Six essential rigs to tie for barbel, carp, roach and more
FOR river barbel a blockend feeder puts a stream of bait in the tightest of spots, and has caught thousands of barbel from all types of running water. Maggots are usually associated with the tactic but pellets work really well in coloured water.
Feeder weight is decided by the flow and how far you need to cast. It must be heavy enough to reach its target but once it’s settled, it should only just hold bottom so that a fish that takes the bait easily dislodges the feeder, causing a big ‘drop-back’ bite on the tip. Too heavy and the feeder won’t move, the fish will feel the disturbance and drop the bait.
Pick a feeder slightly lighter than needed and then add some extra lead in the form of specially-made stick-on weights or a length of lead strip available from DIY shops. Add a small piece at a time until the feeder just holds bottom.
Hooklengths can vary from a short 12ins tail to a long flowing trace up to 4ft long. Start at around 2ft but if positive bites are coming quickly and no fish are hooked, shorten this by 3ins4ins at a time. If you get knocks but nothing develops, lengthen the hooklength until you get hook-ups.
Leave nothing to chance with tackle. A robust 8lb or 10lb mainline to a hooklink of 8lb is a minimum, matched to a large forged hook in sizes 16 or 14. An eyed hook will allow you to fish with a pellet in a band or hair-rigged. Where pellets are concerned, it’s tough to beat halibuts as their oily make-up offers more attraction in coloured water than a plain carpstyle pellet. Big is best with hookbaits, so start on an 8mm bait, working up to a 12mm if small fish are a problem. Into the feeder, cram a mix of pellets such as micros, 4mm and a few 6mm offerings.
There are various ways to attach the hooklength but this set-up is less likely to tangle than most as the hooklength is kicked away from the feeder. A blockend feeder is usually associated with maggots, but pellets are a great modern alternative. Plug the ends of the feeder with groundbait. A halibut pellet on a hair rig is hard to beat. Even in coloured water it emits a powerful, oily flavour trail, and a large one will be impervious to small fish. FLOW