An angler's journal

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Back amongst the barbel

The Avon, like most rivers, is crystal clear and pretty low resulting in few catch reports. That said, it is summer and fish have to feed so timing and location are critical. It was these components that came together in order for me to enjoy some summer barbel sport. Commitments mean I'm not hitting the banks until around 7.30pm and three hours is normally enough. I started by bait dropping some hemp and pellet and fished two rods as usual. I did bait the upstream rod with pellet for a change but stuck to boilies on the downstream rod. Not much happened for the first hour or so. A few inevitable chub pulls drew my attention away from the family of swans and a busy kingfisher making regular trips up and down the river. So it was almost out of the blue when the downstream rod arched round in
The first fish of the session
satisfying fashion. The following few minutes saw an entertaining battle before a barbel of around 7lb was in the net. Whilst big barbel are superb specimens, the fight from an average fish takes some beating. The rod went back out and I fed a few boilies every now and again to keep fish foraging. Half hour later and another savage bite saw a better fish connected. This barbel came to the bank in pretty straightforward fashion but was undoubtedly bigger. The scales proved this with what turned out to be the best barbel of the season so far at 9lb 1oz. It was pretty hollow too so it should make a double once it returns to peak, post-spawning condition. The next half hour saw a 3lb chub banked as well as another barbel of several pounds and a skimmer. By 10 o'clock the swim died.

9lb 1oz
However, big splashes 50 yards or so upstream could be heard. This has happened on a few sessions so I'm guessing the fish have moved through my swim giving me the flurry of action before continuing on their way. The next time this happens I intend to follow them to see if I can pick up a bonus fish or two.

Finally, a couple of things I feel have worked for me. The first is back leading. I have seen first hand the effects of line on feeding fish and how they shy away from the area where the line rises from the lead. To combat this I have been using 3ft hooklinks with a piece of plasticine 3ft above the lead to give me about 6ft of line on the bottom. I also keep my rod low and fish a slackish line to keep everything low to the river bed. I am starting to believe this prevents fish from spooking easily and is resulting in fish being caught before it gets dark. The other is feeding. I am not fishing over large beds of bait. I've been putting half dozen droppers out but actually think I might omit this in favour of PVA bags and a few hand fed boilies. I'm not too worried about tight feeding as I think getting fish to forage and search works in my benefit. We'll see how this pans out over the next few weeks.

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