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Posts Tagged ‘Maggots for Barbel’


With the 15th March looming it was a chance to have a final fling on the rivers.  It’s been a brutal winter not just for fishing but for all of those poor devils that were flooded out over the last few months.  Still the weather has at last calmed down and a far more settled period of dry and mild conditions have dominated in recent weeks.

Geoff, Kevin and I decided to give the Trent a go for the last hurrah.  Arriving late Tuesday afternoon we headed straight down to the river.  We were expecting it to be relatively clear and perhaps up a little.  We were about right and the river was running maybe a foot or so up on the summer level.  Only one other angler was on the banks and we chatted about recent form.  Apparently the fishing has been poor for most of the season, which didn’t bode well.  Still we were here now so needed to make the most of it.

I decided due to the lateness of arrival to fish just the one rod on this first session.  It was around 6pm by now so we needed to get a move on.  We all fished in the same area.  Simple tactics really; a big cage feeder packed with small pellets and groundbait.  I opted to fish a long hooklink of around 3 feet, a Pallatrax weight clip and tail rubber, 12lb mainline and a size 10 The Hook.  Bait was a Winter Almond Squab with matching paste.  In the summer I would look at casting a loaded feeder every few minutes for around an hour to get some bait out into the swim.  During the winter I tend to cut this down a bit and so recast every 8-10 minutes.

It was already turning cold but there was quite a bit of surface activity, with fish rolling.  Some appeared to be roach but one or two were bigger fish, maybe chub or barbel.  I think all three of us managed to tempt fish of some sort with Kevin and I taking the only barbel at one apiece.  Kevin’s was a decent one at 9lb 4oz, mine was around the 6lb mark.  I think we had a few chub and bream too.

The following day started with a hearty breakfast and then off to the river from around 11am.  We are no early birds when it comes to getting on the river, well not when breakfast is involved! We opted to fish the upper reaches of this section which involves quite a lengthy walk.  It’s made all the more arduous by the amount of completely unnecessary tackle taken.  As I write this I’m just wondering why the Hell I didn’t remove the umbrella from the quiver .  No rain was forecast over the few days and so it was totally pointless taking it.  Doh!

It was a murky start to the day with quite thick fog and a tad chilly too, with an over night frost.  Still we were hopeful.  Due to the recent high levels the banks are wet and slippery with a thick coating of silt in places.  At times I felt like a hippo wallowing in mud, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as a hippo would have! Anyway I spent around 3 or 4 hours in a swim that never produced so much as a twitch and so opted to move upstream.  I then put one rod out with maggots and a large blockend feeder.  As always I like to get the maggots Pallatraxed up a bit and add some Winter Almond overspray the night before.  This allows the maggots to absorb the flavouring and I just add a little extra on and off through the session.   I was now using an 8lb Flurocarbon hooklink of around 3 feet and a size 14 The Hook.  I put on around 4 or 5 maggots of varying colours, although red seemed to generate more interest from the fish.  As with all big rivers the feeder is cast upstream and a big bow of line is let out.  This helps to keep the feeder in place and allows a much lighter weight than if you tried to fish a tight line to the feeder.

By 8pm it was getting very foggy and cold, with a frost forming on the unhooking mat.  I’d managed to tempt a few chub and 3 barbel, however once darkness had set in things seemed to go quiet.  All bar one fish fell to the maggots, with one taking a liking to the Winter Almond squabs. Geoff had also managed a barbel and Kevin two I think.  It was no great hardship calling it a day and heading off for some food.  We hoped to be on the river a little earlier in the morning so an early night was in order.

The following morning saw us arrive around 10am and once the fog cleared it was a glorious day.  The sun came out and the warmth it generated was most welcome, it really was like a late spring day.  Sadly the fish didn’t seem impressed.  We had all opted to fish the lower section, where the flow is concentrated to the near bank due to the large sweeping bend above us.  We fished around a rod length out into a deep channel.  Sadly the fish appeared to be on their annual hols somewhere.  Kevin tried further out and soon had a barbel on.  With that, both Geoff and I tried the same tactics and eventually we were fishing 3/4 of the way across.  This seemed to make all the difference and soon we had all caught a barbel or two, plus a few chub.   Again they seemed to favour the maggots and my flavoured ones produced the goods.  I ended up with 5 nice barbel to over 8lbs and a couple of chub to 4lb 12oz, all on maggots.  Geoff managed one barbel and Kevin two.  I ended the few days with 9 barbel and around the same amount of chub and lost 2 barbel.  Geoff I think had 2 barbel and Kevin 4 or 5 and again both taking a number of good chub and bream.

So a tough season comes to an end.  The three musketeers seemed to have struggled this season.  Still, it was an enjoyable finale and as always I’d like to thank both Geoff and Kevin for their good friendship and patience.  My fishing would be poorer without their company.  Also not forgetting a certain Mr Collins for his good company, stories and entertaining tales.  Yes there is so much more to fishing than just catching fish and long may it continue.

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