WELCOME TO the second of the new live blogs on the new-look Angler’s Mail website. Tuesday will see a new blog by Steve Collett, focussing mainly on match fishing but also delving into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.
Steve, who often appear in Angler’s Mail magazine, has a top match angling pedigree with some big match wins including being a former Division One National champion. He is a total all-round angler too, so is sure to reveal some top fishing tips every week. Here he looks at how to catch barbel on the River Trent, based of his barbel tactics for the River Severn.
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AT LAST… A BIT OF SUNSHINE!
STEVE COLLETT’S BLOG 1 (published Tuesday, July 31)
I SUPPOSE like all of you, this weather has been getting me down of late. It’s not because it’s very bad for the fishing, except the rivers, but your kit getting soaked through, and all of your stuff filthy… I think you can all relate to that.
So when the forecaster said there would be a few steady days of high pressure, I thought it would be a nice time to get out and do some pleasure fishing. And when I say pleasure fishing I mean just that, no pressure, not after any records, just throw a rod out, sit back and enjoy the surroundings. On this particular occasion I chose the River Trent as “my office” for the afternoon.
I don’t know about you, but not being a local lad, the vision I expect of the River Trent is that it is always full of bivvies, tents, cans of lager. That image really couldn’t be further from the truth. The section I have come to fish is reed lined for some, lily pads, gorgeous scenery, and a very nice place to be on a sunny afternoon.
After spending most of my life on the River Severn, moving to the Trent area has renewed my excitement, and I cannot wait to spend a few more years here exploring its 185 miles, and hopefully getting up close and personal with its inhabitants.
TRENT BARBEL vs SEVERN BARBEL
So given that this is my first real chance of fishing the river since moving to the area, the drive to my peg gave me chance to think the fishing through. Are Trent barbel the same as Severn barbel, will they fall to the same tactics?
Well, being as this was a “pleasure” session, I decided to experiment, not take any notice of the locals and go about fishing my peg as I would any on the Severn.
The conditions were probably not the best for fishing for barbel, but with a steady 1020mb and a very pleasant 25 degrees I wasn’t going to complain after everything we have had thrown at us lately. So this could scupper my plans to find out if the barbel are the same up “t north”!
A quick look at my gear…
Well the gear was all set up, and now the important bit, how to fish the swim?
A cast around with a bomb gave me the impression that there was a lot of lillies and streamers going out from the bank on both sides for about 6 metres and the flow seemed to pick up around two rod lengths from the far bank with a snag smack bang in the middle.
I decided to go downstream of the snag in the main flow, and throw 5 or 6 times with a large Black Cap to get a few pellets in the swim. And then the regularity of my casting and feeding would be dictated by the amount of boat traffic as it was a nice day, and they were out enjoying the river as was I.
With my initial feed going in I recast about seven more times due to boat traffic before getting my first indication, and ten minutes later a very nice bream of around 5 lb took a liking to my Severn tactics, so they seemed to work, just not for barbel!
So without boring you too much about how I sat there and looked up at my rod tips…
Two hours into my session, I was met with that fantastic sight, a 1 foot “twitch” on the tip. I was soon into what felt like a carp, as the fight was slow and low, no ripping of left and right, no fast runs, just a slow bottom hugging fight, so the excitement kicked in and I thought I could be into a decent fish. And when it appeared in front of the lilies and caught a sight of me, it decided to have a run.
Within a few more minutes a very very nice looking 10 lb 2 oz barbel (below) graced the mat, proving that a barbel is a barbel – wherever it lives, it eats pellets! That’s good news for me!
Driving back I put my thinking cap on again, as we do as anglers. I thought about why these fish eat pellets, as the main tactic on this part of the river is a groundbait feeder? And why and how can they find a 4mm or 6mm hook bait that’s black?
And to be honest with you, I don’t want to know the right answer! It keeps me going, it keeps me interested! I keep changing tactics and trying to catch more, bigger, better, and most of all it gives me the enthusiasm to get up at unholy hours and get out there fishing!
I hope you have enjoyed the read, and keep an eye out for my “On Tour” feature in the mag. For that special print feature I take on the Trent and try and catch another barbel in a few hours after work for the Angler’s Mail cameras… and show you where and what clubs to join to catch them.
STEVE COLLETT’S NEXT BLOG WILL APPEAR ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 7.
Here’s the list of all the new blogs and when they go live:
MONDAY: Carp crews on rotation – Korda, Fox, Nash and ACE.
TUESDAY: Steve Collett, Mail contributor and ultimate all-rounder.
WEDNESDAY: Angler’s Mail HQ – yes, us!
THURSDAY: Specialists from Pike Anglers Club, Korum and Pallatrax, on rotation
FRIDAY: Carl & Alex, Angler’s Mail juniors and video diary makers.
SATURDAY: The Angling Trust – guys at the governing body.
SUNDAY: Colin Mitchell, veteran coarse angler and top journalist