Monday, 2 November 2020

Third Time Lucky.

 Having made the effort to drive the 350mile round trip to visit the banks of the Trent twice already I really wanted to achieve my goal of a double figure Barbel. Knowing roughly where to go is always half the battle, however, it isn't always the case. Doing my best to keep away this time from the busy sections I opted to fish further upstream for a bit of solitude and hopefully a Barbel or two. 

 With large amounts of rainfall across the country I wasn't surprised to see it was up, coloured and pushing with more rain due during my visit. This time I was joined by my younger brother Richard, so perhaps it wasn't total solitude but close enough. I finished a 13 hr day at work having left the house at 6am and returning home around 7pm, I got myself together and set off for the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border ahead of what was likely to be a lively visit owing to the remanence of Hurricane Zeta that was blowing out in the Atlantic.

 Myself and Richard arrived around midnight and set about getting ourselves ready for what was a gruelling walk through the fields, boggy, slippery, raining and cold made it even less desirable, we knew however that the rewards for those who bother to make the effort are there. This certainly was no A1 pits or Collingham, the banks were steep and clearly had been under water for some time as a fine layer of mud was strewn everywhere, not that it mattered to us of course, in the torchlight of midnight we set about finding somewhere to fish, on a section of river I'd never set foot on before and only had a few snippets of info to go on, we made it hard for ourselves.

 With the rain continuing to fall setting up camp was the most important task to try and keep most of the gear as dry as possible as the forecast suggested opportunities to dry the gear out were going to be non-existent. A rod wasn't cast until 1am I think, so getting a bait out finally meant that we had got ourselves ready. The bait I am currently using is the HookBait Co' garlic nimrod boilees, along with the matching 6mm pellets in little PVA bags and glugged to give them a boost in the floodwater. A 30'' hooklength was deployed along with a size 8 teflon coated micro-barb hook. 

 In the Trent flow I knew I would have to make adjustments as time passed by and rainwater coming in upstream put another 3 inch on during dark. As the sun rose the Owls calling between trees stopped and the sight of the Otters playing downstream gave us another spectacle, the surroundings were even better and gave me my first showing of the Trent beyond the open plains of the tidal reaches.

 Without as much as a bite by 8am I decided to bring the rods in for half an hour whilst I went for a walk about to see the river in daylight and also see if actually we could choose a better looking area. As pretty as it was elsewhere, more so than in the area we was I thought the treeline below us would hold fish and after leading around at first light found a slightly deeper run and 5 yards below where I was casting to before and yes, Barbel have a great sense of smell, but on the odd occasion if that bait isn't on the dancefloor so to speak its not going to be effective or stands less of a chance of success. 

Our view for the trip to begin with.

 It wasn't until Richard had a strange knock around on his rod tip did we get the first sight of action, not big by Trent standards but a fish all the same, my confidence levels ramped up no-end and decided on a tactical change of my own, that being the rigs, the long 3ft ones came off and my standard 10 inch hooklengths went on. An hour or so later I was chatting to Rich when my left hand rod ( fished tight to the overhanging tree) roared off and the line, even on a relatively tight clutch melted off the spool! 

 I lurched forward for the rod that was still violently nodding downstream and as I picked it up I could feel the weight attached to the other end, immediately I knew it was either a Barbel or a Carp. To begin with I was just doing battle with something heavy out in the flow and constantly made a beeline for the main fast water which was hurtling through. I have to admit during the fight I was shaking like a shitting dog and really struggled to keep my legs steady as they shook like branches in a storm, the sheer power meant I was potentially connected to a large River Trent Barbel which is what I had undertaken the 350 mile round trip for and as the battle continued closer in I caught a brief glimpse in the murky water and a Barbel it certainly was! 

 Seeing how big it was I dare not put a foot wrong and allowed the fish to hold out in the flow to tire, a tactic that I've employed many times over the years with great success. With a width of roughly 100ft across and 3-6ft deep I had plenty of water to use and trusted that there were no snags in the vicinity that could cause problems. After around five or six minutes of battling I finally got the better of her and started to walk backwards so I could slip the fish into the awaiting net, that was when I knew I had achieved my goal of a Trent double, BOSH!! GET IN THAT NET!

 In the net she looked a good 12lb+ but when I hoisted it out onto the mat I knew it bigger for sure and the trusty Rueben Heatons didn't disappoint, my one and only bite off the Trent in 2 and a half trips amounting to roughly 90 hours by this point and it was exactly if not more than I'd dreamt or hoped of catching.

Trent Gold!

That will do just fine! 

 A Trent Barbel weighing at 13lb 9ozs which has capped off what has been a superb 6 days on the rivers.

 Thankfully when the rain passed I was able to get a couple of photos as it was hammering it down whilst playing the Barbel and think the rest gave it plenty of strength as out of 10 quick fire shots on the camera only two were in focus. Things on the Trent until this point had transpired against me, especially the weather, this time, even with the storm now blowing through I got my reward, but now I really wanted my brother to get one on the bank.

Finally stopped raining by this point.

 As the hours past I was willing one of the rods to go and as dusk quickly approached I felt even more confident that we would have more action, no sooner than I thought that my left hand rod went again, I leant into it and could feel immediately that it was a Chub and rolled on the top, a good fish too around the 6lb mark, then out of nowhere the weight increased as a Pike grabbed the Chub! I couldn't believe it, I would have thought a six pound plus Chub would be safe from attack by now but I was simply mistaken, within seconds however the Pike had towed the Chub into the snag I was fishing and couldn't stop it, just moments later everything went solid and did my best to get it out.

 After taking off the pressure and allowing the fish to try and come out on its own, it is a tactic I have used in the past but this time after a few minutes realised the fish had gone and my hook dumped into some branches...such a shame, how big was the Pike! well it wasn't little I'll tell you.

 By 7pm we had no further enquiries and had decided to call it a night and by 8pm we had packed down the rods and prepared ourselves, with no sleep, absolutely knackered for the mile walk back through the boggy fields to the car. They say no pain no gain, it was certainly true here.

I'm hoping my rich vein of form continues as I look to move on to two other rivers and hope to chalk them off, this challenge is one I am actually relishing. I needed to mix it up a little because I was starting to feel like I was stuck in a rut and something had to change.

 It has been a superb week, tough but superb. Now I continue my quest on two more local rivers to me and the River Trent is now, completed!


  1. A lot of hard work and a lot of miles went into that one - very well deserved. Nice one. Next... :-)

    1. Yes! A lot of effort and terrible weather on all three occasions, however, all of a sudden it doesn't matter a jot when your target has been achieved! As you say! NEXT!

  2. well done, definitely deserved!!

    1. Cheers Adam, It wasn't easy, much to the popular belief of the angling fraternity. But 3 trips to achieve my target is certainly easier than many other rivers this challenge will put before me.

  3. Gosh if I cast my mind back a decade I can clearly conjure that dedication, that effort and the pure elation of the hard-earned reward. Well done that man! Rooting...

    1. I just try to keep it fresh, for a while Keith I was feeling quite stale. Give myself a challenge to aim at. Let’s hope this momentum continues!

  4. Cracking fish James.

    Keep tickin' 'em off!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Dave. Got to keep at it whilst I’m in the groove. No doubt it will get a bit more difficult now that there is a bit of colder weather coming in but it stop me.


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