I’m not sure about the rest of you, but the river close season seemed to drag for what seemed like an age this year. Around May time my thoughts start to wander off towards the new river season and my Barbel fishing. It’s around this time that I find myself walking the banks of the River Wye on evenings after work visiting new and old stretches to try and tune myself in with what the river is doing and just to gear myself up for the new season ahead.
I made a point this year to try and fish some different stretches instead of relying on my usual haunts which have always served me well in the past. With the season a week away the good old unpredictable British weather did its thing of just that, and boy did it rain! Work then decided to get in the way and I had to watch opening day and the next two weeks pass me by.
However on the 1st July, I found myself finally walking along a new stretch of river which was more like jungle warfare hacking my way through thick undergrowth to just try and get to some parts of the river. This is where travelling light really helps. I still see loads of anglers along the river with mountains of gear which can really slow you down should you need to move during the session.
This year has seen me add the smaller Korum Ruckbag to my gear and the Supa-Lite chair which actually can be attached to the bag. Alongside the Korum roving quiver bag, the only thing I need to carry is my bait bucket which gives me an instant advantage should I need to walk far or move quickly. On these recent sessions, this has very much been the case as on one of the new stretches, which was carrying a lot more water, I found myself moving multiple times throughout the day trying to find the fish.
In terms of my set up nothing has changed from last year again relying on the Korum Running Rig Kit but opting for a lead rather than a feeder. I prefer to attach a PVA stocking to my hook with crumbed boilie and 4mm pellet. I find using the lead setup more friendly in terms of tackle loss rather than a large cage feeder. This is all down to personal preference but I find that the lead setup simply works best for me.
The only change I have made to my baiting approach this year is adding the Sonubaits hemp and spicy sausage liquid enhancer onto my PVA stocking and boilie as this stuff really does kick off a serious scent trail. Couple this alongside a heavily coloured river and I firmly believe this can add an edge to your fishing but again this is down to personal preference; and also how much you want hands to stink of the stuff whilst driving home!
The first two sessions this year have seen me put six Barbel onto the bank and a serious amount of Chub which just seem to want to crawl up the line on certain days. Not my best start to a season but faced with a new stretch and challenging conditions the roving approach has certainly paid off as I’m certain if I’d simply sat in one swim I wouldn’t have caught the fish I did. Don’t ignore the mobile approach. Travel light challenge what you take with you and you’ll surprise yourself in what you can put on the bank during your sessions.