4 hours on a February afternoon.

I’m sure when Shaun was designing the new ‘Absolute’ range he didn’t have barbel in mind, but as soon as I saw and smelled Absolute Seafood I had to try it.

I had no intention of fishing today, but the weather was mild and I knew the river was fining down. A quick check of the river level on the EA website and I knew exactly where I wanted to be. Sorry but I can’t tell you where!


It took minutes to load the gear in the car, a couple more to pick up the sandwiches from the garage and within an hour I was there.  Then disaster, there were four rods, a bivvy and a team of car door slammers in my banker swim.  I walked downstream around the bend to get as far away as possible and found another slack area, no back eddy here but a steady flow that was manageable and a clearly define crease running along its edge.

The rods were already set up; four ounce open ended feeders clipped on and filled with finely crumbed boilie, Marine Halibut Ground bait, and Quest Bait Glug.  I want to attract but not feed; everything has to be as fine and as pungent as possible.  The ground bait has its own smell and attraction but it is also a great flavour carrier soaking up loads of Glug.  The feeders are packed tightly to ensure that the flavour trail is release exactly where I want it, on the bottom.  Recasting on the same spots; one upstream with a large bow in the line and one downstream with both on the crease providing a stream of tiny attractive morsels.

The downstream rod was the first to go with two tiny knocks and then the rod pulling down a fraction of an inch and holding. I hit it, felt the fish and just as quickly felt the hook pop.  No time for heads down or analysis, I was sure the fish were still there and the feeder was soon back on the spot.  It was quickly tapping again with constant activity around the hook bait. Then bang, while I was concentrating on the going downstream rod the upstream bait took me by surprise.   Straight out into the flow and fighting at double its weight I eventually netted a 7lb Barbel.

All was quiet for a while and I recast the loaded feeders two or three times to build up the flavour trail.  Whack and both rods arched over and confusion reigns.  I don’t really know if there’s any truth in it but I have a theory

2 in the net at once Absolute stunners!

the upstream rods produce more barbel and the downstream rod more chub so I hit the upstream rod.  It immediately snagged me in the middle of the river.  While I tried to free it I reached over and put a few clicks of pressure on the other reel to try and tire the other fish which was quickly emptying my spool.  It was useless and eventually the rod went back on the rest while I attended to the fish that was now about 70 yards downstream and still going strong.  Luckily it avoided any snags and after a prolonged tussle was in the net.  I secured the net with a bank stick ensuring the fish was pointing head into the flow and returned to the snagged fish.  I yomped downstream trying different line angles to release it to no avail. Upstream about 40 yards and the correct line angle allowed the fish to pop out of the snag.  Very quickly there were two barbel in the net, I’m so grateful for quick release hook links; which were quickly unclipped so that I could move the fish to safety and deal with them on the unhooking mat.  Nine plus and a six; I was well pleased with the result.

The light was starting to fade

The light was starting to fade; my favourite time and the sky turned pink then red.  Right on cue a four pounder with aspirations nearly pulled my rod in. Just time for one more cast I thought then home for tea.  I didn’t have to wait long for the rod tip to lurch forward and bounce violently in the rest before the clutch grudgingly allowed the line to spill off the spool.  This fish was seriously intent on making the snag in the middle of the river and I was equally keen on stopping it.  After a few minutes of toing and froing it was dark and I was the victor with a large fat barbel slipping into the net.  11lbs 4oz and I was delighted.

11lb 4oz

Absolute Seafood looks like it will be a permanent feature in my bait bag for a while. There’s a couple of weeks of the river season left and some trips on the Wye planned for later in the year so my order will be on its way soon Shaun.

I love short session fishing, very intense but brief enough to concentrate 110% and great fun.  No preparation; just keep your eyes and ears open.  River levels check, clarity check, temperature check……………Well what are you waiting for?

Four hours fishing and six barbel hooked on a stretch that didn’t produce another bite to several other anglers. There is something just a little bit special about that Absolute Seafood!

Best wishes
Ron Key

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