My previous post saw me going Barbel fishing for the first time in a few years to one of my local rivers which was a joy because nobody fishes it and the fish are big. The fact that the fish are big makes them very hard to catch though because there are so few of them. I do like a challenge when it comes to fishing but I’m in that frame of mind at the minute where I just want to get my string pulled.
I’ve resisted fishing the Trent for Barbel for a while now because, if you look at social media, people are saying they’ve had god knows how many Barbel on their last trip with a gazillion doubles amongst them blah blah blah………. Well i’m sorry, but you’d have to be a pretty awful angler not to catch on some stretches of the river. In fact i’ll rephrase that, you’d have to be a complete numpty not to catch. So, all these reports of double figure Barbel caught from the circus of Collingham or Gunthorpe weir really do not impress me and do I really want to sit amongst a bunch of people getting pissed and smoking weed all day? No I don’t.
Anyway, back to the job in hand, despite what i’ve put above there are still plenty of stretches of the river that don’t see many anglers and if you’re prepared to walk a bit you can still fish in peace and not get stoned off the second hand smoke from someone else’s spliff maaaaaaaan!!!!
I got to the river about half four in the afternoon. No one was there, which was a blessing so I had a choice of where to fish. I chose an area of steady water where I could fish down the edge. I didn’t want to do big chucks and it really isn’t necessary. You can catch just as many fish close in if you keep quiet plus the river was up a little and I didn’t want the hassle of weed coming down and getting caught on the line.
I fished two rods on boilies, one upstream and one down and it wasn’t long before the right hand rod tip wrenched over. A spirited scrap from a fish around five pound was a nice way to get off the mark.
Next followed a small Chub around 6 ounce which somehow managed to engulf a 15mm boilie and a size 6 hook before the left hand rod produced one of those lovely drop back bites and a better Chub around the four pound mark came to the net.
As predicted the rain turned up around dusk time and it was relentless. In no time at all the slugs were out in force. Bloody everywhere they were. I even caught two of them shagging on my flask. One thing for sure the Chub would be getting a feast tonight as I flicked them into the water.
Dusk turned into night and it wasn’t long before another drop back bite on the left hand rod produced another Barbel with this one being slightly bigger than the previous. There was no need for any sort of bite alarm or isotope on the rod tip as the bites were clearly visible against the night sky even if it was full of dark angry rain clouds. I estimated the fish to be around six pound and although it was nice to be getting my eye in again I really wanted something bigger.
A short while later and this time it was the turn of the right hand rod. The tip wrenched over and the baitrunner fizzed but when I struck there was nothing there. I checked the rig out and everything was ok and the boilie was still attached to the hair. Maybe a liner or maybe the fish had just picked the bait up. Who knows, but it was encouraging to hear fish splashing about even if I couldn’t see exactly what or where they were.
Shortly before 11pm the left hand rod was off again with another drop back. I do love drop back bites, don’t ask me why but I find them very satisfying. The fish screamed off across the river. This was more like it. The fight went on for quite a while and I knew I was into a better fish and in fact as the fight went on I did wonder if i’d latched into something else but eventually the fish was no match for the tackle and I was soon staring at a reasonable sized Barbel in the net. Although, it wasn’t as big as I was expecting, a scraper double maybe? I let the fish recover in the net first before unhooking it and weighing it. The scales registered 9.9. I’ll happily accept that after the fight it gave me.
I was hoping for another fish before I turned into a pumpkin at midnight but no more bites were forthcoming. The rain had eased off so on the stroke of midnight I packed up and headed off home.
It was nice to be back on the mother river fishing for Barbel. It certainly does get under your skin and although it’s about time I put some serious effort in to breaking my pb i’m not sure it would be as satisfying getting it from the Trent as it would be from one of the tributaries. Don’t get me wrong, I may think differently if I do hook one of the monsters that reside in the Trent but I don’t think I would get that sense of achievement that I would get catching it from say the river Dove. For now though it’s good to be getting back to grips with catching a few and rekindling a lost love. I’m going to head out again tonight and fish a new stretch and do a bit of exploring although it looks like being another slug infested evening as it’s given heavy rain all evening into the small hours of Sunday. Oh joy!!!! Last nights adventure has certainly left me wanting more though.