Float Fishing For Barbel And Chub On Hemp And Meat – River Severn

Float Fishing For Barbel And Chub On Hemp And Meat – River Severn

The start of the new river season arrived and with it came record levels of rain that saw all the rivers swollen with brown floodwater and in some cases, the rivers broke their banks. Conditions that would call for heavy leads, strong rods, and smelly baits.
I had my heart set on float fishing for barbell this year so it meant a long wait for the river to be in the right condition for me to target these species.  A few days ago that opportunity arose and I made my way to the middle Severn hoping to cross paths with one float fished barbel.

On the route down there you pass the seven a few times, fleeting glimpses along the way just adds to the excitement of the session.  A good breakfast at the local greasy spoon with my to fellow anglers for the day and we headed off into the middle Severn valley.
The swim was an even 8ft depth down its length but did shallow up right towards its tail.  Pluming up all along the length of your swim is vital as this way you can feed your swim to draw the fish into the even glide above the shallow glide at the tail.  I was in no rush to make the first cast of the day and instead chose to feed the swim heavily with Cheshire particle hemp for the first 15 minutes while I set up my float rod.
The set up for the session my 14ft Drennan Acolyte Plus, Shimano technium reel loaded with 8lb Bayer Perlon line to a 4lb 4oz Drennan double strength hook link with a size 6 hook at the business end.  Fishing a 5 gram Dave Harrell bolo with a bulk shot of Dinsmores weights.  I had no dropper shots on the hook link to aid the prevention of the bait holding up on the bottom as I was fishing the rig 4 inches over depth.
Feeding the hemp heavily just below my position meant by the time the first cast came I was confident a good stream of attraction was working its way down the flow and there is no finer holding bait in the fishing world than a good quality hemp seed and none come finer than the black pearls produced by Cheshire particle.  
The sixth trot down the swim the bolo was working a dream just slowly edging a big cube of luncheon meat through the swim, holding back hard to allow the bait to go down in front of the float right at the end of the even glide the float buried and I was into my first barbell on the float.  I instantly knew I was into a decent fish as the fish moved slowly up stream and held station in the flow before it bolted for mid river in one long hard run peeling line from the spool.   The fish then raced towards me and under my feet where it just felt heavy and the fish held deep to the bottom.
The fish under my feet I had her where I wanted her and it was just a case of taking my time and applying the right amount of pressure to tire the fish but not risk being snapped if she went on another long lunge.  With no snags to speak about I played the fish under the rod tip before up came the golden bronze flanks of a beautiful large barbel.  A good fish and not the 4lb-5lb shoal fish that was expected on the session the blood was racing and the arm had a healthy ache, sublime fishing.

The fish went on its famous last hard run and then came up and I wasted no opportunity in slipping the net under her golden flanks, a good hard long fight it was a good 15 minute rest in the net for this girl before I even thought about unhooking her.  A few pictures it was back in the net to fully rest her, at 8lb 10oz I was buzzing , a fish in mint condition and a privilege to catch on the float. 

The fish resting I continued to feed the hemp heavily along the line.  The River Severn is a huge river that’s truly thriving with all species so there are many mouths to feed so there is no messing about with the feeding as over the next half hour I fed the swim.  The barbell returned the first trot back down the swim over the bed of hemp the float buried again, instantly a smaller fish as it lacked the brute holding power of the first one but non the less enjoyable and the second barbell was soon resting in the net a fish of 4 or 5lb.

Two more bites in the next hour but both were lost due to a hook pull early on in the fight, did nothing for the swim as these two fish I felt really did spook the shoal of barbel I felt was on the bed of hempseed in the swim.  It took a good hour of running the float through and feeding the hemp over the top before I the float buried for one final time and a cracking chub of 4lb 110z ended the session in  style.  

A fantastic session on the bank showing the pulling power of Cheshire particle hemp is not only held to the still waters in the UK its quality draws the quality fish on our rivers also.

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