River Kennet Barbel Hunting
Most anglers know that I love to rove around a river, dropping the Pellet-Lead into as many swims as I can in the hope that eventually I will drop it within striking distance of an opportunist fish.
This is without a doubt my preferred method, yet on a recent trip to the river Kennet I found a number of the good swims taken so I had the choice of either going home or fishing one swim. I choose the latter, yet instead of fishing straight away I decided to bait the swim every half an hour over a three hour period before dropping my end tackle within.
It was a risky piece of opportunist fishing, yet after finding a swim, below of one of the best on the stretch; I hoped that this trickle of bait would draw the odd fish downstream. My loose feed was a mix of Sonubaits Elliptical pellets, mainly 4mm along with a handful of both 6mm, 8mm and 12mm along with some Crushed Halibut Pellets and a good dose of CSL. I could have bait dropped this, yet the swim was like a tunnel of overhanging bushes on both sides of the river creating shade and my guess was that I needed to be as far down this funnel as I could cast so decided to drop a few small compressed balls into the centre of the river at different points in the hope that this would create a line of bait on the river bed, an area I would more likely hit than if I had accurately baited.
Every twenty minutes I introduced four small balls then after three hours made my first cast that landed short. I try to make just one stealthy cast, yet after half an hour and the thought of the cast landing short playing on my mind decided to chance a second. This time the cast was perfect, clipping the overhanging trees before landing right at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you just know a cast deserves a fish and this was one such cast.
Forty minutes past and with my eyes becoming heavy and knowing that the clutch of my CS4000 reel would wake me if a bite came loosened the drag just enough to give line. I also rested the rod butt against my side so I would feel the pressure build in the event of a bite. I’m not sure how long my eyes had been closed, just a few minutes I think, when a couple of clicks woke me and as I looked at the rod tip it started to pull round nice and steadily. Picking the rod up I immediately knew that I had underestimated the flow, however after an anxious few minutes my balanced tackle which included a Neoteric XS Multi-Quiver rod with the 1.5lb T/C tip added and 10lb line saw a 10lb 13oz barbel slide over the drawstring of the waiting net.