The tip could go any second (Barbel fishing)

Zerkalo

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Just looking through some videos on my computer and found some memories of last summer fishing tight to trees on the Severn. They won't mean much to some...

Light fading. Tip could go at any minute. There's not much more exciting (and relaxing at the same time) in fishing to me.

I was waiting for a bite so took to filming the rod, one day I will catch the bite on camera and in the process get a more exciting video.

Some will say there's more exciting things to do but having a Barbel rod out is pretty exciting stuff to me. Some days you don't catch anything fishing this way, but at least you know when you get a bite it will be most likely be a hard fighting Barbel.

 

Yeoman

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A little of watching tips goes a long way for me, I can concentrate on a float for hours.....
I also don't like the way Barbel can bite on the tip, nothing has happened for hours, not even a knock, and you're just getting a sandwich out of the box...... Cheese and Pickle all over the place!
 

Scribe

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It is enjoyable to watch the rod tips thinking was that a knock ? Hmmmm I bet it's going to spring round any second now. :D
 

Zerkalo

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The thing about this peg, it's a bit of a walk so in the middle of nowhere, you're rarely disturbed even by a walker. You have to fish right under the far bank trees to stand the best chance, so I fish a tight line, and when the tip goes bang you have to hit and hold, so no slacking in the tip watching. Watching videos of it I find is the next best thing to fishing. 😁
 

Total

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The thing about this peg, it's a bit of a walk so in the middle of nowhere, you're rarely disturbed even by a walker. You have to fish right under the far bank trees to stand the best chance, so I fish a tight line, and when the tip goes bang you have to hit and hold, so no slacking in the tip watching. Watching videos of it I find is the next best thing to fishing. 😁
^^ And then you wake up and fall off the sofa playing an imaginary barbel on an air rod and reel?:unsure::oops:
 

Shadrack

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It is enjoyable to watch the rod tips thinking was that a knock ? Hmmmm I bet it's going to spring round any second now. :D
It’s odd, I’ve only been barbel fishing for one season, but I’ve never had one of those “3 foot twitch” type of bites. Always been a series of sharp taps and then I strike.
Gives me the impression that maybe a few guys are missing some potential bites by waiting for the rod to slam over.
 

ukzero1

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It’s odd, I’ve only been barbel fishing for one season, but I’ve never had one of those “3 foot twitch” type of bites. Always been a series of sharp taps and then I strike.
Gives me the impression that maybe a few guys are missing some potential bites by waiting for the rod to slam over.
I've also wondered about that. I've fished places where the Barbel just give those 'knocks', but also given that 3 foot twitch. I put it down to how fast the water is running at different venues (maybe). Fast water, heavy takes?
 

Shadrack

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I've also wondered about that. I've fished places where the Barbel just give those 'knocks', but also given that 3 foot twitch. I put it down to how fast the water is running at different venues (maybe). Fast water, heavy takes?
I’ve only fished a couple of stretches on the same river for them, so haven’t the experience to guess at the reason. But I’ve definitely seen guys sat watching the same taps I’ve been striking at and waiting for it to wrap round, only for it to stop.

For reference I’m fishing the middle Trent.
 

ukzero1

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I’ve only fished a couple of stretches on the same river for them, so haven’t the experience to guess at the reason. But I’ve definitely seen guys sat watching the same taps I’ve been striking at and waiting for it to wrap round, only for it to stop.

For reference I’m fishing the middle Trent.
I used to pleasure fish the Trent at Newark, Close to the castle, back of A1 pits, further down from that floating barge over the bridge and at Smeatons Lakes.
 

tincatim

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The anticipation is one of the things that makes angling so much fun, not knowing when the tip will wrap round, but sensing that it will is exciting!
I love the little quivers and trembles on the tip, you’re imagining what’s beneath the surface in your swim, hoping that it’s a barbel…. or even better, a shoal of them. The little plucks that get your adrenaline going, then it’s settles down and your attention wanders… that’s usually when all hell breaks loose as the tip smacks round and the bait runner screams off!

I can’t wait to be fishing for barbel again 😊
 

tincatim

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I've also wondered about that. I've fished places where the Barbel just give those 'knocks', but also given that 3 foot twitch. I put it down to how fast the water is running at different venues (maybe). Fast water, heavy takes?
There might be something in that. I’ve found that the bolt effect which creates the 3ft twitch is much more pronounced in fast flowing water. I put it down to the barbel working up the swim as they feed, reaching the top where the hookbait is and then dropping back, as they do. They seem to do this more in faster water. At least my experience anyway.
 

Scribe

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@Shadrack I also fish the middle Trent have had very tentative knocks, but wasn't sure I should strike putting it down to chub. Mostly the tip taps then wraps round, even once pulling the rod off the rest when I forgot to set the baitrunner, It was a rookie mistake and I haven't forgotten since.
 

Shadrack

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@Scribe I’ve been there with the baitrunner mistake before. Watched a rod disappear into the lake whilst having a pee thinking the baitrunner was on.

I usually count 3 good taps and then strike. I’ve hit fish more often than missed completely when doing that so it seems to work. Of course, I have no idea if each of those would have become full wrap arounds had I left them, or maybe the times I’ve struck and hit nothing would have wrapped around if I’d left them.

But based on what I’ve seen from others I don’t think they all would have, and I think it has given me a slightly better catch rate than if I ignored them.
 

Silverfisher

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Now most of the time I much prefer watching a float go under say every few runs through. But there are times when watching the tip is very nice. One would be tomorrow. It’s going to be freezing but bright and sunny so will look quite nice but be rock hard. As it’s so cold nothing but chub will feed and I may well not get a bite but if I do it’ll be a decent chub so the expectation is quite exciting.

The best form of watching a tip is smoothie fishing though. When that tide turns and they come on the feed the takes are just savage. Proper grab the rod before it goes overboard jobs.
 

Zerkalo

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It's funny with my PB Barbel I didn't see the proper bite. I was fishing a bow with a light quiver tip, reaching in my pocket to make a roll up cigarette, looked up and the tip had dropped back. I missed the pull part of the bite if there was one. I wound down to what could have been any fish and hit a lump that tore off downstream. I reckon the rod would have gone round eventually as the fish bolted off but I caught it just in time to see a slack tip.
 

Northantslad

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Be interested to know if people are hair rigging or not; given most of the baits i suspect people are using, i would suspect they are? If so, then if, we are talking a short hair (a must for Barbel imho), i would contend at this point, that striking isn't needed 99% of the time. My approach and thinking below is based on hair rigging. The longer the hair, then the more reliant you are on the angle the fish mouths the bait from being right to then set the hook with a strike. Too long a hair and dependent on the size of the fish and subsequently its mouth, i just feel costs you Barbel sometimes.

@Scribe if you are using the ones i tied you up, then hair rig and short hair is what i know you use.

Barbel mouth the bait, feel the hook or that something isn't right and usually bolt, which sets the hook-hence no need to strike. With side hooking with larger baits i would say that striking is more important, due to the nature of the bait taking most of the hook, bar the point (important not to bury the hook completely for fish safety), say a large peace of meat perhaps. When using maggots however and side hooking them, i have never needed to strike nor observed many knocks and bangs in between. Although i only go down the maggot route in extremes of temperatures-high and low and not necessarily therefore when there are many Barbel around or at least not large shoals feeding, which can cause knocks and bangs.

When i say usually bolt, it has been known when fishing with smaller baits on the hook and in sizes similar to the feed, Barbel will look to continue to look to feed. When a larger bait is taken they drift away to eat it in peace and to wait their turn again at the back of the shoal. However, again, i think if you are fishing a short hair, then you are maximising the chances of a hook up. Sometimes and remembering that Barbel's stomachs are relatively small compared to other cyprinids, its not uncommon on taking and eating a larger bait, for the fish to have had its fill, same if eating several smaller baits, which is where you want the herd of cattle mentality to kick in for a bumper session to occur, some keep feeding, so the others do, actually hungry or not, but not wishing to miss out.

The odd bang or knock here and there could be anything coming down and catching the line, or equally a lone fish or one part of a small group could brush the line, spook and take the rest with them, hence the single knock then nothing. I'm not suggesting there is no need to watch the tips, it can be good for reading what might be going on at times when there is a bit of activity. But just like the hair rigging aspect, i would suggest watching them with a view to striking at them isn't necessary, its a case of rig mechanics for me.

This one also links to when some say that the knock was a fish brushing over the hooklength, impossible that a fish doing this would register anything on the tip, if we are talking a lead or feeder set up. The mainline is anchored both ends and taught and anything touching that would give an indication of course, but the hooklength, no, until of course pulled tight by a proper hook up. If a bow in the line method, then this would after a brief pause and depending on how far the fish bolts, will then register. I wouldn't fish a bow near snags ever for that reasoning of giving the fish some time to get in them.

For me, constant, knocks, bangs, taps and rattles are fish, and hopefully Barbel in a shoal and in a fully focussed feeding mood, to a point where catching the mainline does nothing to dampen their enthusiasm, hence they continue until you catch one. Sometimes and actually when on a feeder approach, i would rather not have these indications and run the risk of them spooking, as it can be a sign to me, that i have cast the feeder to far down stream and right in the middle of the feed that has worked its way down, from my more accurate upstream casts, using anything from a 3ft to a 6ft hooklength, i want the fish that sort of distance from where the feed is initially settling.

Leaving the fish somewhere to feed in comfort is important, as is sometimes taking the rig out completely when you get these sorts of indications, to eliminate the spooking risk and thus encouraging the fish go from interested mood to carefree feeding mood, which is the point at which you catch them.

I have heard before of people suggesting striking at some of these little indications and that you would be surprised when you do, so not the first time and i could have it completely wrong, but its not for me, due to the rig mechanics and also the potential for disrupting the swim more than is necessary in doing so.
 
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Shadrack

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@Northantslad
Interesting read. What you write makes a lot of sense, but also goes against what I have experienced as written further up. I’ve been using hair rigged pellets on most of my barbel sessions, with a few mm between the hook and the bait. Typical rig of 3-5ft hook length to a feeder or lead on a swivel clip above the hook length.
Also, I read your barbel fishing guides a few weeks ago, lots of very helpful information in them as a relative newcomer to barbel fishing so thanks for taking the time to write them.
 
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