Barbel Fishing Tips | How to catch more barbel on PVA bags

There are some occasions while river fishing for chub and barbel when you need to switch tactics from a feeder to a bomb, especially at this time of year, when the fish have had a lot of feeders thrown at them.

Right now it can really pay to go down the bomb and PVA bag route.

Mesh PVA bags are a great way of introducing free offerings close to your hookbait, and right now I’m using dry baits such as maggots, pellets or chopped boilies.

Here are a few tricks which will help you with your presentations…

Clipping on the bag.jpg

Make knots small

Before making your first bag, tie a knot in the end of the mesh and trim it neatly with sharp scissors. This minimises the residue left when the PVA melts in contact with water.

Use a loader

A tight bag should break down quickly in water. So use a PVA mesh on a loading tube. Compress the bait, twist the PVA tightly, tie an overhand knot and tighten it down. 

Don’t go too big

Big bags can be unwieldy. I like the finished bag to be not much bigger than a golf ball.

Save mesh

Before cutting your bag off the length of PVA, tie a second overhand knot close to the knot you tied to seal the bag – a 5mm gap is ideal (see picture). This minimises waste, and the knot will be a starting point for your next bag.

Trim the tag ends tightly.jpg

Hooking bags

Attaching the bag directly to the hook is the best option when fishing at longer range and using longer hooklengths, as the bag helps to prevent tangles.

If you are hair-rigging a bait, the easiest way is to nick the hook under a few strands of mesh.

Make sure the hook and associated bait are dry first or the bag will melt and fall off.

Clip a bag on

Alternatively, use a carp clip link – I use Avid PVA Links – to attach your PVA bag to the lead end of your rig. The knot on the PVA bag slides into a narrow groove on the clip, holding it in place on the cast.

I prefer this way if I’m fishing in faster or deeper water, where the lead helps to get the bag down to the bottom quicker.