Dane - Barbel Behaviour - 9/08/2010

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NickMac

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Hi all,

Fished the Dane yesterday, we decided on a roving approach and started on the Cotton Farm strech. The river was very low and clear so we knew from the off that it was likely to be a tough day. You could see the bottom on pretty much every peg bar the deeper regularly fished holes.

We decided to do a bit of exploring and find our way through to areas that aren't fished. So today i'm covered in scratches and spent most of the day with severe nettle rash after thrashing through to the river!! I tend to avoid the shallower runs to be honest, mainly bacause most of my success has been on the deeper swims, so given the conditions thought i'd experiment.

I found a secluded run that was very shallow with a gravel bed. There were tree snags with sunken branches in a little bit of deeper water on the far bank where I saw a few fish that I thought to be chub moving. So I baited tight to the far bank with a few pellets and hemp and cast a pellet bait tight to the overhanging branches. Nothing ... fish where still there but not feeding! [:(]

Then i messed up some lose feeding with the majority landing mid stream in the shallows in less than a foot of water. Within a minute or two half a dozen chub and 3 or 4 barbel when spread across the gravel picking up my badly thrown loose feed. Once they had picked up the lose feed they would drift back to the far bank. So i fed mid stream again with the same result and more barbel, including a couple of bigger fish [:D]!!!

By fishing in mid flow on bare gravel about 10ft out I ended up with a decent chub about 3lb and a barbel 4lb+ within 5 minutes. Very exciting to see fish pick up your bait. [:D]

There were some really good fish in the shoal with a proper lump of a barbel hanging back in the snag. Despite the catches they were still confidently feeding and I was thinking i was in for a good day, until a mink swam straight through where they were holding and spooked the lot, which all shot off down stream. [V] Game over!!!!

Moved on and ended the day with another barbel 5lb 7oz and another chub from the Manor Farm strech. Not bad considering the conditions!!

I thought I'd try and get your thoughts as this was a 'thought provoking day' for me. There were an awful lot of fish in a swim that I would usually ignore.

[?] Firstly, considering the conditions I though the fish behaviour was interesting, in my experience most of us on the Dane seem to fish tight to far bank cover and snags. Why were the fish not interested in the bait in what I though was the ideal spot in the deeper, snaggier, 'safer' water? Why in this instance were they so confident mid flow in such shallow water? Is it that the fish associate food fished to far banks and snags with danger? [?]

[?]Secondly, on what is generally accepted to be a 'heavily pressured water' is it actually the case that we are all guilty of only fishing regularly fished spots or our favorite swims?? I know personally I have a habit of heading back to the same spots time and again that I think offer me the best chance of success. Yesterdays experience has shown me how much of our strech is never fished? I found some faboulous looking spots, admittedly difficult (and painful!) to get to. Would the river benefit from us all spreading out a bit more and opening up other areas by using them a bit more. You can generally predict which pegs will be occuppied on any visit, any time of the week [?]

[?] I would be interested to hear if any of you fish the shallower swims on the BM Dane streches and how you go about it with what results? I'll definately be doing more exploring and not discounting the shallower swims in future, but not very confident about how to approach it [?]

Cheers!

Nick
 

Tump

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Great post and I'm really interested in the responses. I only get to go occasionally and last yr was my first season on the Dane, so I feel very much the novice on it. As a result I've fished a variety of swims every time that I've gone with mixed results. All the swims that I've fished have had signs of heavy usage and I've not yet tried to get to some "new" ones.
 

Danny Griffiths

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Alrite mate, i know of one shallow swim that fits your description exactly which is full of fish, including a right lump for the Dane. As you say the fish are more than happy to feed there whenever you thow pellets in, although i've had them feeding both in snags and in the middle of the river away from the snags. There's also a similar swim on Manor however i'm yet to catch one of the decent barbel i've seen in it yet, they seem a little more spooky than the Cotton fish, or there might not be the competition for bait due to reduced numbers. In these shallow swims a freelined bait can work, or jus a normal lead setup once the light starts to go. Apart from this, the shallow pacey swims hold lots of grayling and some dace which are good fun on the stick.
 

HALTON DANGLER

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i fished the WAA stretch this year when the river was really low and it was sunny and was amazed to see how close into the bank the chub come, at some points they were literally a couple of yards in front of me taking free offerings. always worthwhile goingin low conditions as gives you an idea of where the deep holding areas are when the river is coloured.
 

NickMac

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I wonder what sets these swims apart from the others. There are shallows all along the river that look similar but don't seem to hold fish. Is it just that they don't get fished very often?

Will be exploring again!! Although with todays rain it could be good for the weekend.
 

must be mad

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If Barbel have the slightest bit of cover to back off into then the swim will often hold them. Even if it's shallow, think I know the areas you are both talking about. If you wade out and find the holding spot you can literally touch them, you would be amazed at how many fish can be hidden away in a small area they are like sardines in a tin. If its the spot I think you are on about wade out and take a look. The Chub are more nomadic and can drift in and out of a swim,although they normally stick t an area of a hundred yards or so over the summer. Often a shallow swim with no fish can soon have a group of feeding fish. The secret is to get them feeding freely for a while you may take one or two if they are about but if you rush they spook. The Roach did the same years ago going to make a effort over the next month or so to see if a decent one is still about.
 

NickMac

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This is interesting stuff. I've always fished the deeper swims, think I'm going to spend a couple of sessions focusing on shallow water with some form of cover.

I'm off to the bristol avon at the end of the month. My last visit there was fishing for barbel and chub i could see with mixed success. Will try and get some practice in on the Dane!!
 

Danny Griffiths

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Sep 11, 2003
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Been over it, 2ft+ up. Might be in decent nick if it drops overnight, otherwise look for some slack water. Check the EA levels site for Rudheath, see link. Ideally the reading should be about 0.40m.
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/riverlevels/120706.aspx?stationId=5121
 

Tump

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I went yesterday evening with my little lad and it was pacing through with lots of colour. I had a nice barbel that I really struggled to land in the current (mainly 'cos I couldnn't hold the net in the flow) and he had a little chub. I very rarely catch the chub and usually get a barbel, do they tend to inhabit different swims?
 

Rick51

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Jul 2, 2009
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Usually if you catch barbel in a peg there will be chub there too. A few pegs seem to have mostly one or the other though. I can think of 2 pegs very close to each other, one where I will catch barbel but very few chub at all, and the other is mostly chub with the odd barbel.

My feelings on snag vs open water is that I will fish to the snags but try and feed just off the snag to try and get them feeding away from the cover. If that fails I'll try and put the bait as close to the cover as I can.

I have noticed that the barbel bites have changed as the season has progressed. I'm getting hardly any indications at all until the rod goes round out of the blue. Earlier in the season I was getting a lot of line bites and little twitches before a much slower steady pull. I'm assuming that the barbel are much more spooky due to pressure.
 

HALTON DANGLER

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Was on the waa stretch today looked like no1 been there for a while some swims were very overgrown. Started on feeder with pelletts and pellet groundbair with boilie on hook and didn't have a touch, my dad also on feeds but maggot had only minnows. I decided to set up trotting rod on tue pin and after a few minnows landed a lovely chub around 2-3 lb, then I hooked simthung really big eight at bottom of run it shot off and jumped in the air and snapped me didn't get a good luck at it but I think was a chub or big trout. I then had another smallish trout. Changed swim and took two moe chub and another trout before calling it a day.
 
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