We are now just over 3 months into the 2019 river season and I have only just started my barbel fishing. For one reason or another, I had hardly wet a line for over 3 months (apart from the very odd float fishing trip), so was looking forward to getting out and having a go. Although reading the various forums (such has Barbel Adventures and BFW) concerning the Upper Trent (they were hardly inspiring), as it would appear in recent seasons most anglers are blanking more often than not. Looking at the size of the barbel on the Upper Trent (average 9lb+), I personally believe (that with virtually no small fish coming through, plus the increase in predation), we may have as little has 3 years before the Upper river becomes very much like the Dove and there are next to no barbel there (it will be a great chub river though).
It always makes me smile looking at the various social media forums and Angling press concerning the Trent, the catches from the Middle and Tidal Trent can be 'ridiculous' (such things as 8 doubles or more in a night etc), leading people to think the whole of the river is one big barbel swim!
This really is not the case, the Upper Trent may as well be a different river as it is nothing like the middle, with large area's that only hold the odd fish. I know of many an experienced angler that have had plenty of blanks on the Upper Trent and Dove, that have then had a go on the Middle or Tidal Trent and ended up 'bagging up' with 10 plus fish in a session. Personally if the fishing was such that you are almost always guaranteed to catch, I would soon get bored, after 45 years as an angler, it's more about the surroundings, the solitude and the sense of mystery that low stocked venues like the Upper Trent still have to offer. I do feel though that the current situation with some of the huge catches of barbel, from places like Collingham really do give a false impression as to the barbel fishing across the rest of the country.
Anyway enough of my ramblings!
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.
October ended with me landing some nice barbel on my simple Rahja Spice feeder mix as shown in my last blog. Hook links were around 5 ft with a whittled down 15 mm Rahja Spice hook bait, sometimes with a paste wrap and sometimes without. This month sees me catching a new P.B. Joining a new water,
catching carp, barbel and chub as well.
I must admit that I have only just noticed that I skipped October from my Diary Blogs, so a quick two month summary now…
It has very much been a mixed period of fish-in’s, guiding/tutorials, skipping from venue to venue as well as fish species, a new personal best and a new syndicate joined as well! No wonder I haven’t caught loads but I have caught quality and most importantly I have loved every moment of what is my favourite time of the year when finally the bugs stop biting quite as much and most anglers start to tail off whilst our green and pleasant land turns into a world of gold and red.
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!
A month that started on the rivers with prototype rods that needed putting through their paces and ended up on the still waters. Both running and still water were rather kind to me yet again.
We regularly receive enquiries as to whether we produce baits for species other than for carp. Several of our baits have proven to be totally outstanding for other species, so to help you narrow your choices down Shaun has listed some of the baits here that have really stood out.
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.