Summer Flood water Barbel Fishing

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Summer Flood water Barbel Fishing

Post  Jerry Gleeson on Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:50 pm

No matter who you speak to everyone will have their own opinion Summer Floodwater Barbel Fishing

Well, after weeks of waiting impatiently the new season is upon us, but instead of low clear rivers the majority of us were faced with raging torrents and my local river was no different.

With 4ft on and running a chocolate brown it can be a daunting sight, it might not sound a lot if your on the big rivers such as the Trent, Severn, or ribble but 4ft of extra water on my local river will turn it chocolate brown and bring it right up. Most people will be put off by such a sight but with a little bit of watercraft and knowledge it can be fill your boots time and if I can catch a barbel in floodwater then so can you.

Unfortunately, its end of June and we're heading into July supposedly summertime, and where we would normally be travelling light and wearing our summer gear, at the minute its all umbrellas, storm shelters and waterproofs, the rivers are all in flood, one or two at record levels and the country is in a drought, dont you just love the british summer.
Now its worth mentioning that rising rivers, indeed fishing in flooded rivers can be a dangerous game, the banks can become treacherous and even the comfy swims are dangerous to fish, its always best to carry a dog spike and rope to enable to get yourself in and out of your chosen swim carefully, if a swim even looks too dodgy to fish walk past it to the next, at the end of the day its only fishing and not worth risking our lives just to catch.
on floodwater fishing, whether it's to fish it on the rise, the peak or the turn. I generally avoid the rise im not comfortable fishing with all that debri coming down and constantly having to change position, i much prefer to fish when the rivers peaked and is on the turn. All that debri coming down the river has got to unsettle the majority of the fish, lets be honest, what self respecting barbel wants to sit in mid river avoiding full trees, logs and god knows what else that comes down just to grab a few tiny morsels of food, in my opinion by the time its peaked and everythings gone through, the fish will have settled and be gauging themselves on all the food items that have been washed into there bit of temporary sanctuary.

Now selecting your swim might seem like a difficult task but, they are quite easy to find and often over looked by the eye that knows no better, I simply look for area's of slack water just off the main flow and by slack i mean still or moving very slowly, its generally in area's like this you will find the barbel hold up and they are very easy to fish and the best of it- your not constantly having to recast after clearing your line. A good place to find a swim like this is on the opposite side of a fallen tree or bush, back of a bridge or a big recess in the bank thats normally bone dry, when there Is water on, as the rivers running past this will fill, creating a safe haven off the flow and away from all the debri. Bear in mind, not every stretch will have a swim like these, so be prepared to walk. It pays to know your river in summer as this will give a good indication of what swims will be available come the floodwater and more importantly, you will know what the bottom is like, whether its gravel, sandstone or sand etc, you'll have an idea where the regular snags will be and what over hanging tree's or bushes will provide slack area's. Walking your regular river and taking pictures in low summer conditions can go a long way when that extra waters coming through. Dont just turn up to any river and expect to catch in these types of swims, as all rivers are different, learn your regular river , do your homework and then reap the rewards.
If your fishing the smaller rivers like me, you dont need big beefed up rods, a typical 1.75lb rod with a good through action will surfice and best of all we're not throwing big daft leads about, 2-3oz will do nicely in my choice of swim. When fishing in floods i generally up my line to 15lb that extra bit of give goes along way if they get you in the main flow or they decide to take you through all the bankside vegetation, Rigs are kept nice and simple,. I prefer to use a running ledger, a bead as a stop before the knot and swivel and a bit of tubing to act as a boom which, prevents any tangles and 12-18inches of braid as hooklink material, Its very safe because, should for any reason, we get snagged by a fish or we have a break, the fish isnt dragging a clump of lead with it, that could result in a tethered fish. I am lucky its never happened, but it could, so its best to be prepared.

A lot of people favour big smelly baits in flood condtions but, I keep those for winter floods, which is a completely differant ball game. Unfortunately, due to my work committments in the summer months, I can usually only manage a few hrs in any given week, so as the fish are still very active in summer and can feed whenever they like, I use tactics you'd generally associate with a bait and wait, on a low, clear river.
I never leave home without my trusted baitdropper. This is a vital part of my summer flood fishing and has transformed my catches over the last couple of seasons. I like to baitdrop in 2-3pints of Hemp and 2-3 pints of small pellets 2-4 mm. It might sound like a big bed of bait but, some of this will inevitably be washed away and some will break up, the idea is we're after getting the fish into a feeding frenzy so we can at least get a couple of fish in a short amount of time.

Currently, I am using Natural Crave pellets from the Hook Bait Company, they smell and visually look very different from your average pellet which, I am hoping is giving me that extra edge at the moment, the big barbel seem to like it anyway, Hook bait is a matching pellet in 10 or 12mm. They are then wrapped in a small amount of matching paste and fished directly over the top. In low and clear conditions I would wait a while, upto half an hour or more then rebait, and then fish but as the waters coloured and the fish can not see us I will go in after five minutes. Chub are usually first on the scene and bites usually come straight away in the form of a fast rap on the rod tip, I usually put these fast raps of the tip down to the chub as once the Barbel move over the bait, I have found the bites to be very slow pull rounds of the rod tip not your typical tap tap and bang more of a 3ft twitch but in slow motion as though they are moving slowly over the bait hovering it up. Its only when you strike and set the hook home does the barbel decide to take off, the trick is then to stop them getting in the flow and stop them flying through your swim scaring every fish in there.

After landing a fish i generally add four-five small droppers of hemp and pellet back in to try and regain the confidence of the fish that are resident in your swim.
I generally let the mood of the fishing dictate how much i feed, if i,m getting alot of movement on the tip caused by the fish feeding i will use a smaller bait dropper and keep the hemp going in every 10 minutes with only one or two droppers having pellets in. If the feeding patern is a bit slower i like to use a bigger dropper and will introduce hemp every 20min to slowly build up the swim, with the bigger dropper i,m always careful how it enters the water, we,re fishing under our feet or the maximum a rod length out and i want disturbance to be as little as possible so i make sure the bait dropper is carefully lowered or feathered in, the last thing we want to do is spook the fish.

I only get to fish for a maximum of 4-5hrs and In just 3 short sessions this season i have taken numerous chub in the 3-4lb bracket and barbel weighing 8lb 4oz, 10lb 12oz, 11lb 10oz and 12lb 4oz and half a dozen in the 2-5lb mark.

Being a Head Chef at a golf club i don't get to see a lot of the sun in the summer months so for me you can bring on the rain, I'm more than happy!

Now its not all about catching double's ive just been lucky so far, you could end up in a swim full of 8lbers but unless you get out there and have a go you will never know and like i said at the start if i can catch in flood conditions then so can you.

Jerry Gleeson

Posts : 20
Join date : 2012-07-06
Age : 44
Location : on a river

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