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Four double figure barbel in four very short evening sessions

Posted by Shaun Harrison on 23 September 2013 |

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The conditions on the river had been superb for catching Barbel on the Trent right from last week-end yet alas things conspired to keep me away. How I wanted to get out last Sunday after the long awaited rise in river levels but other things had to be done. I was desperate for a picture of a carp laying at the side of a bag of the new ‘Magnum Duo’ for something I was working on so Sunday saw me getting a bit of carp gear together and venturing over to a water I had not cast into for 10 years or so. It can be a tricky place but time wasn’t allowing me to travel too far so I took a gamble.

8 x mini Spombs and 6 x pouches of the Magnum Duo scattered loosely in the area in front turned out to be the right approach. I was lucky, my 3 hour session rewarded me with what I wanted and it was lovely to re-acquaint myself with one of the Rosehip Pool fish. It had fallen to a bait right on dark on the Sunday evening so a pleasant end to my week-end escape from the office.

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Mission Accomplished

Monday evening after I had locked the office up I looked at the weather and it was similar to the previous evening and I wondered if it would be too greedy of my to pop back over to Rosehip for another go? I had intended on spending a couple of hours after the barbel with not getting out the previous day but the carp were the easy option. The carp gear was still in the Land Rover and with also needing to do my weekly shop I decided carp were by far the most sensible route. If I barbel fished I would be there much later than the carp lake awaiting the main feeding time thus making it a late one by the time I had done my shopping as well.

I arrived at 7pm, introduced a bit more of the Magnum Duo in the same way as I had the previous evening – 8 x Mini Spombs and 6 x catapult pouches of Magnum Duo and cast back to the productive area of the previous evening. 7.20pm I had another Rosehip carp in the net! I decided my angling urges had been satisfied so packed after that, went and did the shopping and found myself sat in front of the idiot box watching a angling programme by 9pm.

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The barbel were really starting to call

Tuesday and the barbel were really starting to call, but a late evening in the office wiped out any thoughts of angling as did Wednesday and Thursday and by Friday I was gagging to get out for my usual 2 1/2 to 3 hours evening session. I decided to try a swim I had often looked at but had never cast into for barbel. Conditions looked fine for action and a couple of test casts and a bit of a drag around with a lead to get an idea of depths and what was on the bottom of the swim I felt happy that there could be barbel visiting the area.

I employed the same tactics that have been so successful for me all summer and has been well documented elsewhere on this Blog

The sun was setting as I made the first cast and half an hour into dark a large barbel slapped the surface with its tail just upstream from me but in an area I couldn't safely cover from where I sat. I needn't have worried though as shortly after, a trimmed and Glugged Absolute Seafood boilie just a few feet out was found by old whiskers and quite an epic battle ensued. I knew from the moment I had hooked it that this was a little bit special. I have been totally spoilt this season with a lot of double figure barbel but this one felt in a different league and held its own just cruising in the current making me pull harder a couple of times to make sure it wasn't snagged. The Free Spirit Hi ‘S’ BW Rod performed impeccably as usual and eventually the fish was in front of me as I started to ease it up off of the bottom. I saw the dorsal break surface then an almighty explosion of water as it powered off on a totally unstoppable run. This was repeated several times before I was eventually able to draw the fish over the net. I went to lift and had to perform that rather satisfying last second flick of the net as its tail wasn't completely in. I looked to the sky with a huge contented grin and once again the natural world had been kind to me.


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The scales said 13 lb

The scales said 13lb although what did that matter?

As is usually the case with me and barbel, after I have landed a good fish I tend to pack away being quite content with the lovely inner feeling of capturing a good fish and leaving my mind open to take it all in properly rather than confusing it with trying to trick another.

The following day I broke my own rule and went back to the same swim as I had caught the 13lb fish from. I had only fished it the once and was keen to have another go despite me not normally fishing the same swim two evenings on the trot. I arrived again as the light was falling and soon a bait was back in position where the fish of the previous evening had decided to have one snack too many. I had only been cast out 10 minutes when the rod top gave the typical 6ft twitch of a barbel bite!

It fought well but not in the same league as the fish of the previous evening. The torch light said it was another double but the scales disagreed refusing to go those couple of extra notches. I returned it and thanked it for the encounter.

The time moved on and I poured my final cup of Nescafe Black Gold from the flask and topped it with milk from a separate bottle. I do dislike stewed flask coffee when the milk has been added at the making stage but can stomach it with the milk added separate. I was getting towards the bottom of the cup when suddenly my rod butt levitated and hovered in the air whilst the spool of the reel screamed for mercy. I threw coffee over myself as you do and momentarily thought it was nice of the rod to offer its butt at a more comfortable grabbing height.

Now the fish the previous night had fought hard but this one was mental, absolutely furious at being hooked. I hung on listening to the reel shrieking whilst trying to judge exactly where the fish was going. The first time it hit the surface the water really did explode and the noise woke lots of wildlife down the Trent Valley as the silent night suddenly came alive with the vocal sounds of various creatures. On the surface a second time and another huge explosion and shower of spray, this barbel really did have the hump with me.

My luck held out and with a bit of a tremble through my body I eased this latest beast those agonising last few inches towards the waiting net and suddenly it was mine! Two big fish in two evenings I was one hell of a lucky angler.

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I was one hell of a lucky angler

I spent most of Sunday writing in the garden, the weather was great for this but not for angling in particular with the sun a little too bright really and left me wondering whether to venture out again for another short evening session and wondering how long I can leave this new swim alone? I mustn't go back just yet, I have been finding swims that haven’t been fished and to sit in them too much reveals them to others as the grass starts to become worn and muddied. I may be a little selfish but I have worked hard to find my tiny pieces of paradise in just the same way as others could do but sadly so many simply want to ride along on the work of others rather than do a little work themselves. All of my angling this year has been on open ticket club waters and from my observations just the same few swims get fished in each stretch when there is in fact miles of river to go at.

6 pm I was half heartedly topping the feeder mix tub up and making a flask of coffee. I really was unsure where to point the bonnet of the Land Rover as I have been fishing so many different stretches learning a little about them before the big winter floods arrive.

Feeling quite content with catching big fish the past couple of evenings I decided to go and explore another stretch. A possible blank wouldn't upset things too much so I headed for a swim I had looked at before but never cast into. I must admit the trip started off a bit of a disaster after a rather long walk when I realised I’d not got my special hook baits with me so had to go searching through my feeder mix for large enough bits of bait to be able to put on the hair. This proved to be a bit of an issue as I scald my mix with boiling water which softens the boilies up and the first couple of casts the baits were coming off. I wasn't sure if they were coming off on impact of the cast or when I retrieved so not too good in the confidence stakes.

A chub finally settled my mind that the bait wasn't coming off on the cast. It was a nice fish probably just short of 5 lb and in great  condition and I have made a mental note of this one for a possible return match targeting chub in the winter. I was having a few chub bites and they were managing to remove my makeshift hook baits. I was feeling I wasn't angling very effectively and made the decision to cut my evening short. I was just gathering my bits together when the rod top whipped around much more violently and my 3 rd double figure barbel in 3 short evening sessions found itself posing for a photograph with the big bright moon shining in the sky.

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Three doubles in three evenings.

Well, my original blog which had been published on my old site was titled 'Three double figure barbel in 3 very short evening session'.

I wrote it on the 4 th day and never bothered to actually edit the pice although I added a comment in the comments box. So, here are a few words lifted from my personal diary...

"Well, yes I guess I'm being a tad greedy now. Out for my 4 th evening on the trot!

Autumn is here, wood smoke is drifting in the air as the first homely fires of the year are lit. 

My swim appears dead although I feel so content sitting here in yet another different swim soaking up the sounds and smells of this autumn evening.

9 pm and I have just had a 11 lb 8 oz barbel making it 4 doubles in 4 evenings! The Trent is in its prime and I feel so fortunate to be here enjoying it with no one else around".

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I was being greedy, 4th double in 4 evenings

Long may it continue, give me nice quiet and grassy swims, out of the way of the crowds along with a few nice fish and you would struggle to make me a happier angler.

Best fishes to all as always

Shaun Harrison.


About the Author: Shaun Harrison

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Quest Baits boss Shaun Harrison has put over 40 years of experience into developing his range of carp baits ” This bait range is the culmination of the bait knowledge I’ve gained throughout my carp fishing career, a journey which started in the 1970’s. It has truly been a long and winding road – frustrating at times, fascinating and rewarding at others….. Our range you’ll only find proven baits, the ones I use myself 

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