Since my trip to Scotland my fishing has been a disaster. First I had to buy myself another car which took a few weeks to sort out. Once I was mobile I had a couple of blanks. One of these was after tench and the other for big rudd. I never even had a bite, but did have a very large rudd swirl for my floating crust. Whether it spooked at the last second or ‘did me’ I don’t know. What I did know was that I headed into July with no fish caught in the month of June. I had also wasted 2 weeks of my 6 weeks annual leave!
At the start of July I headed to a local river to catch a nice roach or preferably a few nice roach. I just wanted to get a few bites and see the float go under. The swim is a nice gravel glide with fonds of streamer weed that the roach like to hide in. Last year, from the same peg, I had a lovely bag of roach with many of a pound or over. I only fished it once so I was looking forward to fishing it again. This time though, there were no roach in the swim but I did catch a few chub and small dace. I also lost a chub and a barbel, the first I’ve seen in this area of the river. After an hour I’d had enough. The cobwebs had been blown off and some storm clouds were brewing. I had left my camera at home so took a few quick pics with my iPhone so excuse the quality.
My next trip was to the flooded River Trent in search of barbel and chub. I can count the times I’ve fished the Trent for barbel on my fingers. It’s a crime really as I can be on the banks from my house in 35 minutes. When I fish down south, anglers are bemused when I tell them this. Some anglers take a week off work to come up here and fish at Collingham. Maybe I will give the river and it’s barbel a bit more attention this season.
Back to the fishing. The river was raging through so it was a case of fishing smelly baits on the edge of the main flow. I used pellets soaked in oil with groundbait and pellets in the 4oz feeder. Because of the flow and weight I needed to cast I used a 2lb test curve rod, a baitrunner reel, 10lb main line with a long hook link of 11lb Fluoro carbon. Hook choice was a strong size 10 with a 12mm pellet hair rigged below.I also used a rod down the edge for a big chub or bonus fish. I fished a lump of meat on a size 8 hook on this rod.
After a few knocks on the pellet rod I landed a chub that was between 3 and 4lbs. It was a lovely golden colour and obviously a male because it squirted it’s milt all over me! When Lee Swords caught a bream full of spawn in the next peg, it was clear that not all of the fish had finished spawning. My next bite was probably from a barbel that broke my hook link just above the hook. It had gone through a sharp snag of some description because the remainder of my Fluoro was shredded. It had tore line from the reel, via the baitrunner mechanism, before I had time to lift the rod. I decided to fish with the reel locked up after this.
The fishing was slow all along the stretch when on my next bite I almost lost my rod! Most of us know that when you’re fishing the Trent for barbel you either use a baitrunner or give your rod your full attention. I didn’t do this and was just starting to nod off in my chair when the butt of the rod hit my knee. I woke with a jolt, realising what was happening. I looked up to see that my well planted rod holder had been smashed to the floor. The handle of my pellet rod was just about to slide into the river when I managed to grab it right on the end. I was silly really as the banks were very slippery and I could have fell in. After 4 years without doing any barbel fishing, I questioned my sanity as I had an almighty tug of war with a very strong fish, aided by the raging current. With my rod bent to the corks, the pressure started to tell and I was soon looking at a barbel that Lee and I thought might go over 10lbs. When it was in the net we realised it didn’t have the width across it’s shoulders to be a double. Still, it was a cracking fish which re-lighted my barbel fire. After putting it back I surveyed the wreckage on the bank. It’s the last time I dont use my baitrunner for barbel!
Soon after the barbel was caught, another deluge of rain hit us and the river started to rise. I was soaked so I decided to call it a day. I’ll definately be having more barbel trips to the Trent though. With petrol prices still very high, it’s foolish to ignore such good sport that’s almost on my doorstep.