Game for a Barbel

The mighty River Trent has been producing some fabulous barbel recently and it would have been rude not to join in the fun so Daiwa consultant Brian Skoyles teamed up with Game angling coach Peter Lax to try his hand.

I think it’s fair to say that neither Peter or myself are what you would call experienced barbel anglers, but we both love river fishing so it was with mounting impatience that we made our way down the A1 to Hull and District Angling Association’s Carlton-on- Trent.

As we slowed to a halt next to the old mill, the river looked in great condition. A big tide was producing a nice steady flow, a bit of colour, and a light breeze gently rippling the surface, perfect.

We didn’t waste any time getting set up. Infinity Barbel rods teamed with Laguna reels loaded with 12lb Sensor. 4oz open ended feeders on Korda lead clips, and 5ft combi rigs completed the tackle. We baited the swim with a mix of scalded Trigga Ice pellets, hemp, and maggots, then allowed ourselves time to relax with a cup of tea, the chance to just enjoy the moment.

We didn’t have long to wait, as before long the tips were twitching and we knew there were fish in the swim. A sharp jerk on the tip, then the rod lunged over and the reel’s clutch screamed, we had hooked our first barbel.

Peter is a top game angler and experienced coach, but Trent barbel have no respect for experience and a lot of line was stripped from the reel before the fish slowed, and the long haul began. Against the current the fish put up a dogged fight before eventually it was ready for netting, we had our first barbel of the day. The action didn’t stop there and we went on to catch 10 fabulous Trent barbel, an amazing days fishing.

Big river barbel fishing is both daunting and exhilarating, but it can be made easier by following a few basic rules.

1) Feed the swim regularly.

2) Feel the lead down then allow enough line out to help hold bottom.

3) Put the feed in far enough upstream to make sure it hits bottom before it reaches your hook-bait position.

We’re coming up to a prime time of year for river barbel fishing, so why not give it a try, just keep the tackle strong, the tactics simple and the adrenalin high… have fun!

The stretch we were fishing is controlled by Hull and District Angling Association.