Thursday, 22 September 2016

Flashback: Specimen Barbel on the Float.

 Catching Barbel on the float is an awesome way to target such a majestic creature, I have for many years caught this powerful species in all kinds of conditions and throughout all the seasons, trotting bread or meat during the summer to trotting in the coloured waters during the winter floods, it is a great tactic that does deliver plenty of Barbel. If I targeted Barbel thoroughly during a season I'd like to think that catches would be consistent.

 The best Barbel I've caught on the float was a stunning 13lb 12oz specimen, here are my memories of that fantastic day.

 It was a very chilly December morning, the sort that when you open the front door you realise it's even colder than the condensation on the window suggested, I remember it taking me quite a while to pluck up the courage to finally leave, the sun still hadn't broke the horizon and I was already on my chosen venue. After a short time in trying to setup my rod battling the frozen hands I managed to get a bait out, to start with I put out a ledgered bait in the margins as the river was thundering through due to overnight rain which put a very healthy tinge to it. I felt very confident that I would muster an enquiry but after an hour or so in a couple of swims the quiver-tip remained motionless.

 By the time I decided to change over to the float it was daylight and I decided to put a huge chunk of meat on and run it down a crease off the far bank, it's a tactic I love to use as Barbel often sit just off of the flow and intercept food that comes through on the current, the first cast went through with no enquiry but the second cast was a different ball game, the float moved through swiftly and it got just past half way down, then it happened, the slip of the float that would change my Barbel fishing for good. The take was unassuming but as soon as I made contact I immediately knew it was a big fish, for over five minutes there was a very healthy bend in the rod and the centre-pin melted on a number of occasions where the fish I was attached to had no intentions of surrender, I on the other hand had other ideas, bearing in mind I still hadn't seen the fish all I could do was prepare myself and no sooner I put the net in the water in readiness she broke the surface and was met by the frame of a very big fish.

 Once I got the large head into the net I struggled to get the rest in but after three attempts I had bagged myself a very good fish, a quick phone call to Stu was made and he was only to happy to come along and witness such a good Barbel, this beast is still my best on the float, it was a fantastic experience and one I look to emulate time and time again.



  1. James.

    I'm interested in what gear you use when trotting. Clearly to land such a big fish you need heavy gear, that goes against light trotting. Would you use a different outfit for fishing maggots, or caster?
    What mainline, and hook size, stick float or chubber, very nice piece James.

    1. Thanks Richard!. In regards to the tackle I set out to catch Barbel on light gear, this usually comprises of a 1.25tc 12/13ft Greys Prodigy specialist rod and usually a size 6 or 8 hook, many would say that 6lb line is going undergunned but I have no issues with the loss of fish, I prefer to sail as close to the wind as is possible without putting the fish at risk, any lighter than 6lb line I feel would be suicidal, the fight incidentally was very powerful but the tackle stood the test as it has for years previous and present.

      When using maggots again I tend to scale down as fine as possible without putting myself and the quarry at risk, that however is a tough balancing act as different swims would pose different situations so all has to be adjusted accordingly. But a chubber float (typically a 2-4SSG loafer) is what I'd use for trotting bigger baits.