What bait are you using this year Shaun?
This is a question I am often asked on the telephone, so I thought it about time I wrote my answers down.
The last time I wrote about my adventures with Questrami was back in the summer when the story was about catching 14 barbel, including 4 doubles, during a red hot sunny day in August this year. After then I continued to fish for barbel but moved to my autumn stretch, again on the middle Trent.
The stretch I was concentrating on was an area from where I had caught my personal best barbel, a stunner of 15.02 in 2014, which I recaptured 12 months later at an ounce lighter. It is also where I saw an otter with an enormous barbel in its maw, which may well have been the same fish. Who knows, maybe the stretch was now devoid of barbel and not worth targeting! Undaunted, I decided to have a campaign there, again using Questrami boilies and paste wrap.
We are now just over 2 months into the 2016 river season, so I thought I would do a brief review of my own season so far. I have had 18 trips so far (which is around 110 hours fishing in total), and have fished 8 different stretches on 4 different rivers. Probably 'spreading myself too thin', really, but as I have said before, early season for me is very much about visiting a number of places to try and locate some barbel in the first place. Obviously when you can find a number of fish in a particular area, then it bodes well for later in the season if you want to concentrate on a particular stretch. Even better if you can find them on more than one river, because it gives you so many more options depending on levels etc, for later on.
It won't be long now until we can get back on the river's and enjoy some some lovely running water angling in some stunning unspoilt surroundings. But what will the coming season hold for us all. The weather has certainly been very up and down, and I as I write this piece it is well below the temperature that we should be seeing for the time of year (just 10 Deg. C in Wolverhampton!). If this keeps up, the barbel will probably end up spawning in July, as they seem to have done for the last few season's. This always makes the few first weeks of the season difficult, as you can have miles of river with very few fish because they will be 'shoaled' up in small area's.
From a conservation point of view, I would say it is now worth a review of the closed season dates to take this into account. How about moving it back a month, so it runs from April 15th to July 16th? (other species are also spawning later). I have always been a traditionalist but you have to be prepared for change. With the already delicate situation of a lot of our barbel rivers, do you really want angler's fishing for them during or just after spawning? They take a long time to recover properly as it is after capture in the summer, without the added stress of capture just after spawning. The majority of carp fisheries are flexible and will close during the spawning period, surely we should be flexible to the same degree, when it comes to our rivers!
I was up and about this morning far earlier than I needed or indeed, wanted to be. I had awoken in that comfortable snuggled state when you know you still have a good hour or so lounging time before the alarm clock will sound. But then my brain kicked in thinking back over this last week-end, for the gods of Sir Izaak had done so much more than smile upon me. They had rewarded me richly with a bumper crop of golden autumn barbel. I couldn’t turn my brain off so it was to be an early rise and soon the tea pot was mashing my favourite Assam/Earl Grey blend. I glanced at the pictures again and really couldn’t believe how incredibly fortunate I had been with my timing. If the truth be told it wasn’t really any sort of judged timing, it was pure fate and poor carp catching conditions mixed with a bit of idleness and lack of motivation that had me fishing for the barbel this weekend.
It is nice once in a while to be able to angle with people we haven’t or rarely get to fish with.
I guess I must have known Bob Brookes for 30 odd years now after swapping many a brown paper bag of fishing tackle for his hard earned, for many years before his retirement. I guess a lot of the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire based anglers used the tackle shop for a little lunchtime therapy after a gruelling morning at work.
I always enjoyed serving Bob, his cheerful face would brighten many a day and one of the minority you could enjoy a sensible relaxed conversation with.
Hang on a minute, time to change tract, it’s starting to sound like a obituary and after watch Bob stomp across the fields the other day with a full pack, shortly after a session in the gym, this is far from being a obituary.
Spurred on by watching Ron Key catching barbel on the Questrami I thought it about time I prised myself away from my two favourite barbel baits Rahja Spice and Absolute Seafood.
The Absolute Seafood came about from my want of a good fishy type bait in the Quest Baits range but not containing much in the way of bulk oils and fat. I wanted a bait that would leak out its attraction quickly and would be very easy for the fish to digest particularly during the cold.
A look back over the first month of my 2013 river season which produced many double figure barbel.
I fish a small river in Berkshire which holds some very big Chub and Barbel.
The question is Shaun, what is the best way to approach barbel with this type of bait?
I have pre-baited a couple of kilos in three swims, should I be using pellet as well?
One thing I have noticed is the paste is a bit dry, how can i make it a bit more tacky, I think the chub love and just pulling it off how ever i mount it.