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Float fishing for Barbel

Alex Chalmers-Wilkes

Senior Member
Hi Jon is your float moving with the flow. I.e trotting or held in 1 place. What's the catch rate like compared with feeder/ledgering. Just interested. Alex
 

Paul Richardson

Senior Member
Hi Jon
What line type and BS are you going to us?
Are you using a hook-length or going straight through?
I had a go on the float last season and hooked a few but gave up as I lost most of them when the hook-link went.
From memory I was using 6 or 7lb NGauge, 6lb Dave Harrell Pro-Float on the reel and a 16' rod.
Thanks
Paul
 

Paul Richardson

Senior Member
Apologies - should have read it properly.
Still interested in line choice. I use Bolo floats too, very slow trundle through.
 

Jon Frisby

Senior Member
Hi Jon
What line type and BS are you going to us?
Are you using a hook-length or going straight through?
I had a go on the float last season and hooked a few but gave up as I lost most of them when the hook-link went.
From memory I was using 6 or 7lb NGauge, 6lb Dave Harrell Pro-Float on the reel and a 16' rod.
Thanks
Paul
Hi Paul, this is my set up for the Trent, most pegs are 10 to 12 foot deep, that the reason for a slider. My line choice is Silstar Matchteam in 10.1lb, I could get away with less, but some areas have more doubles.
 

Ian Sewter

Senior Member
Choice of line is always going to produce different opinions. I usually use Preston Reflo. I have had barbel to doubles on 3lb line size 18 hook fishing for silvers but I usually use .21 9lb line as main line and hooklink loop to loop - leave a few yards on the spool for hooklinks when filling reel. I make up several 18 inch hooklinks with different size hooks in a Hooklength box. I found I landed many barbel on 6.12lb line but lost some so stepped up to 9lb line and would step up again to 11lb if necessary. Reflo is thin for the bs. Don't forget barbel can come up in the water like carp even in 12 feet of water and you can sometimes catch them 18 inches deep! As Jon says sometimes you can double or more your catch by offering a moving, falling bait.
 

Cliff Turner

Senior Member
For hook lengths I also use Reflo in 0.21, used to use 0.19 but just lost too many fish in one particular shallow swim where the fish always head for a snag once hooked. in other steadier swims the 0.19 is fine so I think its dependent on the flow/depth/snags what line is required. Mainline is 8lb Ultima.
 

Jon Frisby

Senior Member
I’m going to show my ignorance now Jon, are all bolo floats sliders ?
No Bill, good question tbh. I think all bolo are top and bottom, they may have an eye on the side, but effectively like a stick. My float is an out and out slider. It makes life a lot easier, especially casting. On the strike you pull the line up through the float, so no thrashing the water, when you hit or miss a bite.
 

Bill Walford

Senior Member
No Bill, good question tbh. I think all bolo are top and bottom, they may have an eye on the side, but effectively like a stick. My float is an out and out slider. It makes life a lot easier, especially casting. On the strike you pull the line up through the float, so no thrashing the water, when you hit or miss a bite.
Cheers John..a trip to the tackle shop to take a look at my options is on the books when life starts back to normality 😀
 

Stephen Crowhurst

Senior Member
I haven’t caught a Barbel on the float and would much like to, that said when winter Perching I’ve been using a Drennan hook length in 6lb and very low diameter. I’ve been very impressed with it as it’s the same diameter as my old 3lb material I’ve used for years. I’ve had a 8lb Barbel and a couple of rogue carp of a similar size and my confidence has grown with it. Over Christmas I had a high single figure carp from a snag, I had to put more pressure on than I would feel comfortable with and it still held up. What I’m rambling about, is that some of the monos available now are fantastically strong for the diameter and rated breaking strain, especially with well tied and appropriate knots.
 

Paul Richardson

Senior Member
Hi Paul, this is my set up for the Trent, most pegs are 10 to 12 foot deep, that the reason for a slider. My line choice is Silstar Matchteam in 10.1lb, I could get away with less, but some areas have more doubles.
Thanks Jon
I'd be more confident with that BS of line but it will probably be too much for my rod - I need to check the max line rating.
Some of the swims I fish are 10'-12' and I can get away with the 16' rod and a bolo but you are right, they are a bit of a faff for casting.
But worth persevering and looking at other float options as i completely agree that having the option to fish a moving bait will get you more bites through the season.
 

Jon Kennard

Senior Member
Ive only ever float fished for barbel a few times after rivers away from barbel river. I managed 3 in a short session on only my only trip the season before. Didn't get to try last season as river always to high. I cannot wait to try again like posted above im convinced barbel take a moving bait very readily. The 3 I caught were so memorable standing in the river with a pin on the float. I couldn't imagine a more enjoyable method personally. The thing ive noted about the wye is all the different types of water that can be float fished. I can see how a pellet waggler style float would excel in some wider stretches. Anyway possibly a touch off topic but I love the topic. The other method is strett pegging John Wilson style
 

Ian Sewter

Senior Member
With any kind of fishing, feeding is often (but not always!) key to decent catches. If ledgering its sometimes by bait and wait, PVA bags, bait dropper, Spopper etc. I have found feeding is often key with float fishing for barbel. Now I know it depends on density of stock etc. but often I will put out a feeder (barbel bomb) someway down the swim and then feed pellets by hand / catapoult and / or bait dropper at regular intervals opposite or slightly downstream of my position together with perhaps some hemp. Maggots and caster can work well but can be expensive. Trotting luncheon meat can also be productive. I might catch on the feeder but after a time, say an hour, I will run the float through at different depths, holding back, at river pace or slowing it down to see if I can catch any barbel in front of me and perhaps every now and again run the float down to the feeder spot. After a while of catching or not I will revert to the feeder to rest the trotting line but keep feeding. When you go back on the float it sometimes hardly settles before its away. So I keep alternating between the two. The key then, like a match angler alternating spots, is feeding without fishing that line / area so the fish gain confidence. Obviously for this to work you require a swim that can be float fished!

I would be interested to know how Jon approaches feeding on deep pacey Trent swims.
 

Graham Elliott

Senior Member
I had a few on the Trent on maggots just using a big bait dropper in 12-14ft to get loose feed down.

Due flow actually put it out level with self rather than down stream

No doubt would work with
6-8mm pellets, corn etc. as well.
 

Jon Frisby

Senior Member
Thanks Jon
I'd be more confident with that BS of line but it will probably be too much for my rod - I need to check the max line rating.
Some of the swims I fish are 10'-12' and I can get away with the 16' rod and a bolo but you are right, they are a bit of a faff for casting.
But worth persevering and looking at other float options as i completely agree that having the option to fish a moving bait will get you more bites through the season.
Thanks Jon
I'd be more confident with that BS of line but it will probably be too much for my rod - I need to check the max line rating.
Some of the swims I fish are 10'-12' and I can get away with the 16' rod and a bolo but you are right, they are a bit of a faff for casting.
But worth persevering and looking at other float options as i completely agree that having the option to fish a moving bait will get you more bites through the season.
You will get away with a light line no probs, but I like to get them in as quick as I can tbh and with 10lb I can really lean into them. Rods wise, most match rod you can probably get a good 2lb of pressure on any fish and that's quite a bit tbh. Ever tried tying a line on a Barbel rod to some weigh scales.? You would be amazed how much you are pulling poundage wise. Something to do in these lean times. Rods I use are a Daiwa 14ft xp, and a daiwa 15ft longdistance. Rods are a personal choice, ideally you want one that's light enough to hold. Just because I have long rods doesn't mean a 12foot will suffice, it most certainly will. I have long rods for the rivers I fish.
 

Chris Jones

Senior Member
My biggest catches of barbel, and biggest individual fish, have all come to float fishing techniques. That's not to say that I wouldn't have caught more (or the same), or bigger, had I legered on the same day. However, I simply enjoy float fishing far more than legering. That remains the case for me whatever the fish, or venue.

When it comes to barbel specifically, I've often found float fishing with small baits (maggot/caster) over particles (it used to be hemp, but I've taken to using stewed wheat to keep costs down) to be far more productive at the height of summer when static bait and wait tactics can often be quite unproductive, at least until the hours of darkness. I've had decent results during low water conditions while plenty of "proper" barbel anglers have been looking on, doing little but sunbathing, with their thumbs up their backsides.
 
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