Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

Use a beaked hook in grav­elly swims to pre­vent it be­ing blunted. If you’re fish­ing a weedy swim, switch to a straight-pointed hook.

There’s no need for fancy, carp­style bolt rigs. If the swim is snag-free, a ground­bait feeder or straight lead on a run­ning rig is ideal. If snags are present, use a safety lead-clip sys­tem.

Don’t mess about with modern, hi-tech main­lines. An abra­sion­re­sis­tant mono of 10lb-12lb will cover most sit­u­a­tions. In strong floods or on rocky stretches, step this up to 15lb.

If a bar­bel brushes against your main­line, it will spook. Don’t use a back­lead . To avoid line bites just use a long hook­link in­stead – at least 2ft-3ft, and up to 6ft if needs be.

A pel­let and ground­bait ap­proach takes some beat­ing. Use a large cage feeder (5oz or 6oz if needed), con­tain­ing mixed sized pel­lets, plugged at each end with ground­bait.

Bar­bel will feed at all times of the day and night. Take your time, walk the stretch and bait a few spots, then fish them in ro­ta­tion. There’s lit­tle need to fish ‘unso­cial’ hours.

Float­fish­ing for bar­bel can be deadly on big rivers like the Trent. Use a beefy float rod, a big stick or Avon float, a reel loaded with 6lb-8lb line and a strong size 12 or 14 forged hook car­ry­ing two or three mag­gots. Loose­feed con­tin­u­ally to keep the bites com­ing.

If the pace of the swim is not too strong, balling in a pel­let-laced heavy ground­bait is a great way to prime a swim. Don’t overdo it – four to six balls is am­ple.

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