Phil's big barbel catch
Last week was finally time for me, Abbie and my five year old son Alfie to head across to the West Country for a weeks holiday near the banks of the awesome River Severn.

We had so much planned for the week ahead to keep Alfie happy, such as a trip to the safari park, a day out on the Severn Valley Railway and much more. But come each evening I planned to escape down to the banks of the river to hopefully catch some of the very hard fighting barbel that it’s known for.

As we arrived near to our holiday cottage after a long 200 mile drive we crossed one of the many roads that cross the river and the conditions looked perfect, a nice bit of colour and plenty of flow. I was itching to get down the river that evening to see if the barbel would bite. After we had unpacked the car and settled into our home for the next few days Abbie didn't have to tell me twice when she said "Go on, why don't you go down the river for a few hours?"

The trend on the river Severn seems to be to use big feeders and hair rigged pellets, everybody you see seems to be casting huge clumsy feeders out that hit the water like a house brick! Although i know this method catches plenty of barbel I seem to do much better fishing with the Korum K Grip Swivel Leads ranging from 2-4oz and long hook lengths with hair rigged meat. The new Korum running rig kits make this type of fishing so easy. Everything you need is in the kit other than the hook length material and hook.

My hook lengths are tied up knotless knot style about four feet long using the super tough new Xpert Power Mono in 8lb and the Xpert Specimen Hooks in size 10. I think it’s important to use a bait stop that holds the meat on the hair when casting out in the fast flow; the Korum medium Pellet Stops are perfect. My rods are the 1.75lb t/c Neoteric XS coupled with the KXI reels loaded with a prototype 10lb reel line that I am testing.

A huge edge for me this year on the river was the Flavour Shakers from Sonubaits; i would cut my meat up the night before and shake the Flavour Shaker onto the meat then leave it in the fridge over night to absorb the flavours into it. The Super Octopus and the spicy sausage seemed to work brilliantly.

My barbel fishing couldn't be simpler, I use two rods both on the flavoured meat and if i haven't had bite from a swim within 45minutes I move on. I sometimes scatter a few cubes of meat up river so they roll down river in the flow but I'm so confident the barbel will search out the smelly meat I don't worry about baiting too much. One cube of meat in the right spot has always worked for me on the Severn.

Any way back to the first evening... I settled into a very fast flowing swim that looked perfect for a bite, 4oz of lead only just held as the river was carrying a little extra water. I didn't have to wait long at all before the rod tip flew round and the spool of the KXI burst into life. To anyone who hasn't caught barbel from fast flowing rivers it’s hard to describe how hard they fight, the first fish was probably around 6lb but pulled my arm off.

Three more barbel ranging from 5-7lb came my way the first evening and a chub of around 3lb snatched my cube of meat seconds after i had cast in.

Probably the best evening of the week was on the Tuesday when Alfie and Abbie joined me. It was a beautiful sunny evening. The rod tip kept flying round time after time and I shared the bites with Abbie as we took turns enjoying the powerful fights.

But the biggest fish of that evening came to Alfie when he asked if he could have a go. The swim we were in was snag free, and there would be plenty of room for Alfie to try to land his first barbel. So the next time the rod doubled over in the rest i passed it to Alfie with the clutch set so if, or should I say when, the barbel flew off on a run he wouldn't end up in the river. With some help from his Dad Alfie soon had a perfect river Severn barbel in the net that weighed 8lb 7oz... Well done indeed! We managed 8 fish that evening before returning back to the cottage for a well-earned cider or three!

By the end of the week 32 barbel had been landed, three chub, and an eel that took a liking to my meat! The biggest barbel came on Thursday evening at 10lb 2oz and I was very happy with another river Severn double.

I met up with Adam from Korum HQ on the Friday evening to try to catch a barbel for the camera's and although time was tight I managed a couple and Adam also had his first taste of river Severn barbel and now is itching to get back for more.

By Korum