Marukyu marketing consultant Nick Marlow reveals how the barbel fishing baits and tactics he’s been using big barbel on his favourite river. He's seen below with an 11 lb 5 oz specimen…
WITH so little time these days it’s been quite hard for me to get out and do a spot of barbel fishing. With such short windows of fishing time I’ve been pretty much restricted to a couple of hours lure fishing here and there.
Last week I decided enough was enough. Conditions were far from great with a very low and very clear river – but needs must and for most of us, you can only go when you can go! Low clear rivers are never easy to tackle. After yesterday’s rain they may carry a little more colour, which will help of course.
My usual approach with a low clear river is with PVA bags of pellets but lately I’ve moved away from this. Because I am fishing for just one or two big fish and I know there are not a lot of other fish in the swim, I want a more positive approach. I want to keep the feed tight.
To do this I’ve been using Method Feeder tactics – making a very stiff heavy groundbait and moulding it around my lead. And when I say a stiff groundbait I do mean it – I’m mixing it with liquid Krill as well as a splash of water.
This tends to make a very heavy sticky groundbait that I know will stay put. In fact I know my mix will happily stay wrapped around my grippa lead for a good 30-40 minutes, even in fast flowing water!
Tackle is simple enough – I am using 2.2 lb carp rods and some tough retro reels loaded with 12 lb line. Hook link material is 10 lb fluorocarbon and the business end is a size 8 wide gape hook. There is a lot of talk about what patterns of hook to use but I really do get on well with wide gapes – I just find that they hook barbel better.
I’ve been doing some experimenting of late with baits. If you’d have asked me three or four years ago what hook baits I’d use for barbel fishing I’d have said halibut pellets every time.
Now I’m not so sure. I usually fish with two rods and experiment a lot with baits and hair lengths. Over the past year I have certainly caught more fish on krill boilies than any other bait, that’s for sure!
The tipping of the baits with Credence Corn I have not done before… although I am 100% confident with the fully biodegradable imitation bait for carp, I’ve never tried it on the barbel. I do love a little experiment…
As you can see from the pictures, the Derwent is not a big river. In fact where I am fishing the far bank is only about 18 inches deep and almost static – all the flow is on my side of the river. I know this peg and elect to drop both rods about two rod lengths out – one straight out in front of me and the other about five yards downstream. This way both rods are feeding the same line and I have one long scent trail going down the river.
As the light fades I start to get a few knocks on the downstream rod. Experience tells me that this is fish feeding on the Method ball. They are either mouthing it or knocking it – never sure which – but it’s 100% fish indications.
We are not talking about a heap of activity here – as I said earlier, there won’t be hundreds of fish in front of me. It’s more likely to be half a dozen or so very large barbel. In low and clear conditions I usually expect bites as it gets dark…
Needless to say just as it gets dark – it was about 8.40pm, I start to get knocks on the rod in front of me also. Then all of a sudden I get a savage bite on that rod – thankfully the clutch is set right or the rod could have gone in… and after an intense ten-minute battle the fish (pictured top) is in the net!
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