends.  The best thing of all is the price of maggots here; just £2.20 per pint and if you get a gallon they go down to an incredible £1.75!

So armed and dangerous (well almost) we headed off to our stretch.  Only one car was parked and that could easily be a dog walker, so we had the whole stretch almost to ourselves.  A good recce and we each plumped for our chosen swims.  I was going for a two rod attack.  Fishing on the Trent is about the only time I fish two rods.  I prefer to concentrate on one and believe I fish much better that way.  However the Trent is a big river and I rarely find two rods a problem.  The upstream rod was going to be a big blockend feeder packed with maggots, 4 ft flurocarbon hooklink and a size 12 hook with a big bunch of red maggots.  On the downstream rod a similar set-up but with a cage feeder and coated braid hooklink and Cheese Mania 14mm double dumbbells as hook bait.  The feeder was packed with LA groundbait and 6 and 8mm caviar pellets.

The fishing over the two days proved to be fairly slow.  The first day was a mix of heavy showers and the odd spot of sunshine but very windy.  The second day the wind dropped and the skies cleared during the morning, with some cloud cover in the afternoon.  I kept changing baits but more or less stuck to the same line of attack in terms of casting.  With around 12ft of water out in front of me I opted to lob the baits out around 1-2 rod lengths out.  Any closer seemed to get snagged up more often than not.

Geoff seemed to make a good start with a bream and chub and a couple of barbel.  Just as a very heavy, squally shower started one of my rod hooped over and a very fit barbel was eventually subdued.  It looked around 8.5-9.5 but it was lashing it down and I wasn’t that desperate to confirm a weight or take a photo.  I was hoping this was the first a several more fish to come but I was sorely mistaken!  So thinking further opportunities for a photo would present itself the barbel was returned as quickly as possible and I dived back under the brolly.  That was the only barbel of the day for me, despite the conditions improving and by early evening looking really good for a fish or two.  I think Geoff lost a couple of fish and we decided to call it a day around 7.00pm.

The next morning was a little chilly at first but soon warmed up in the late autumn sunshine.  We opted for some different swims but still the fishing was a little slow.  I think Geoff once again seemed to get some action early on but suffered with fish loss as on the previous day.  Sadly Kevin also suffered a similar fate, loosing a couple of good fish to unseen snags.  I ended up swapping the maggots for a single banded 12mm caviar pellet and that seemed to help a bit.  I managed to tempt 2 barbel and a chub.  The maggots only producing a few perch and a nice looking roach.

A rather unusual blunt nose didn't stop this Trent barbel from feeding.

A rather unusual blunt nose didn’t stop this Trent barbel from feeding.

I think the final tally was three barbel and a chub for me and possibly 5 barbel and a chub for Geoff.  I’m sure he will correct me if I’m wrong.  So a little tough going but enjoyable nonetheless.  I’m certain that in the right conditions this stretch could throw up a very big barbel or two.  Time will tell.



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It was that time of the year again.  Can it really be 12 months since our last visit to the Wye Valley for some early summer barbel fishing?  It’s flown by, which is frightening really.  Still they say as you get older the faster the times seems to go and it looks like ‘they’ are right.

The only worry we had was that the barbel may not have spawned by the time we got there.  In fact they did the weekend prior to our arrival.  We suspected that the fishing would be quite slow and looking at reports on BFW and one or two other forums, it looked like pretty slow going indeed.

Still if there is one thing that can make up for some slow fishing, then its the scenery.  The Wye Valley is simply breathtaking.  Rolling hills, thick forests, pasture-land, pretty villages, wonderful cottages and some rustic old pubs all go to make this place so special.  I often sit back and just gaze in wonder at the spellbinding beauty of the Herefordshire countryside.  Throw into this mix some amazing wildlife and its a privilege to have the freedom to be out there enjoying the sights and sounds this country has to offer.

The River Wye

The River Wye

We arrived at the farm around late morning, much earlier than normal, due in the main to a quiet and unusually benign M25.  It didn’t take long to get the caravan and awning set-up and we headed down to the river.  It was the lowest I think I have seen it, certainly for some time anyway.  I had planned on a two pronged attack….float rod to start with and then move onto a feeder later on.

Once the waders were on I headed onto the shallow gravels and opted for a big float, which would hold its line easily.  I wanted to trot the deeper gulley that ran down the opposite bank.  I had decided to feed with 6mm carp pellets and fish a banded 8mm carp pellet on the hook.  The shot was bulked around 12-14″ from the hook and a No 4 dropper shot employed around 4-6″ from the hook.  The float had a nice pronounced tip that would easily be visible at distance.

I initially bait droppered in around 6 medium sized droppers of hemp and a couple of mini pellets and then left the swim for half an hour to hopefully get the fish feeding. Sadly after a couple of hours trotting without so much as a bite, it was becoming obvious that the barbel were either not in residence or simply not interested.  I had hoped to fish the end of the beach area here, but unfortunately there was someone fishing on the opposite bank.  The area lower down had a very deep gully that I thought might hold some fish, especially as the flow is very good here.

Drennan Power Float Rod

Drennan Power Float Rod

Kevin was float fishing above me and Geoff was feeder fishing from the croy slightly further upstream.  All these areas have produced fish in the past but not today.  Geoff decided to walk upstream and I stayed put lower down but switched to the feeder.  I like the Fisky type feeders and use a hemp and halibut groundbait and add pellets of all sizes; 4mm, 6mm, 8mm and a few 12mm elips.  I also sprayed some of  Trefor West’s ‘sausage sizzle’ flavour to the mix for some of that extra bit of magic.

Nothing materialised for me but Geoff came through on the walkie talkie and had caught a couple of fish from the top end.  Enough was enough and I headed up top.  I was loaded up like a sherpa and just about made the hike in one piece. I found a nice swim just above Geoff, who had now caught again.  He continued to catch steadily and the fish seemed to be of a good size and included Geoff’s first Wye double of exactly 10lbs.  In the meantime Kevin and I struggled for bites, despite flanking Geoff on both sides.  He ended up with 10 and Kevin and I had 1 apiece.

Geoff's first Wye double

Geoff’s first Wye double

Still our first barbel of the season had been secured and we looked forward to a wonderful week ahead of us on the river Wye.

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