River Fishing Tackle | 10 essential items for the new season.

To celebrate the new river season, Angling Times staff have picked out 11 of their favourite tackle items they wouldn’t be without on the bank.

From specimen barbel and chub fishing to silver fish on the float, these items of kit come highly recommended after months and, in some cases, years of use.


A bait dropper gets a bed of bait down fast, and Dinsmores Tear Drop versions are some of the best – reassuringly heavy and super-easy to use.

The 60g, small version is ideal for slow-moving water, or where a smaller amount of bait needs to be dropped. The medium size (120g) is great for faster rivers. 

Price: £9.99, £13.99

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VASS includes thigh, waist and full chest waders in its portfolio but my favourite is the Vass-Tex 305-5L – tough, breathable and up to three times more waterproof than other waders. 

You get padded knee joints, reinforced boots and a zip-tight chest pocket to store bits and pieces. Elasticated shoulder and waist straps ensure a snug fit.

Price: £249.99 

Visit: ww.vassrainwear.co.uk


I love float fishing on my local River Nene and have two favourite patterns – Dave Harrell’s No1 Insert Sticks and Drennan Big Sticks – for fishing in depths from 4ft to 14ft.

Decent shoulders on both allow me to slow the rigs down when bream and skimmers are the target.

For up-in-the-water roach and dace fishing the hollow, high-vis tips on the DH Inserts offer sensitivity, while the heavy wire stems settles them quickly.

Drennan Big Stick: 2BB (1g), 3BB (1.4g), 4BB (1.75g), 5.5BB (2.25g), 7.5BB (3.5g). DH No1 Insert: 2x4, 4x4, 6x4, 8x4, 10x4, 12x4, 14x4. Price: £1.85 to £2.25

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Slow, deep Fenland rivers and drains call for a mix that will get down fast and hold plenty of loose freebies without breaking apart.

In natural brown or dark black, Van Den Eynde Super Roach is just that, and works equally well for skimmers and roach. Use it in the feeder, ball it in or introduce it with a cupping kit.

On the tidal rivers of the Broads, Super Roach will make short work of getting down in 12ft of fast-paced water. In shallower water, you can ‘lighten’ it by adding Van Den Eynde Special or Supercup.

In 1kg bags, Super Roach will always find a place in my bait bucket for summer river fishing.

Price: £3.99

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I started using these last season, and was so pleased I’ve already stocked up for the season ahead.

My favourite for chub and barbel is the Cheese & Garlic flavour – I use the groundbait, Buster hookbaits and paste. The groundbait is particularly effective in a large feeder plugged both ends to deliver pellets and boilies.

The paste is great in coloured water, wrapped around a boilie.

Price: From £4.99

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A MUST for any river angler targeting chub, barbel and carp, these hooks are Incredibly strong and super-sharp, and extremely hard for fish to deal with. 

In sizes 4-16, they can be used with a wide variety of baits and presentations. A Teflon coating significantly reduces glare on bright days. 

When roving and rolling meat for summer barbel you can guarantee I’ll have a size 6 Drennan Specialist Barbel hook on – they hold the bait perfectly.

Price: £4.25

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Daiwa’s iconic Sensor line is tough as old boots, holds a good knot, doesn’t twist easily, and is very sensibly priced. 

New Hyper Sensor does all the above but its lower diameter makes casting easier and its low-stretch properties put you in immediate control when trotting a stick or waggler. Shot can be moved around without causing annoying pig-tails. Basically, the best just got even better. On 300m spools. 

Price: From £6.99 


The wide, canalised North Bank of the River Nene responds well to feeder tactics with soft groundbait, a long tail and red maggots, and my favourite pattern is the Nisa Open-End. 

They come in several sizes and weights and are strong and reliable, attached running-style via a link swivel and tough rubber band.

Sizes: Mini, Small, Medium and Large in weights from 12g to 44g. 

Price: From £1.49


For floatfishing for barbel the 13ft Daiwa Powermesh Specialist Float Rod is the perfect choice – incredibly strong yet very light in the hand. As you will be holding the rod all day long this is very important, and the 13ft length allows for excellent float control.

Price: £107.99

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A good net is crucial for big barbel and chub and you’ll struggle to beat Drennan’s Specialist Landing Nets. 

In sizes from 18ins to 26ins, they are comfortably big enough to land any barbel you may hook, and the deep mesh is perfect for resting a fish.

The frame is fixed to a solid spreader block, rather than having put-in sections, and this allows fish to be lifted with ease up a steep bank.

Price: £19.95 - £24.95

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