Barbel and Bream

Following on from my brace of Trent doubles I was soon back to sample more rod bending action. A bit more rain had helped keep the colour in the river even though the level had fallen a foot or so. I was using my tried and tested boilie / groundbait approach and it wasn’t long before I was getting the odd 3 foot twitch.

The first couple of barbel were of the ‘schoolie’ size (5 – 8lbs) which seem to scrap far harder than the doubles do. I did weigh the first one though, just to get my eye in. It was 7lb 15oz, so anything that looked a bit bigger would get weighed, anything smaller would go straight back.


A couple of hours into dark produced a run of bites giving me a few more smaller fish, plus a double of 10lb 7oz. I also pulled out of a couple of fish which was unusual. Maybe it’s time to change my hooks up to a size 10


A couple of days later I was back on the same stretch. I was shocked to see how quickly the river had dropped and how clear it was. It was dark when I received my first bite from a cracking double of 11lb 1oz. Just when I was thinking I could be in for a good night strange things started happening.


Twice I reeled in to find my line had snapped. No pressure on anything, I reeled in to find it had just clean snapped. Later on I reeled in to find my 9lb flouro hooklink snapped just above the hook. The only thing I can think of is the lack of flow saw my line resting across something razor sharp, like zebra mussels or something.

Later in the night I started to get ‘breamed out’ by loads of fish in the 4 to 6lb range. I’d have loved those in my old match fishing days, but they weren’t what I wanted on barbel gear. I wondered if they were feeding up ready for the colder months now the air had a tinge of Autumn in it.


To put my theory to the test, for my next session I tried for a big slab on a very large water. It was a classic bream morning. Warm, overcast and misty, surely I had to catch well.


Sadly the fish hadn’t read the script. It was well into the afternoon when my alarm sounded to indicate something had fallen for my method feeder tactics. After a typically dour fight, I was soon looking at the slimy culprit. I never weighed the fish, it would have been around the 9lb mark, but that’s well below average for this lake.


I spodded more bait out to see if its shoal mates wanted to join it but sadly no more bites were forthcoming. Was it a lone bream or were they simply not feeding? The lack of action around the lake suggested the latter. How much longer I fish for the bream this year remains to be seen. These misty mornings are screaming big roach to me. They grab my attention like no other fish so expect to see some big redfins soon!