This blog comes from Nash grouped angler Duncan Charman, with input from Chris Petter, as they take a look at how to bag big barbel this autumn.

First barbel after all the hard work, 10lb 14oz

First barbel after all the hard work, 10lb 14oz

A NEW venue can be daunting, add in a new tactical approach as well as a new bait and it could be a recipe for disaster but that’s exactly what’s involved in our current quest for a giant barbel.

Our personal bests vary, mine at 16lb 10oz and Chris 11lb 10oz so although we hoped both would be beaten we settled for a target weight of 15lb.

First problem was finding a venue capable of producing barbel in excess of 15lb as well as being unpressured! There’s still the odd stretch although they are harder and harder to find. What has been different about our approach this year is that we’ve started in June and will be keeping on going until March 14th next year.

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Main attention setter

Before the season we pinpointed six swims and began baiting lightly three times a week.

We were fortunate to get hold of The Key from Nash when it was being tested and initial results last winter on a difficult stretch with a low stock of big fish were excellent.

It had worked so well it was the natural choice and we stocked up with 10x15mm dumbbells, 15mm boilies plus stick mix, frozen paste, pellets and dip.

The Key, brilliant for carp and barbel

The Key, brilliant for carp and barbel

We felt a barbel in June or July would be a bonus which may seem strange, especially after the trouble of baiting up regularly, but the first six weeks of the season can be tough with low levels, lack of oxygen and spawning.

We wanted to give ourselves the best possible chance and if this meant feeding other species throughout the summer then so be it.

Late August is when we guessed the barbel would once again be settled. Now we’re into September and October, chances should only improve.

Lots of walking, moving swims and travelling light

Lots of walking, moving swims and travelling light

Knowing that potentially a fish of a lifetime could grace our nets nothing is being left to chance.

Two rods can be problematic and you don’t increase your chances, so we are using one each.

Rigs are simple but strong, Chris on a 2oz running lead my choice a semi-fixed 1.5oz inline flat pear on 12 lb NXT D-Cam line.

Hooklinks are from 15lb Combilink in weed green with barbless Fang Gaper size 8 hooks attached knotless knot style. A couple of tungsten Clinger stops above the lead with some Cling-on putty pin everything down nicely.

With lots of weed still about we need to guarantee that hook points aren’t masked, threading narrow PVA sticks filled with The Key Stick Mix down the links.

On the hair it’s either a 15mm boilie or a 10x15mm dumbbell, both covered in paste and then this and the bottom of the PVA bag dipped quickly in Bait Soak.

Weedy swims, no problem, just pull the hook into a narrow PVA stocking

Weedy swims, no problem, just pull the hook into a narrow PVA stocking

Trying not to spook any resident fish in our swims we are conscious that just one cast is the ideal, and as long as the lead goes down with a thud we’ll leave it for 90 minutes. If nothing happens it’s a case of moving to the next primed swim.

The first two visits produced just one bream of 7lb 10oz along with a hook pull from what felt like another.

The first on our bait were bream but these will keep the spots clean and inevitably attract those curious barbel

The first on our bait were bream but these will keep the spots clean and inevitably attract those curious barbel

The odd fish was spotted rolling over the spots, probably bream but they were at least keeping the spots clear and all the time fish are feeding in a swim it helps draw other species to investigate.

We’ve just returned from an evening trip and it looks like the baiting is starting to pay off. Chris managed a 7lb 2oz bream and myself a lovely 10lb 14oz barbel, pictured at the top of this blog.

I also had a couple of big fish roll right over the baited spot in another swim so it certainly looks like the plan is coming together after all our hard work – we’ll keep you posted.

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We’ll keep baiting up and fishing – and let you know how we get on!

 

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