Sack up on a sausage! How a supermarket bait is catching big barbel
Yorks river ace Dean Brook shows his smelly meat approach for late summer fish
IT STINKS, it’s not very healthy and it’s not advised to keep an open packet in the fridge at home!
Despite its minus points, a chunk of garlic sausage makes a fantastic barbel bait at this time of year and running into the autumn and early winter. It has a fairly soft texture and gives off a very strong odour which the fish love and seem to find very easily in all water levels and clarities. Some of my mates have a lot of success using it for carp on stillwaters too!
I use the Topino version from Jack Fultons and cut the size of chunk I need to put on the hook, which is usually the size of a 50p piece or slightly larger. I’ll feed a few cubes too, but not many.
Location wise, look for gravel runs with pacey, oxygenated water under an overhanging tree or close to cover. Barbel also love to sit underneath streamer weed on smooth glides, and undercut banks can also be good areas.
If I didn’t know a stretch of river, I’d always put some time in to look for swims with these key features.
By spending a bit of time in each place, you can often spot barbel in shallow rivers, especially if you’ve put some bait there as you might see their flanks flash in the flow.
UNDER YOUR FEET
Lots of anglers automatically cast their baits to the far bank when a lot of the flow and cover is on their own bank, right under their feet, and this is definitely the case here on my favourite River Wharfe.
Approach swims quietly and cautiously, and you’ll be surprised by how many barbel you can catch at close quarters! For me it’s all about minimising disturbance, so I use leads which are as light as I can get away with. This is really important on a low, clear river.
When the fish are right under my own bank I’ll cast downstream a few metres away from the side and then let the rig bounce around and swing round into the cover. I only step up my lead size when I have to, which is in powerful flows or flood conditions. I use a feeder
on a larger river when I want to get some bait down further out.
PERSUADE THEM OUT
When fishing like this close in I usually only employ a single rod and I make sure I’m sat right next to it, otherwise it’s a recipe for a lost rod!
I feed pellets quite heavily near the cover to begin with, aiming for the pellets to arrive on the bottom a few metres above the barbel. Then I gradually start to reduce the amount I’m putting in.
The idea is to get the barbel grazing on the pellets and competing, encouraging them to venture out of cover once less bait becomes available.
A large piece on a long hair-rig makes a good hookbait .
Another barbel for Dean on the garlic sausage.