A great little write up from dedicated barbel angler and St Ives Tackle Team Member Simon.
With the weather and river levels looking good for the coming weekend I planned a quick visit to the river Trent with the only free time available being Sunday afternoon I decided to head for the tidal sections .
As the week went on the river showed a sudden rise on the Thursday which continued into Friday before rapidly dropping, reports seemed to indicate that the fish had responded to the extra flow and fed heavily.
Saturday I spent a few hours crumbing up some ABS boilies and adding a bit of chilli powder and cloudy krill liquid before adding some chopped boilies I quickly made up some PVA mesh bags carefully measured out 2 medicine cup per bag a bit OCD I know ! I then put them in a sandwich bag and added more liquid attractant before putting in fridge overnight. The curried spam was defrosted and a small tub of pellets were put in the bait bag with some hardened ABS hookbaits.
11.30am Sunday the van was packed and I was about ready to go. At 12.45 I arrived at the weir field car park at Collingham just to check the levels on arriving there was only 1 car in the car park and the river levels had dropped about 2ft but it still had a tinge of colour always a good sign. As I expected the other angler was in the famous peg 1a.
As I walked towards the weir the bailiff appeared he quickly checked my permit and informed me the fishing had slowed down after they fed Friday but a couple of 14lb fish had recently been banked and a number of doubles .
The angler in peg one had been there since Friday and was being plagued by bream but had managed a few Barbel . I opted to fish between pegs 3 and 4 and set up two rods. Now I am not one for finesse in coloured water and always use a coated braid at around 2ft long, hook size is dependent on bait but never smaller than a size 8 with beaked points being better as they don’t blunt on the rocks as easily as straight points. Fox and Nash seem to last longer than most other brands .My mainline is 12lb Gardner Pro a good strong line. Now the weir pool is gravel bottomed with a few weed beds and plenty of snags. I cast a 6oz lead about without a hooklength and fed out a big bow of line ( this relieves water pressure on your line) just to see how it held bottom and how much debris was still coming through. At around 25 yds it held firm and collected only small bits of weed and leaves . I put a boilie on one rod with a PVA stick threaded on the hook length, the other rod was going on canned meat.
The angler from peg 1 came for a chat between Bream and at dark had a Barbel around 8lb .Two other anglers arrived and wanted my peg so set up down river about 15yds away until I went. They only had about 2 mile of bank to choose from! All was quiet it looked like I had missed the big feed and a blank was on the cards. At 19.30 the meat rod was changed to 2 small 6mm red halibut pellet hook baits and a PVA bag. With an hour left to go before pack up time I started to pack the rear rod rests away and put the unhooking mat and sling on the barrow. Suddenly the left hand rod tip straightened and stayed straight. I wound up the slack and felt a solid resistance what I thought was a drifting bag or stick suddenly kicked. the fish felt heavy but was well out in the flow it slowly plodded into the bank but kept deep, after a couple of minutes it woke up and steadily took line into the middle of the pool before I turned it and slowly got it back to the edge where it stayed deep and hugged the bottom taking line every so often. Eventually I got it off the bottom and into the net.
Now at this point I knew I had a good fish possibly 12lb plus but when I lifted the net to get it onto the mat I was shocked, this fish was big .The guys from next peg were as shocked as me . I was a gibbering wreck getting the scales ready as I lifted the fish the scales flickered between 16lb and 16lb 4oz . We settled for 16lb 2oz a new PB, a fish of lifetime and one which I may struggle to beat!