Bow on Rivers

dave brittain 1

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I only use groundbait and pellet if it is up and coloured. Otherwise it's a straight forward maggot or caster and hemp approach. If it's caster and hemp I slit the holes on the feeder so that two holes become an elongated slit. Bait is what we call dead mans fingers, 5 casters on a 12. Pellet, boilies and meat can be alternative hook baits.

For smaller rivers I'd have no hesitation in loose feeding hailbut pellets or 10mm cubes of meat and fishing the bomb over the top and dispensing with the feeder altogether.
 

Zerkalo

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I like that, Dead Mans Fingers. 😁 On the smaller river, it's a weir pool, my preference has been for a 'Medusa' of maggots on the hook with a maggot feeder, but that's mostly because it worked when I started fishing there for Chub, it's only recently Barbel have started to show for me. A lot of people fish big baits like Meat there and say they're not interested in the Chub and only want Barbel but end up getting Chub anyway. For a while I doubted there was any Barbel in this local Worcs Stour river at all but should have listened to what people were telling me, it's just that it took 2 years of fishing there before they, the Barbel, started to show for anyone.
 

Northantslad

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Made the point in one of my posts, firstly i am probably one of the worst for assuming we are always talking Barbel in such threads and then subsequently basing it on my 'experience' and experiences, i certainly don't suggest i am up there with the likes of Bob Roberts either, so will 'bow' to anything he may suggest, with of course knowledge of the parts of say the Trent he fishes, being sometimes somewhat different in the areas he visits on occasion to that of others, yes the name and the Trent go hand in hand in Bob's case, but the river varies so much in its character along it's course too.

Although, looking at this thread, there are references to targeting silvers too and also clearly, other rivers on which others base their inputs, which even with my two i target and for Barbel are two very different ones in terms of approach, tackle etc, so when we are talking about lightening up with say line, this is done sometimes on say the Severn in comparison with the Trent.

Tactics can also vary throughout the season on say the Trent and there will be plenty of times in that calendar, particularly the cooler months or in clear water, for pressured fish, where regular casting doesn't do you any favours, in comparison with say a slow release and significantly less casts made. The casting every five minutes or so, is generally reserved for small particle approaches when maggot/hemp/caster is the best approach. Pellets for me have shown themselves to be the bait year round in comparison with other places, as long as the application is given thought to the conditions-there are small pellets, larger ones and frequency can be tailored too.

I have read all of the thread keenly, as i do with such ones concerning my preferred fishing and i think, as i have done, others should bear in mind these variable approaches needed, before suggesting others are wrong in their suggestions, again based on their experiences, or somehow not a 'good' feeder angler because they don't do it this way or that way, or any less experienced than others for doing what has worked for them and specifically where they fish and what they target.

Zerkalo, i have to commend you again, for your keenness, reading everything keenly, your appreciation of needing to know the 'why' factors and also your patience on occasion mate, from what i can see from what you put in your reports on sessions, you are doing alright, not that you need me to judge that progress, you are out more than i am and i would say catch more too. (y)
 
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Northantslad

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In essence and as i look to target Barbel year round and have fished every calendar month for them from March to June in recent seasons too, an effort not being helped by the current situation granted, which is grating me i know, i have found the need to vary approach accordingly in line with the variety those months bring in conditions and in varying fish response.

You can take a fixed approach and do the same things year round and do ok and fish different rivers the same way and still do ok. Pleased with my up turn in results too since being a bit less fixed over the season. There is usually a place for many of the old 'favourite' ways of doing it, that get put out, but i reckon also a time for them i have found.
 

NoCarpPlease

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Not sure where people are getting the impression about a feeder bouncing all over the river. If you do it right and you have enough experience you can select the right weight feeder before you start.

Once you have the method sorted you can evolve it and fish with a bow so that the feeder bounces in a straight line down the peg and rivers like the Trent this can be deadly. If you think about it, its no different to running a float down the peg just different methodology as the bow pulls the feeder to maintain the straight line path.

I'm pretty sure Bob Roberts will have covered this in his book and would be surprised if he hasn't.
Chapter four ;)

Zerkalo ... seriously ... for match style feeder and ledger fishing this book is the bible (as Simon R also posted)

it’s out of print but available second hand if you wanted the paper version
 

Northantslad

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Need to bear in mind too, that even the great Bob himself may adapt over time. Read fairly recently him condemning a 'carbelling' approach as simply not fishing (quote), then i pick up a book and who was the photo courtesy of and doing exactly that approach.... yes Bob.

The book preceded the condemning aspect, of which the latter was in IYCF. Fashions and trends change of course, but i think you condemn a way of fishing at your own risk, if you then only find that actually you may decide it has a place sometimes.

A fan overall yes, and equally to other things in print, the Barbel days and ways videos are worth every penny too. But even then, look at the range of rivers tackled and subsequently the range of tactics then used. The only overlap i reckon that occurs and the aspect that can be taken as knowledge to any river, is that of Barbel behaviour and reaction to situations, the fish doesn't change, but the venues do.
 

squimp

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Need to bear in mind too, that even the great Bob himself may adapt over time. Read fairly recently him condemning a 'carbelling' approach as simply not fishing (quote), then i pick up a book and who was the photo courtesy of and doing exactly that approach.... yes Bob.

The book preceded the condemning aspect, of which the latter was in IYCF. Fashions and trends change of course, but i think you condemn a way of fishing at your own risk, if you then only find that actually you may decide it has a place sometimes.

A fan overall yes, and equally to other things in print, the Barbel days and ways videos are worth every penny too. But even then, look at the range of rivers tackled and subsequently the range of tactics then used. The only overlap i reckon that occurs and the aspect that can be taken as knowledge to any river, is that of Barbel behaviour and reaction to situations, the fish doesn't change, but the venues do.
Somebody make me an anagram of ‘barbel, carp, bream and chub’. Carbelling doesn’t cover it.

where I’ve been barbel fishing on the Thames (PRE lockdown) Ive been fishing for bites.

for every one barbel bite, the ratio of other species is about

8 - 10 bream,
1-2 carp and
Less than 1 chub.

All the fish are big so;

My tactic is to fish heavy gear aimed at the barbel and I know I can land any bream or chub I hook and have a very decent chance with any carp that comes along. My mates and I have probably landed 40 fish in total and in that time we have lost one (An estimated low 20 carp that fell off at the net).

I have tried fishing lighter for the bream with a feeder (8lb line and 40 grams and a bow) and yes I catch more bream and more quickly. But and it is a big BUT; if a huge barbel or an even bigger carp comes along I might lose it.....so I have only tried that once.

I know the potential of the area so I’m sticking with the specialist approach. Whether it constitutes fishing or not is irrelevant to me.

No disrespect to Bob R who I have a lot of time for. And yes I have got his book.
 

Zerkalo

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I will give Bob Robert's book a good read but it's something I will have to sit down and soak in properly I think, then putting it into practise is a different thing because one thing I've learned from fishing rivers is that no two pegs are the same and even change on a day to day basis.

What I've taken from this thread, and it has been a lot to take in so apologies if I've misunderstood anything.

1) It's probably not right to fish a big bow on the little river I fish, but some kind of bow as I already use is probably right.
2) On the Severn, a bow is advisable, more so than I use currently, then I might start to see some drop back bites.
3) I should try fishing with a block end feeder instead of the 'time bomb' approach on the Severn.

I have had reasonable success fishing the way I do on both rivers I fish, when conditions are right but there's always room for improvement and even experimentation, for example, fishing a straight lead over halibut pellets on the Worcs Stour...

... I never would have thought of that myself and don't think I've seen a single pellet of any description used on the bit of river that I fish. I will have to give it a try as I do like to experiment there, maybe the fish will take to them instantly without the need to prebait them if I use them as previously thought.
 

NoCarpPlease

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A few additional thoughts:

IME downstream legering is a recipe for savage bites (3 ft twitch), barbel smashing you on the bite And worst of all rods getting dragged in.
whereas by fishing up or in front with a bow you just don’t get that.
however
“match” anglers are generally concentrating for 5 hours only on one rod, whereas specialist anglers are often fishing two rods and in to night time ... so adopt a different approach to bite detection in many cases.
I still find it hard to believe how many specialists I see on my local venue with one rod and downstream legering in every peg (Given that there is a night fishing ban).

even on rivers that are only 15 or so metres wide a small bow is worth fishing. It can be used for straight lead fishing as well as feeder.

on a small river, straight lead over a bed of particles introduced by bait dropper can be a great tactic (Eg. Luncheon meat over hemp and micro pellets).

3mm halibut pellets work in a kamasan black cap with no hole enlargement (no need for ground bait). In fact I often mix pellets and maggots 50/50 to give me change baits.
 

Silverfisher

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3mm halibut pellets work in a kamasan black cap with no hole enlargement (no need for ground bait). In fact I often mix pellets and maggots 50/50 to give me change baits.
The maggots and small halibuts mix is pretty much my default feeder approach on the severn and Wye with the pellets replacing the hempy ground bait I use on my local rivers. Just feel the pellets stay put better than ground bait in the often quick shallow water plus of course barbel come into the equation. Hasn't caught me a Wye barbel yet but works on the Severn and unlike more selective baits you catch plenty other stuff as well.
 
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squimp

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A few additional thoughts:

IME downstream legering is a recipe for savage bites (3 ft twitch), barbel smashing you on the bite And worst of all rods getting dragged in.
whereas by fishing up or in front with a bow you just don’t get that.
however
“match” anglers are generally concentrating for 5 hours only on one rod, whereas specialist anglers are often fishing two rods and in to night time ... so adopt a different approach to bite detection in many cases.
I still find it hard to believe how many specialists I see on my local venue with one rod and downstream legering in every peg (Given that there is a night fishing ban).

even on rivers that are only 15 or so metres wide a small bow is worth fishing. It can be used for straight lead fishing as well as feeder.

on a small river, straight lead over a bed of particles introduced by bait dropper can be a great tactic (Eg. Luncheon meat over hemp and micro pellets).

3mm halibut pellets work in a kamasan black cap with no hole enlargement (no need for ground bait). In fact I often mix pellets and maggots 50/50 to give me change baits.
Good stuff.

my non match angler take on (barbel) bite detection:

I don‘t want a ‘3 foot twitch’. I want a hooked fish giving me a nice controlled take, I then pick up the rod and wind it in.

So I use a decent rig with a sharp and strong hook, the lightest lead that conditions will allow and then cast slightly upstream (In an ideal world). Then I let out a small bow.

I fish my rod (or rods) close to horizontal, tip(s) very slightly inclined to stop fish pulling them off the rest. Then a heavy bobbin (to help register drop back takes) set against the rod and a baitrunner or instant drag reel. The baitrunner/drag is carefully adjusted to stop the flow pulling line off the reel but set light enough to remove any chance of the rod being pulled in by a fish. Rear rod rests incorporate a grip on the butt -again as insurance against rods going in the river. If I use a line clip for accurate casting, the line is marked and taken out of the clip after every cast.

If the fishing is really slow (quite common!) then bite alarms will be employed in case I doze off......But most of my sessions are less than 4 hours duration, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Obviously on a faster flowing bit of water I Might have to incline the rods more or switch to braid (last resort!) to reduce water drag. Or I could just use a bigger lead...

Most of the bites result in small up/down movements of the bobbin (and bleeps if the buzzers are in use). I haven’t had a single smash take yet; even the barbel just give a steady take with the line ticking slowly off the spool.

My take on it is that by removing the ability for the top section (no quivertip) of the rod to bend on the take; the bite transfers energy more quickly to the bobbin and reel. This results in a faster and more direct ‘set’ of the hook, as compared to the ‘3 foot twitch’ scenario....It is also much less stressful if bites don’t threaten to pull the rod in.

It is a bit like touch legering, or deep nymphing with a fly rod, if you point the rod at the hook and have no slack in the system you get a quicker bite indication.

A cynic might suggest that this is a ‘lazy‘ approach. I take a different view.....
 
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