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Old 02-07-2013, 06:34
Howard Cooke Howard Cooke is offline
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Default Small river summer tactics

If we are entering a post spawning period now and with what looks like a spell of reasonably settled and warm weather, I was wondering whether there are some tactical changes and tweaks that people generally deploy during this time.

I was thinking along the lines of: more emphasis on dawn/dusk/night, greater stealth, higher focus on being mobile and looking for the fish, small baits/hooks and generally longer hook lengths (particularly during daylight). And in terms of general swim selection, would you predominantly focus on the more oxygenated areas of the river but where there is good cover etc for the fish to move in and out of?

Also, if deploying a very mobile approach, trying a number of fresh swims during a session, how long would you give the swim to produce before moving on (including time spent baiting up and assuming you had not pre-baited)?

I know a lot of the themes above are relevant at most times so I was wondering about the elements that become far more important, often being the difference between blanking and catching at this time of year.

Many thanks.

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Old 02-07-2013, 06:57
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Mark Anderson Mark Anderson is offline
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Hi men,

100% for me and Sue , fishing during the heat of the middle of the day , they love the sun , and we actually look forward to it !. If you can see them , we have found that they are catchable at this time , especially stalking !. I know this aint how the books and mags would have you belive , but our eyes shows us a different story.


Last edited by Mark Anderson; 02-07-2013 at 07:01.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:53
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Ian Hugo Arnott Ian Hugo Arnott is offline
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I too have found that barbel will feed avidly during the heat of the day, and it is great to see them moving around.

Barbel do not unfortunately read the same books as we do, so one cannot be pedantic.


You are on the right lines, but a lobworm can work wonders and even maggots.

If you are going to feed a swim, do not overdo it; you can always add more but never take it out.

No hard and fast rules for duration of stay in a swim, but at least half an hour. You will probably notice signs of fish activity,either where you are or above and below.


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Old 02-07-2013, 09:07
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Gavin Hoe-Richardson Gavin Hoe-Richardson is offline
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The Nidd can probably be termed a small river. My approach is to bait up as many accessible swims that I can find on say a half mile stretch then fish them for about 30 mins to an hour each depending on how confident I am there. Rolling meat also works well.

I find most fish in the deeper holes close to cover.
Diligence is the mother of good fortune - Benjamin Disraeli
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:18
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Steve Williams Steve Williams is offline
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I've been fishing a little 'stream' that contains a few Barbel, plus Chub, Roach, Dace and Trout.

As I don't know the stretch, I've started fishing it on simple lob worm and maggots, just to get a feel for the place.
Each swim I fish, I dropper a couple of loads of pellets in under my feet, where I can see the bottom.
I then fish further down the swim for 20-30 mins.

All the time I'm sat back from the waters edge and watching the area that I've fed, just to see what comes up onto the bait.

Having walked the stretch a few times now, I have a feeling for a couple of spots that think could hold a Barbel or two.

I'll keep plodding along and see what I can spot.
The bright sunny days at least, good for fish/snag/swim spotting....

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Old 02-07-2013, 11:16
Nick Clark Nick Clark is offline
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If you were to include smaller rivers as the Kennet and the Loddon Howard I'd say there is no time of the day not to catch, though oddly looking back there does seem to be a quiet spell for me from midday to 2/3pm which I can't explain. (then again I am capable of a quiet spell that can last months…) Can't beat that feeling, arriving at dawn to the river when it's still cool before the hot day ahead. Have caught so far at 7 & 8am, 4 & 5pm and one at the classic dusk 10.00pm, which is a great season for me so far. So I'd say yes for in all the usual places and yes to mid stream at the tail of the weeds in the blazing sun if that's where I see or suspect em to be. I find I'm moving every 2/3 hours in the summer. Can't be doing with too much pre baiting so much as be surprised by what I find and get to know over time. The smaller the river the more moving about and stealth to the point where in a stream it might be one careful cast or a few runs through per swim and then move on. And the prospect of chub and dace maybe. Good times.
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:40
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Alex Gowney Alex Gowney is offline
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By far the most success I ever have in hot daylight is maggots/casters and hemp, fished the bait and wait style. Good flows with plenty of cover near by are the best. The longer you can wait the better usually. This has obvious drawbacks in that you can't go roving around other swims in case your baited one get's taken by another angler. You can of course try leaving some gear in it if you only want to move a few yards but on the whole this method restricts you to that swim for the duration of time you intend to bait and fish it. A swim left for two to three hours, being topped up every hour after an initial baiting will normally produce two or three barbel straight away. A method I like to use in midweek where less anglers gives a better selection of swims.
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Old 02-07-2013, 20:41
Howard Cooke Howard Cooke is offline
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Good stuff here chaps, many thanks. I don't usually fish with enormous confidence during bright sunny days, so it's good to hear the experience of others and some options and different approaches I can try.

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Old 02-07-2013, 21:31
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Ian Grant Ian Grant is offline
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Throughout the year my fishing times change very little - if at all really, possibly a bit shorter in winter.
What does change though is the amount of daylight / nightime fishing, such as at this time of year 2/3rds of my hours on the bank are in daylight.

What i do think is that the Barbel in this post spawning period for at least a couple of weeks are probably easiest to catch than at any other time of year in daylight.
I think the reasons are obvious, because during the time they actually spawn, they eat very little if at all, but expend a lot of energy, much of the fat reserves they've built up will be used up, and they are hungry !

I think the places you'll find them will be generally where you'll find them all year round.
If i can get a full daylight session in - rarely - then my one basic change is bait - it's got to be Maggots - Loads of them !

If you know where the Barbel are, especially a group of them you can drive them into a frenzy, their caution goes out the window, you can't be sure of what size you'll catch - but who cares. it's fantastic sport.
This is the only basic alteration to my tactics, other than that it's the bait and wait game for me, same spots, same bait - same old same old !

It would be nice if i could get a full daylight session in, in the next month or so, but i doubt it ! i suppose i could try half a day !

Edit.... when i say same spots, i mean type of not the same swims - Overhangs, clear areas in weed, creases etc etc

Last edited by Ian Grant; 03-07-2013 at 19:35.
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Old 02-07-2013, 22:08
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Paul Matthews Paul Matthews is offline
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My favourite tactic was to find fish, get them feeding and then present a bait where they wouldn't think of getting caught !!! Think margins, in the weed etc !! Once they are feeding confidently, you will be amazed how close in you can catch them !!
Unfortunately my little river is a shadow of its former self :/

Last edited by Paul Matthews; 02-07-2013 at 22:11.
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