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

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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.


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.


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.

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