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Grubbing around for barbel… Trying something different by James Roche
James Roche is the Senior Regional Officer for the Angling Trust covering the North of England. He enjoys all kinds of fishing but being based in the East Midlands, the River Trent is never too far from his thoughts…
It’s been a strange winter this year. The fairly dry autumn continued into the first part of the winter, leaving rivers pretty low and clear compared to their usual winter levels. This was certainly the case for the River Trent. The usually coloured, powerful river was nowhere near its usual level for most of the autumn and into winter.
A trip to the Trent at this time of year usually sees me reach for large baits such as boilies, meat or paste, but with the river so clear I spent most of my time before Christmas using maggots. Often neglected by barbel anglers fishing the Trent, the humble “grub” is difficult to beat when the conditions are tough. A couple of pints of maggots flavoured with paprika and a bit of groundbait is all the bait you need for a day’s fishing. Targeting deeper areas, close to the bank enables you continually feed maggots through a catapult over a maggot swimfeeder to slowly build-up the swim.
Despite maggots being associated with catching smaller species, I have only been bothered by one small perch this winter. However, I’ve had no trouble catching plenty of chub and barbel. Four maggots on a size 14 hook seem to provide the perfect balance for targeting the better fish.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been sessions when I have used boilies and paste and caught my best fish of the year at 14lb 2oz, but when it’s low and clear maggots will always be my first choice!
Last knockings on the Trent
An evening’s barbel fishing lies ahead…River Trent