A carefully planned pre-baiting campaign has helped top specimen angler Lee Burden take one of the greatest ever catches of barbel from the River Trent.
The CC Moore and Ace Tackle angler put hours of homework in shortly before the overnight session and reaped the rewards as he banked nine double figure specimens to 13lb along with a huge 7lb 2oz chub.
Having spent several years getting to grips with the iconic waterway, he was convinced that priming a hotspot on the upper reaches the evening before with a series of freebies would help increase his chances of putting together a memorable catch.
Rather than pile the bait in randomly, he selected an area of the chosen swim that he was confident the fish would inhabit and he told Angling Times: “I baited an area of around 40 yards long in a straight line in the crease between the slow and fast water. I've found these spots to be a very productive as the biggest barbel use these for resting up in.”
“I introduced a couple of bags of Odessey XXX boilies, a blend of halibut and Ultramix pellets and a few tigernuts in case there was a bonus carp in the zone,” he added.
The swim was left to settle before he returned a day later, walking almost two miles with a barrow-load of equipment to get to his chosen hotspot.
Low pressure and reasonably high temperatures left Lee in a confident mood and he kick-started the outing by topping up the area with a bed of pellets that had been soaked in CC Moore Minamino before being dusted with rock salt.
“I have found that this combination works wonders as the fish can smell the scent from a long way off and will work hard to try and find the food source. The pre-baiting had already brought the fish into the area but I wanted to concentrate them even more,” explained Lee.
“My boilie hookbait was saturated in the same concoction and also had the hard outer skin removed so that it soaked the flavour up and stood out instantly to the barbel.”
It was a tactical ploy that proved its worth almost instantly, with a 10lb 4oz specimen coming to the net within 10-minutes of first wetting a line.
From then on the action never stalled, with the alarms being called into action at regular intervals throughout the night.
“At one point I just couldn't keep my rods in the water without bending into a double figure barbel. My arms, back and tackle were put through how I can only describe as serious punishment!”
His successful rig was made up of a short leadcore leader and a 25lb Ace Camocore Silt hooklink to a size 8 hook.
“Pre-baiting for barbel has had a big impact on my results and it’s something that when done properly will boost your results on any river,” concluded Lee.
Lee’s top five pre-baiting tips
1. Look to pre-bait in an area where the feed will hold up and not get washed away. Creases where there is a steady flow will be well oxygenated and will attract barbel.
2. Be selective with what you feed when pre-baiting. Small items such as hemp and micro pellets will soon be pushed out of the area and heavier offerings such as halibut pellets and boilies are much better.
3. Try spreading the bait around the swim a little to keep the fish moving in between each mouthful. This will not only preoccupy them but also see them drop their guard which will make them easier to catch.
4. Have a little plumb around in the swim before you start to pre-bait a new area. I use a 5oz lead and 25lb braid on a light marker rod and look for smooth areas of gravel.
5. Once it comes to the fishing, make sure you beef up your gear. I usually go with 12lb mainline but I have gone up to 18lb in the past – there is no point hooking them if you can’t land them!