Winter River Barbel and Bream.

As the river season draws to an end I was itching to get out on the bank and try for some Barbel, as I have been having great angling on the Trent this season I decided to give it one last go before they settle down to spawn. Graham form the team accompanied me this time for this trip, as a keen Barbel angler himself we had high hopes as the weather looked well and with the rivers finally settling down, we were like kids on Christmas eve as we traveled down.

As the miles tumbled away as always we turned to tactics for the two days, as the peg we were going to fits two anglers, we decided to take turns fishing downstream, Graham on  the first day and myself on the second. We arrived on the first day with Graham setting up to fish downstream for the Barbel and I set up for Bream and anything silver. The river had an extra foot of water in it and was a good colour, the bank was a mud bath even before we started moving around and messing about and there is a possibility one of us fell in and it wasn’t Graham.

As always we stayed in the B&B that the peg belongs to, Cathy the owner was a star as always and looked after us, as on the other reviews I have done, you can only fish this peg if you are staying in the B&B, which is great for us as we always go down for two or three days.

Day 1.

Graham set up the two Barbel rods on the tripod and set to work, both rods downstream, with garlic salt covered meat hair rigged, 3oz feeders and a mix of pellets and halibut ground bait in the feeders, we decided on this tactic as the water had dropped and was not too fast and had a little bit of colour, he was casting over the first crease about one third across the river. Graham fed all day was lucky enough to have his rod hoop over and scream off downstream later in the day, as usual we both leaped in to action, him lifting into the fish and me getting his other rod in and getting the net ready. After a good battle he eventually landed another fin perfect and beautiful looking 11lb fish, every Barbel we have both had of this peg has always been a cracker.

I fished for Bream up stream, with open ended feeder, ground bait with caster and red maggot, 4 foot hook length, with double red maggot on the hook, it took a while and plenty of casts to the clip to start getting a good bed of feed down, and a great deal of Gudeon Roach and Dace before the Bream started to turn up. And as the first drop back bite came and as I lifted into it, the rod went heavy and a big slab nodded its head and as I pulled it in and as it surfaced there was an impressive big silver flank shimmered and I got a little excited as the idea of these lining up.

I had a little run of three bream then it went dead, few more small silvers and then the Bream turned up again, I landed two and then it died again, I really believed there was a good sized shoal in the swim and I can honestly say if I had fished more of a match style approach, hit every tap, really fed heavily with maybe more free larger offerings i.e. corn and pellet in the feeder I might have been able to hold the shoal for longer and keep their heads down, possibly feeding with a lighter but larger feeder to get a greater amount of bait down and be less of a weight to spook the fish as they take the hook bait.

I managed a few more good bream between three to seven pounds for nine in total and a bonus Chub about three pounds and plenty more smaller silvers. Fishing the river is not as easy as a still water or a commercial, however in my opinion can be more rewarding, when the tip goes over it could be a number of different fish giving you a different fight, and when you get a seven pound slab in a fast current it’s a world apart from a shallow commercial. Every time I fish the this river or any river I learn something new and Graham agrees with me, depending on the depth, flow, colour and weather you can have such mixed day on the river, if that be over 100lb of fish which is what we had of some absolutely fantastic sport or a single fish of a life time.


Trent bream day one.

Day 2.

We were up nice and early and with a full English inside us we popped bag down to the peg for another days angling, and the heavens opened, which made the already boggy and mud filled pit we created yesterday even worse, but with a great day behind we were chomping to get going. I fished for Barbel downstream using the same tactics as Graham the day before and he fished upstream for the Bream and silvers, and it was not long until his rod went over for a Bream and it was a cracker about five pounds and we though all the feed that went in yesterday was holding them there, so very excited at the thought of a bumper Bream day Graham went back in straight away with the thoughts of more slabs.

As Graham fished on he had a fair few small Chub and Roach and then another slab, but despite Graham fishing well, the slabs just did not want to play, even though Graham had nine fantastic Bream and plenty of chublets  and smaller fish, he could not get the Bream to get their heads down properly. As we sat and contemplated what we had spoken about the day before about fishing more match style for the Bream and maybe fish solo on this peg next time to concentrate the feed if one of us is coming down just for the Bream.

It was not long into the day when one of the Barbel rods screamed of and as I lifted into it I could feel it was a quality fish and as the clutch screamed Graham grabbed the net ready and the fight was on, with the rod high to avoid the snags to our left the fish surfaced and it was a beauty, a true prince of the river. The fish was fin perfect and not a single scale out of place, weighing in at 10lb it was another quality fish to add to my list of fantastic fish from this swim. As I slipped it back once it had recovered, it was high fives all round and a coffee to celebrate yet another great trip to the mighty river Trent.

As always, this trip was a success and as our continuing love affair with Barbel fishing continues, I cannot wait for the season to be open again so we can continue to learn and develop our Barbel angling knowledge, and with permission to fish overnight from the owner it can only get more interesting for our next trip. Big thanks to Cathy for her hospitality and roll on the next session.


Barbel: Garlic slat coverd mead in small cubes 8-10mm, halibut ground bait and pellets in the feeder 3oz feeder, fish approx one third across the river just past the first crease downstream. Size 14 Korum specimen hook, 13lb Maver Dual Band main line, 8lb Korum expert hook length.

Bream: Double red maggot on a size 16 hook, ground bait with maggot and caster in the feeder approx 2-3oz, fished up stream just over the first crease. 8lb braid line with a 16 foot 6lb shock leader to a 4lb hook length.


Trent bream day 2