Dave Harrell visits the Trent to find the silverfish are definitely on the feed
Trent silverfish prove that you don’t need barbel to enjoy a great session on this fantastic Midlands waterway
AFEW days ago I visited my favourite stretch of the River Trent at East Stoke with Hull rod Gareth Atkin.
We wanted barbel, but the river was low and clear, with a big drop in air temperature over the previous few days. I wasn’t too worried as I knew there were fish present on this stretch in the form of chub, roach and perch, so I was confident we’d catch.
We set up three float rigs to cover all eventualities and after carefully plumbing up we found around 9ft of water where we could comfortably catapult loosefeed.
PERFECT FOR THE BOLO
With a gentle upstream wind, conditions were perfect for float control so we started on the 6g Bolo rig with big fish in mind.
Two or three maggots on the hook soon got bites from small roach and dace within seconds of the float settling. Gareth told me that, like many anglers, he was never quite sure how much feed to introduce for fear of overfeeding.
There are no hard and fast rules, so my way of deciding how much and how often to feed is always determined by fish response.
If I’m getting regular bites, I’ll keep it going in and gradually increase the amount as the session goes on. If bites are hard to come by, I’ll ease right back on the volume. What I never do, though, is stop feeding altogether as I’ve never known the tactic to work when you’re running a float through a river swim.
We’d got a good depth of water and plenty of flow in front of us so I decided to up the feed amount fairly quickly. In match conditions this decision might take two or three hours, but as we were pleasure fishing we had nothing to lose and everything to gain if a shoal of barbel homed in on the column of feed we were creating.
Bites kept on coming and by the second hour we were introducing a full pouchful, sometimes two, every put-in. That’s a lot of bait if big fish aren’t feeding, but we continued to get roach bites, even with three maggots on the hook!
A switch to the Truncheon Waggler brought more silverfish but we missed a lot of bites on this rig due to fish ejecting the hookbait after they felt the resistance on the float tip.
CHANGE OF FLOAT
After three hours we had almost accepted the fact that the barbel weren’t going to feed so we decided to switch to the thinner No1 Speci Waggler rig, with the top of the float dotted well down.
That proved to be a good move, as a run of decent roach and a big perch put us on the way towards a good catch.
Gareth picked off a few more roach before the float shot away and he found himself attached to something much larger than what we’d been catching.
It was Sod’s Law, of course, that the fish had been hooked on our lightest rig but thankfully there were no snags, so Gareth was able to land a decent barbel.
We decided to really go for it for the last two hours, introducing two or three big pouchfuls of feed every cast, but try as we might, no more barbel showed. What surprised us both was the number of roach bites we continued to get. On most rivers, five or six pints of
feed would kill a swim stone dead!
The session came to an end with a lot of questions in my head that needed an answer. I didn’t realise just how many roach were in the stretch. When I’d fished lower down the length with Bob Roberts a couple of months ago, we only caught a few roach but there are clearly a lot more there now.
Gareth ended the session with a good catch of silverfish, but I’m certain that a different approach would see a lot more fish in the net. I’m already planning another trip, and next time I’ll be taking long pole gear with me.
Watch this space! That’s some perch by anyone’s standards!
Gareth finished with a good net of silvers.
Gareth did well to land this barbel on light gear.