My Barbel setup for this year

Zerkalo

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As I've said I plan to do some Barbel fishing on the float this year on the Middle Severn. Now I'm not sure where exactly I'm going to head. It might even involve wading out somewhere like Trimpley or fishing my usual spots but on the float.

This is how I plan to do it.

I want to fish meat on the hook but I've had to give some thought to how I'm going to feed it.

As it's quite fast paced and probably 6 or 7' deep on my usual pegs that I know hold Barbel, I think I might use a groundbait approach. Sonubaits Barbel Groundbait (as it contains meat extracts) with Luncheon Meat part cheese grated into the mix and part cubed into the mix. I feel like this could get to the bottom, but if I fish one of the wading pegs I might be able to get away with loose feeding meat.

Tackle wise, I'm looking at a 14' Cadence no3 rod. Not sure about reel yet but might use a 4000 Shimano DL Baitrunner if I don't buy a new reel. I will load this with 6lb Maxima which I'll possibly fish straight through to a size 8 Animal hook. Float will either be a big Speci Waggler on the right peg, or more likely a Dave Harrell Balsa Missile around 6g depending on peg with an olivette down the line.

I expect it will be snags galore and very hard work for just a few fish, but what do you reckon, stand a chance of a few fish like this and how does it compare to your setup?
 

NoCarpPlease

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Sounds like a plan!!

some comments:
I reckon that the best time to float fish the Severn is when it’s running pretty low and clear, so less flow to help the fish anyway.
I don’t find the middle Severn to be that snaggy, other than rock ledges.
The cadence no. 3 should be ideal, but why wouldn’t you try using your Agility II rod before buying another?
I’m a backwinder, and use ancient reels anyway, but is a 4000 size bait runner going to unbalance a float rod anyway? What other reel options do you have?
IMO 6 pound maxima is a bit springy and wiry ... 5 or even 4 pound might be more suitable for float fishing (I use 4.4 Bayer when specifically targeting Barbel ... which is 0.20 diameter)
Abrasion resistance of the hook length is important (see point about rock ledges).
I prefer smaller cubes of meat, so would use a size 12 hook as a personal choice.

Your ground bait plan should be ideal for a river carrying a tinge of colour, but perhaps a more particle based approach would be better for a clear river? I’d be tempted to introduce some 3mm halibut pellets with a bait dropper, with a few cubes of meat in the dropper ... then fish over that with meat on the hook.
 

Zerkalo

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Cheers mate! Really looking forward to it and will take all the advice I can get as I fine tune my gear. I will try to reply below as best I can to you're sound advice as it deserves it!

Sounds like a plan!!

some comments:
I reckon that the best time to float fish the Severn is when it’s running pretty low and clear, so less flow to help the fish anyway.
I hope it will catch me some fish when it's low and clear when my usual Time Bomb legering method might struggle!

I don’t find the middle Severn to be that snaggy, other than rock ledges.
Here's hoping!

The cadence no. 3 should be ideal, but why wouldn’t you try using your Agility II rod before buying another?
The Agility 2 is 16'. I plan to use that for my inside line for Chub on Bread while I prime the Barbel line further out but it's a possibility.

I’m a backwinder, and use ancient reels anyway, but is a 4000 size bait runner going to unbalance a float rod anyway? What other reel options do you have?
I thought it might be a bit unbalanced but I don't have many other options in 4000 size, most of my other reels are either bigger (too big) or smaller (too small) but I could use a 3000 TDR if I don't buy a new reel.

IMO 6 pound maxima is a bit springy and wiry ... 5 or even 4 pound might be more suitable for float fishing (I use 4.4 Bayer when specifically targeting Barbel ... which is 0.20 diameter)
Line choice is something I'm going to have to give a lot of thought to so I'll bear in mind that Maxima might not be right!

Abrasion resistance of the hook length is important (see point about rock ledges).
I fish quite heavy compared to most on the feeder so this will take some getting used to!

I prefer smaller cubes of meat, so would use a size 12 hook as a personal choice.
I'm going to buy a meat cutter and haven't decided on the size yet so this might turn out to be what I use.

Your ground bait plan should be ideal for a river carrying a tinge of colour, but perhaps a more particle based approach would be better for a clear river? I’d be tempted to introduce some 3mm halibut pellets with a bait dropper, with a few cubes of meat in the dropper ... then fish over that with meat on the hook.
The groundbait plan came about when I was told my meat would be washed downstream so a bait dropper also sounds like a plan.

Thanks for the advice, I'll probably find I have to adapt as my sessions go on, so this is very useful stuff. (y)
 

Robwooly

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I agree with NCP about low water to be the best time to practise the float on the Severn and it isn't too snaggy on the whole but I fish a stick and a waggler will drag bottom a bit so you will catch on a few snags fishing that way, I find I'm always catching on line in some swims. You'll probably find your fav swims are shallower than you think. I also prefer smaller cubes although much prefer pellet when the water is clear.

I wouldn't go down the groundbait route at all. Just feed small cubes with hemp each trot down, it's that simple. If you don't get any on float drop in on the same line with a lead and be ready for an instant take, they really respond to feeding.

If using pellets the best thing about them is they sink fast in fast swims and you can get big roach too, actually target the roach and you should get barbel. :)
 

Zerkalo

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I agree with NCP about low water to be the best time to practise the float on the Severn and it isn't too snaggy on the whole but I fish a stick and a waggler will drag bottom a bit so you will catch on a few snags fishing that way, I find I'm always catching on line in some swims. You'll probably find your fav swims are shallower than you think. I also prefer smaller cubes although much prefer pellet when the water is clear.

I wouldn't go down the groundbait route at all. Just feed small cubes with hemp each trot down, it's that simple. If you don't get any on float drop in on the same line with a lead and be ready for an instant take, they really respond to feeding.

If using pellets the best thing about them is they sink fast in fast swims and you can get big roach too, actually target the roach and you should get barbel. :)
Cheers for the insight! At least if I don't go down the groundbait route it will be less bait for me to carry too.

I'm thinking of fishing Bread on the inside for Chub a lot this year too and if I take meat as well I will end up with a bucket full of mash and carrier bags of groundbait and meat!
 

dave brittain 1

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As I've said I plan to do some Barbel fishing on the float this year on the Middle Severn. Now I'm not sure where exactly I'm going to head. It might even involve wading out somewhere like Trimpley or fishing my usual spots but on the float.

This is how I plan to do it.

I want to fish meat on the hook but I've had to give some thought to how I'm going to feed it.

As it's quite fast paced and probably 6 or 7' deep on my usual pegs that I know hold Barbel, I think I might use a groundbait approach. Sonubaits Barbel Groundbait (as it contains meat extracts) with Luncheon Meat part cheese grated into the mix and part cubed into the mix. I feel like this could get to the bottom, but if I fish one of the wading pegs I might be able to get away with loose feeding meat.

Tackle wise, I'm looking at a 14' Cadence no3 rod. Not sure about reel yet but might use a 4000 Shimano DL Baitrunner if I don't buy a new reel. I will load this with 6lb Maxima which I'll possibly fish straight through to a size 8 Animal hook. Float will either be a big Speci Waggler on the right peg, or more likely a Dave Harrell Balsa Missile around 6g depending on peg with an olivette down the line.

I expect it will be snags galore and very hard work for just a few fish, but what do you reckon, stand a chance of a few fish like this and how does it compare to your setup?
For me you're making it far to complicated.

Unless I intend fishing a late evening/night session on a good river, groundbait is a massive no, unless the river is carrying too much colour to fish a maggot feeder.

On a decent river, a good bed of hemp and caster is probably the best way to attract and keep fish in the swim unless you are fishing for odd bigger fish in which case I'd be looking at a pellet approach, either loose fed, bait droppered or in a PVA bag on the lead.

The simple way to fish, if you intend to float fish, is with maggot and hemp or caster and hemp with luncheon meat as a change bait particularly if you are being pestered by small fish.

Feed positively to catch roach dace, and chub for the first hour or so feeding 1-2 times a cast and then see what happens when you up your feed and start to feed more aggressively. The small particles providing there are sufficient fish in front of you tend to attract dace and chub before the barbel move in. Once you hook your first barbel it's a case of feeding to keep them there competing for the bait.

6lb maxima is too heavy to give good float presentation use 4lb Maxima or a good low dia 0.19-0.20 main line such as Tubertini Gorilla Float using a 0.17-0.18 dia hook length to a strong size 16 or 14 hook

Watch the videos below. Both H. and Rory both fish exactly how I used to fish on the Swale and how I fish on the Wye to put big weights of chub and barbel together noting they both keep it simple.

In early season look for a swim 3-5ft deep with a gravel bottom, pace and features. Deeper, slower swims tend to come into their own when the temps drop as winter is approaching.

To fish meat, use 10mm cubes and once cut, rinse it off with very hot water and then put it in a bait tub, covering it with water. Feed heavily with hemp and a few cubes of meat at a time. Note I prefer to fish meat with a speci waggler dragging it through unless I'm fishing under my own bank.



Be positive but keep it simple
 

Zerkalo

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For me you're making it far to complicated.

Unless I intend fishing a late evening/night session on a good river, groundbait is a massive no, unless the river is carrying too much colour to fish a maggot feeder.

On a decent river, a good bed of hemp and caster is probably the best way to attract and keep fish in the swim unless you are fishing for odd bigger fish in which case I'd be looking at a pellet approach, either loose fed, bait droppered or in a PVA bag on the lead.

The simple way to fish, if you intend to float fish, is with maggot and hemp or caster and hemp with luncheon meat as a change bait particularly if you are being pestered by small fish.

Feed positively to catch roach dace, and chub for the first hour or so feeding 1-2 times a cast and then see what happens when you up your feed and start to feed more aggressively. The small particles providing there are sufficient fish in front of you tend to attract dace and chub before the barbel move in. Once you hook your first barbel it's a case of feeding to keep them there competing for the bait.

6lb maxima is too heavy to give good float presentation use 4lb Maxima or a good low dia 0.19-0.20 main line such as Tubertini Gorilla Float using a 0.17-0.18 dia hook length to a strong size 16 or 14 hook

Watch the videos below. Both H. and Rory both fish exactly how I used to fish on the Swale and how I fish on the Wye to put big weights of chub and barbel together noting they both keep it simple.

In early season look for a swim 3-5ft deep with a gravel bottom, pace and features. Deeper, slower swims tend to come into their own when the temps drop as winter is approaching.

To fish meat, use 10mm cubes and once cut, rinse it off with very hot water and then put it in a bait tub, covering it with water. Feed heavily with hemp and a few cubes of meat at a time. Note I prefer to fish meat with a speci waggler dragging it through unless I'm fishing under my own bank.



Be positive but keep it simple

Cheers for the tips again! I do plan to fish in a more traditional way with Hemp and Casters on other sessions.

Every time I have done so far, I hope the Barbel will move in but it has yet to happen, but I will try again this year as that seems to be a good way to catch them! 😁
 

dave brittain 1

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Cheers for the tips again! I do plan to fish in a more traditional way with Hemp and Casters on other sessions.

Every time I have done so far, I hope the Barbel will move in but it has yet to happen, but I will try again this year as that seems to be a good way to catch them!

It's not a case of the barbel moving in, it's selecting the right peg and encouraging the fish to compete for the bait. If you don't approach it and feed it correctly, you will never match the potential that the peg has to offer. The above video's show exactly how to do it starting with swim selection
 

Zerkalo

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It's not a case of the barbel moving in, it's selecting the right peg and encouraging the fish to compete for the bait. If you don't approach it and feed it correctly, you will never match the potential that the peg has to offer. The above video's show exactly how to do it starting with swim selection
I definitely need to find some other pegs as I stick to the ones I know produce fish. Feeding is something to get right too! (y)

On the pegs I fish, I think they hold fish all year round as they are between much deeper and much shallower sections. Going on what other anglers catch when I'm there, and it's usually busy, the shallow and deep pegs don't produce as many fish as the moderate depth ones I fish, but I need to branch out to some other stretches with possibly more ideal pegs. I have seen those videos before and they really wet my appetite.

Here's another one I find interesting and a stretch that I plan to explore this year.

 

dave brittain 1

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I definitely need to find some other pegs as I stick to the ones I know produce fish. Feeding is something to get right too! (y)

On the pegs I fish, I think they hold fish all year round as they are between much deeper and much shallower sections. Going on what other anglers catch when I'm there, and it's usually busy, the shallow and deep pegs don't produce as many fish as the moderate depth ones I fish, but I need to branch out to some other stretches with possibly more ideal pegs. I have seen those videos before and they really wet my appetite.

Here's another one I find interesting and a stretch that I plan to explore this year.

If you find that peg make sure you have plenty of bait. I'd have reservations in feeding 8 pints of meat and hemp during a session on a peg like that and I'd expect to catch a lot of fish as there's a nice gulley with a good drop off, a nice gravel bottom, far bank cover and plenty of oxygenated water, vital in summer conditions :)
 
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