I’ve often thought about trying to catch a Barbel, but always been too busy, with work, family life, and occasionally fishing for Carp at my local Syndicate. So, after speaking to Jay, he thought that it was about time that I stopped procrastinating and got bankside! We had a plan to visit one of Jays favourite spots that has produced good fish for a number of years.
The day arrived, and we decided to give it a go, even though the Trent was still way up and pushing through some serious water. Armed with a selection of Vortex Baits cocoons, boilies and pastes, along with some glugged hook pellets, we set of.
Arriving just after 3, Jay talked me through setting up for Floodwater Fishing. I was amazed by the gear, from the upgraded hook link, the 12’ Powermesh Rod teamed up with Shimano XTR bait runners loaded up with Touchdown line to take on the rocky bed, to the 8oz gripper lead, the likes of which I couldn’t believe – but were very necessary to hold the bottom in these wild conditions.
Favouring one of my favourites, Hydroshrimp Cranberry Shellfish Cocoon with a matching paste wrap, and a bit in the cavity of the lead, the first cast was made.
About 15 minutes passed and then a single bleep from the Delkim signalled that something liked the bait, then the rod nodded down hard! I ran to the rod, and hit into what I thought was the bottom of the Trent – until it started moving!
The tip of the rod felt like small sandbags were being thrown at it, that’s the best way I can describe it. Jay advised to keep the rod high, and walk steadily backwards, and then retrieve the line gained, the idea being that it would keep the fishes head up and give it no quarter to get amongst any of the snags
After the initial shock, i took stock and got stuck in to the fight, around 5 minutes later, the net was scooped under the fish, and the first glimpse of my prize. I’ve not felt excitement like it for years, the fish was left in the net to recover whilst the mat and cradle were prepped. Soon after, I was able to get a proper look at a Trent Barbel! All 9lb of it. A true fighting machine, built to withstand massive currents and torrid conditions. What a fish!
After some photos, the fish was once again in the net to recover, this is something that is taken seriously, as the fish fight so hard, they need to be kicking again before they leave the net. It was amazing to see if shoot away from the shallows back out to the deeper water.
The traps were once again set, Hydroshrimp again, this time a longer wait, just after dark, the right hand rod bucked and I was soon lifting into something a bit bigger! The fight felt different, slower, more determined, and a bit more of a challenge in the dark, however, looking up I could see the curve of the rod against the night sky, this helped a lot to see where I was!
Again the net was under the prize! Same drill as before, this one weighing a very respectable 11lb 8oz! My pb broken already!
Again, photos and recovery before this one sailed off into the dark. We had another bump off, but then nothing. Pack down started at 11pm, everything put away bar the last rod. Jay picked it up and thought it was snagged, then the snag started moving! A 9lb bonus Barbel was soon in the net!
What an evening! Here’s to more Barbel adventures on the Mighty Trent!