A change of tactics brings Trent success

Waiting for the tip to wrench round

On arriving, I opted for a fairly standard approach, using 4oz feeders loaded with scalded Trigga Ice pellets, and glugged 14mm Trigga Ice ready-made boilies, hair rigged onto a size 10 Gamakatsu Specialist Wide-Gape hook with a hook-length of about 2ft of 10 lb Sensor Clear. Graham chose a slightly different approach, opting for a 3oz Grippa Lead instead of a feeder, and a catty to regularly fire a few boilies upstream.
With not a lot of rain in the previous week, the river was down on what we expected but looked good for a fish or two.
We were fishing for early afternoon, and recasting regularly to keep a steady stream of bait going into our swims, but no bites were forthcoming, and in truth our early confidence started to wane somewhat, but it has been our experience that evening was the prime time, so we kept plugging away ….. still nothing.
A couple of weeks earlier I had been talking to an experienced Trent angler, and the conversation came to mind. The gist of his comments was that basically he was finding the fish very finicky, and he was having to use smaller baits on longer hook lengths to keep his catch rate up …… what did I have to lose? One rod was wound in, and a new hook length tied on. This time a small bait band held a small pellet to a size 12 Gamakatsu Wide-Gape, on a long trailing 6ft plus hook length of 8lb Sensor Clear.
If I’m honest, looking at it, I wasn’t mentally convinced, but like we all do from time to time, you try something different, not out of confidence, more out of desperation …. so out it went. I sat back to watch the tips, nodding gently in the flow, but not for long, as the tip of the small pellet rod wrenched over, and I’m scrabbling for the rod butt. A great scrap followed, but eventually Graham slid the net under a nice barbel of 7lbs-8oz. I was well chuffed.
The same rod hadn’t been recast long, when again the tip slammed over and another barbel was on. The scales went round to 8lbs-15oz … Magic! I was starting to like this longer hook length approach. Darkness was rapidly approaching, but I had time for one more cast, so out it went again. I crouched down to see the tip clearly, full of anticipation, and I wasn’t to be disappointed. The third bite was as spectacular as the other two, but this felt like a good fish, and for a while I had to follow it down stream. I wasn’t used to using smaller hooks in this situation, but I needn’t have worried, everything held out, and in the fading light Graham made no mistake with the net. At 10lbs-14oz I was a very happy angler. So was Graham, as he had also had a superb chub of 5lbs-4oz in amongst my barbel action. One of the things I really love about fishing, is there are so many variables, and even successful sessions can throw up as many questions as answers. Was my barbel action down to time of day, or change of bait or length of hook length? I suspect bait and length of hook length, as the second rod that I didn’t change did nothing, even during the later evening.
One thing I do know ….. I will be more willing to experiment in the future.