Dave Har­rell How bait pre­sen­ta­tion will get you more bites on the rivers

It’s all about pre­sent­ing the hook­bait ex­actly how the fish want it on the day…

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

ILOVE the fact that in river fish­ing every day is dif­fer­ent.

What was a poor swim a cou­ple of months ago might be a flyer now, so never to­tally dis­re­gard a swim that you might have failed from in the past.

My lat­est mid­week coach­ing ses­sion with James Brewer il­lus­trated this point per­fectly. We fished to­gether on the down­stream Eign sec­tion of the Wye be­low Here­ford and James had told me on the phone that while he’d caught a few bar­bel on the feeder, he’d never caught one on float gear.

I ar­ranged to meet him on this stretch, from which I’ve had some very big catches of chub and bar­bel here. As it’s fairly shal­low, it lends it­self per­fectly to float tac­tics.

We started off just be­low the rail­way bridge on a swim that ran down to a ford and I set up two rigs for starters. Both rods were 13ft Daiwa Tour­na­ment Pros with pro­to­type 0.20mm main lines. On the first I set up a 5AAA DH No1 Trun­cheon Wag­gler with most of the shot around the float and just two No6 shots down the line. On the other went a 4g DH No3 Bolo with an olivette on top of the 35cm hook­length and no drop shot.

Hooks in both cases were size 14 Dren­nan Wide Gape mod­els, tied to 0.15mm line.

Bait-wise, we’d got plenty of choices – two 2kg bags of Bait-Tech fish­meal carp pel­lets in 4mm and 6mm, two pints of cast­ers, four of hemp and two of mag­gots.

A gen­tle up­stream breeze helped a lot with pre­sen­ta­tion and dur­ing the first cou­ple of hours James landed three bar­bel to 7lb and two de­cent chub on a banded 6mm pel­let – but the sun blaz­ing down on a very clear river I sus­pected things were likely to get harder. over the next few hours.

A few small chub fol­lowed on a mag­got hook­bait, but it was clear that de­spite hav­ing achieved James’ wish of catch­ing a bar­bel on float gear, we were head­ing to­wards a dif­fi­cult af­ter­noon.

I de­cided a change of swim was in or­der and we moved down­stream into some much faster wa­ter. I ex­plained to James that I had last fished here a year ago and failed, but had al­ways thought that it would be a good swim on cer­tain days, so it might be worth a try.

The flow on this swim was re­ally fast and the deep­est wa­ter was close in at 3ft to 4ft. For starters I set up a 6g DH Balsa Mis­sile with an olivette and no drop shot.

A size 12 Wide Gape hook was all that was needed as a drop­per in the shal­low wa­ter and it wasn’t long be­fore James was into his first fish, a 4lb bar­bel, from this new swim.

We ex­per­i­mented with an even big­ger 8g float, over­shot­ting by as much as an ex­tra 2g and back­wind­ing the rig down the swim. This brought some more bar­bel, with one fish go­ing around 6lb, to­gether with a cou­ple of 3lb chub.

Back­wind­ing an over­shot­ted rig with the bail-arm closed is a great way to catch bar­bel, as ev­ery­thing is so di­rect to the hook­bait. Some­times, the fish take the

bait so vi­ciously that they hook them­selves be­fore you even get time to strike!

Feed­ing with the 4mm and 6mm fish­meal pel­lets, we con­tin­ued to catch the odd fish for the next cou­ple of hours on both pel­let and mag­got hook­baits, but I felt we needed a change of rig again as bites were slow­ing down.

In­stead of us­ing a big heav­ily bulked rig I de­cided on a much lighter ap­proach in the form of an 8No4 DH Shal­low Wa­ter Stick with strung-out, closely spaced No4 shot.

By cast­ing this rig over the main flow and into slightly stead­ier wa­ter I thought there might be a chance to pick up more chub.

I had a feel­ing the rig might work bet­ter than the bulk rig, and how right the hunch proved to be. The next two hours saw James land more than 80lb of chub to 4lb 8oz and bar­bel to 7lb!

It had even­tu­ally turned into a red let­ter day but it would have been so easy to stay on the bulk rig, which seemed right for the swim, and not re­alise how much bet­ter a much more lightly shot­ted float could be.

It was a les­son in the im­por­tance of hav­ing an open mind and ex­per­i­ment­ing un­til the cor­rect pre­sen­ta­tion is ar­rived at.

Feed­ing was also cru­cial. As the fish started to re­ally have a go, we in­creased the amount of pel­lets and by the end of the ses­sion we’d fed around 3kg in to­tal, which is a lot for a river.

James had achieved his am­bi­tion and taken his best-ever river catch at the same time. What a day!

James lands his first river bar­bel on float tackle.

As we ap­proach au­tumn, chub are start­ing to feed well.

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