The lack of rain this summer has led to incredibly low water levels on the gin clear southern chalk streams I fish. Until recently the Barbel had proved elusive with just a few fish sighted and none hooked.
After an hour of searching the river i finally found a spot that looked like it might hold a Barbel or two. An overhanging branch trailing in to the water had collected debris which had caused a decent sized raft. These type of events do not happen too often on the river as it is generally kept clear all in the aid of flood defence. With no floods to clear the raft it had gradually got bigger over a few weeks, plenty of time for some barbel to take up residence as its just the kind of spot they look to hide in.
One cast is all you get in conditions like this, one is enough to get the barbel on edge, two casts and you might as well move swim, such is their caution. These are paranoid fish that reside here, catching them is tricky at the best of times. Today the under arm cast landed just right. The rig consisted of the Korum Running Rig Kit with a 3oz flat lead, even though the river was low it moving fast, a lighter lead would easily be dislodged.
For hooklinks in this gin clear water i used 9 inches of the excellent Snapper Fluorocarbon in 10lb to a size 12 Korum Xpert Specimen hook with a short hair and Sonubaits Krill Pellet O. For feed I’ve fed half a tin of Sonubaits spicy sausage hemp and spread this several meters upstream with it settling in front of me along the length of the floating raft as well as baiting a few 8mm Sonubaits Spicy Sausage Pellets, not many just 3 or 4 every few minutes.
Half hour passed before the attraction of the oily hemp proved too much for a barbel. Over the tip went and it’s game on. The Korum 1.75tc barbel rod coped well as it always does, the fish was soon netted, not a monster at 7lb but a mint fish and first of the season despite lots of effort.
In for a penny in for a pound, so I’ve fed the other half of the hemp and continued to ping in some more 8mm pellets and stayed longer.
Sure enough an hour passed and another bang, over the tip goes and another barbel is on. This time the barbel fought hard and refused to leave the sanctuary of its new home. After a few minutes tug of war the 10lb Korum feeder line and flurocarbon hooklink held strong and the barbel was mine, a lovely fish of 11lb 1oz.
A great few hours fishing, a rich reward for hard work.