New Barbel Rods & Special Crab boilies on the River Marne

November 22, 2012

Like a kid at Christmas, I was keen to try out my new Free Spirit Barbel rods. The model in question is the Tamer X Wrap Specialist SU 1.75lb.
I set up on a spot where a French mate had managed 6 nice fish the previous day to about 7lb 8oz. I arrived around 8am and cast out two baits to the drop off just short of the main flow, about 15-20 yards out. Tackle was my usual feeder set up; comprising of a 70g cage feeder filled with ground down trout & carp pellets with a small handful of dry pellet too. Hook baits were a 14mm halibut pellet on the left rod and a 15mm Quest Special Crab boilie on the right rod. I used a catty to sprinkle a few freebie boilies out into the flow upstream of my peg.
Unfortunately I got absolutely hounded by bream, in the first hour I’d had at least 15 on both hook baits. I kept at it as usually once they move out the barbel and chub move in. At around 10 am I had my first take on a boilie and landed a nice conditioned barbel of a tad over 5lb.
For the next two hours the intensity of the bream activity got the better of me and I decided to move. I just couldn’t keep a rod in the water long enough to hope to catch a barbel… ‘orrible slimey things: bream!

I opted for a peg I’d fished a lot in recent weeks about 200m downstream. It’s so nice fishing light these days, only two rods, rests a chair & small bag and a bait bucket. If I’d been carping I’d have had twice as much stuff, and I probably wouldn’t have moved.
Once set up in the new swim the same baits were cast out and a few freebies catapulted out. I didn’t have to wait long for a nice chub of about 4lb 8oz to pick up the boilie on the right hand rod. The very next cast and I had a second of about 3lb 4oz. I did get a few bream but nothing like my previous peg.
I didn’t have long to wait before the boilie rod was away again and I banked a very hard fighting barbel of 7lb 4oz. A strange fish this one, it looked like it had been crushed by a catfish at some point as its back was sort of crinkled!! I’m sure, looking at the size of its head and shoulders, it would have weighed a pound or two more if its tail wasn’t so scrawny.
Before I packed up I had three more takes, resulting in a nice 6lb 2oz fish and two which saw my hook link getting cut off on the bottom. Not sure if this was due to stones or mussels, but very frustrating; I hate leaving gear in a fish’s mouth.
I’ve been using 12lb ProClear for my rigs and so far these are the first two fish I’ve lost this way. My mate who fished braid on this peg last week was getting his hook link shredded on each fish. The nylon seemed to be more resistant and is pretty supple. I guess I’ll just need to periodically inspect my hook link for signs of chafing.

A wet and muddy day, that despite three nice fish was somewhat frustrating. The bream were a real nightmare… Even fish of a pound or so were easily taking 15mm boilies. Add to that the two lost fish and I left the river with a slight feeling of “I should have done better!”
As for the rods: They were really superb.. Slim and elegant, they cast my loaded feeder effortlessly. Once I got into a good hard fighting fish they were a joy to use. Their action is so much nicer than the cheapo feeder rods I’ve been using so far this year. It was like Steptoe and son’s fishing gear.

As Shaun said to me they look sexier on the bank too… and he is right. I’d kind of got used to a set of Hi S’s for my carp fishing and these look very similar with their slim cork handles. Not that I’m a tackle tart you understand!!!


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