Seek­ing the spec­i­mens

Anglers Mail - - Anglers -

EVEN­TU­ALLY I de­cided to se­ri­ously barbel fish only from the end of Oc­to­ber (when the clocks go back) to the sea­son’s end, as they pack on weight in au­tumn and win­ter, with a sum­mer fish of 12 lb eas­ily weigh­ing 13 lb 8 oz after Christ­mas, and big­ger fish will put on more than that.

Also, as it gets dark at 5-6pm, there’s no wasted time wait­ing for sun­set. Yes, I know they can be caught in day­light, but it is my firm be­lief that the very big­gest fish feed best after dark in win­ter. I don’t fish all­nighters, just a 4pm start and a 10pm fin­ish.

Armed with all this knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence, my friend Roger and I re­turned to the River Dove for a few vis­its, as it was now pro­duc­ing some very big fish. With our new tech­niques, we were soon among the dou­bles, cul­mi­nat­ing in a very spe­cial Novem­ber evening ses­sion.

At 7pm, Roger came along the bank to ask me to pho­to­graph a 14 lb 9 oz barbel for him. At 8pm, he pho­tographed one for me weigh­ing 14 lb 4 oz. What a ses­sion!

We also had a few trips to the Der­byshire Der­went, an­other river now throw­ing up good fish, and had a few dou­bles to 12 lb or so. Yet I felt in my bones that the Trent would give me a spe­cial fish, so I con­tin­ued to put my main ef­fort into that.

Those of you who read my tench and bream fea­tures ear­lier this year will know that I was well into pastes, and now I be­gan to use them in my barbel fish­ing. I con­cocted a good mix of fish­meals and milk pro­teins, and added a liq­uid flavour com­posed of corn oil and Bar­bus Xtra. The flavour was added to the mix lav­ishly, over­load­ing it un­til the paste was lit­er­ally ooz­ing fluid.

Once again, this gave me an edge, which was needed, as the Trent barbel pop­u­la­tion was chang­ing: there were far fewer fish over­all, but they were get­ting ever larger. Although three out of four were now

This barbel, at 16 lb 2 oz, ‘told me’ I’d got it right.

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