Pellet mash

whitty

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Mate,take a tip from the match lads,put a pint of either micros,or three four mm carp pellets in cold water,soak them for 1 minute for each mm of pellet(this is a rough guide,some may need less so try a small amount first),drain them,put the lid on for say fifteen minutes,done,they should bind well enough to plug the feeder,use 6mm halibuts/trouts/carp pellet dry in the feeder,as dry pellet stay in the swim longer,wet pellet has slight bouyancy,hope that helps.
 

john step

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Depending on how deep or strong the flow is in your local river. If the current is strong and you suspect the bait empties too quickly or before it reaches the bottom try adding a little method feeder mix to the gunge you are plugging the feeder with.
 

whitty

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I often wonder about that,a feeder hasn't got to empty slowly in a river imo,the main object is getting feed in the right spot,I normally would recast a feeder every 20 minutes or so,I usually fish pva have and I cast around every 40/45 minutes,seems around right according to catches,an hour in winter if possible,I wouldn't hesitate to do the same with a feeder,which I think takes longer to release bait,also if bait dribbles out smaller fish get more of a look in,if bait is released in a whoosh,a bed is created,which in my book creates the best option for bigger fish,a bed of bait...
 
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john step

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I think you are right in that a bed is ideal. I was thinking of my local river the Trent where the the flow is pretty strong at times.
I dont think there is the scope always to create a bed. I feel the flow just takes it away. I cant be sure of course.
I often use bigger pellets (8mm) or half mini boilies in the feeder. My thoughts are that a scent trail and a few bits rolling down might make the barbel swim upstream to investigate.

Sometimes there is no action for ages then suddenly I get 3 or 4 fish in quick succession all of similar size. I have often thought the fish travel in similar year group shoals and scent is going to attract the wanderers.

I may be completely wrong of course. Thats fishing.

What I have done on the tidal is wait until that short period where the flow is negative either in or out and then fill it in! That has worked at times.
 

iannate

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Among the many permutations, I've been told about using warm water with molasses in as a soak - put your pellets in a large plastic bag and add the liquor and then give them a good shake, drain off the excess - I haven't tried it myself self though as I've never felt the need to try it.

I would imagine a plastic box with a suitable lid on it would do the trick?
 

whitty

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I agree with the trail,if you fish fast flowing river,sometimes more regular casts(accurate)especially in the first couple of hours,accelerate the fish finding the source,that's summer,also small pellets get stuck in gravel/stones easier,making a scent trail. I caught a few fish in a very turbulent shallow gravel run on the tidal Stour,without doubt the bait gets moved along,especially when small fish are abundant,even minnows can move baits along,but their last interest attracts barbel to investigate...sometimes large beds don't work as well as small ones.
As for year classes wondering together,in rivers I can see into I haven't found that to be the case,with fish from 2lbs-15lbs plus feeding together,that's on four or five rivers,maybe more,it could well be different on the Trent or even the tidal where you fish.
 
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Mrnab

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Great replys, some good info here. The river i fish is the anker and it isn't particularly fast. So i may just plug the ends of the feeder with groundbait and stick the pellets in dry.
 

whitty

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Could you get away with loose feed then,feeders disturb fish on smaller rivers at times,also if you can see the bottom you can gauge how much feed and how often which will get a better response...
 

Mrnab

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Could be worth a try, unfortunately i can't see the bottom. I did consider just freelining also
 
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iannate

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unfortunately i can't see the bottom. I did consider just freelining also
Freelining and touch ledgering can give you an idea of what's going on although barbel can be nomadic, so it's a case of building up a picture of the stretch you are fishing and finding what works when and where with a smattering of why.

Good luck with your journey :)
 

Keith M

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Great replys, some good info here. The river i fish is the anker and it isn't particularly fast. So i may just plug the ends of the feeder with groundbait and stick the pellets in dry.
I’ve never even seen the river Anker but this is how I would most probably start fishing it for its Barbel.

Feeding:
It would depend on the width of the anker but if it is beyond easy loose feeding I would either be using PVA stocking filled with small pellets and/or Hemp attached to my lead or hook, or by using a feeder and if fishing within easy reach I would be feeding small pellets and/or hemp by catapult or by hand or by using a bait dropper (if I was needing to lay a bed of feed).
But make sure that you know where your feed is hitting the bottom; this is very important especially if you are unsure of the depth)

Fishing methods:
My choice would probably be ‘Touch legering’ using either the smallest of leads which will hold still in the current; from a few SSG shot on a small link of line up to a half ounce or more if necessary so that with a gentle lift of your rod tip you can let your lead trundle downstream a little, or a feeder if you decide to use one (see pic)



I would also be coating my bait (usually meat or pellet) in a softish fishmeal paste to create a flavour trail leading upstream to my hook.

Touch legering is a brilliant method which as well as being able to tell you the moment your bait is being taken, with a minimum of practice it also enables you to feel the difference between a fish moving over and mouthing your bait and streamer weed brushing against your line and you can also feel whether your lead is on silt or gravel or on a rocky river bed; and all by touch. However you can only use one rod to do it correctly so if you are going to use two rods then I would forget it.

That is how I myself would start to attack the Barbel on a new stream or smallish river if I wasn’t going to be trotting for them with a float anyway.

Keith
 
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Philip

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I just read this thread with interest as I just got back from a trip after Barbel, 20 Barbel as well as the obligatory Bream & Chub over a couple of days and while I would normally dropper out bait and then fish a straight lead & hookbaits over it, I had some groundbait left over from another session so decided to stick some of that in a feeder on one of the rods as well. By the end I had all the rods on groundbait feeders as I got the distinct impression it was helping the fish home in on the hookbait on the bed of bait....sometimes within seconds of being cast out.

I'd like to say I carefully plugged each end of the feeder with a super duper mix and put micro pellts in the middle etc etc but the reality is I just bunged everything into the groundbait mix at the start and then filled the feeder with that. I just squeezed it harder or softer into the feeder depending on the swim I was in. The deeper the swim the more I squeezed it together to make sure it made it to the bottom. I also always have at least some hemp in there as I think this keeps fish rooting around more than just about anything else.
 
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Jim Crosskey 2

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Just going to add to this that, flow allowing, there's actually two very distinct things you can do with a feeder in regards to how the feed is going to come out.

When I start a session, before I've even attached a hooklength, I will often mix some groundbait on the dry side, and then use the smallest plug possible either end of the feeder to get out a mix of particles. I will use pellets (of differing sizes), corn, hemp and maybe a few crushed up bits of boilie. When you cast this, if you feather the cast down and then keep your finger on the line (so it's taught to the feeder), not only will you feel the moment when the feeder hits the bottom, you'll also feel the moment when the bait is released from the feeder. As the plugs "burst", you'll get a slight release of tension and the feeder will drop back a touch (because it isn't as heavy any more). If I get the consistency of the groundbait plugs just right, the burst will be happening 10 or 15 seconds after I've cast - which is just what i'm looking for. With the line clipped up, I will now put between 5 and 10 feeders out quickly... getting down the bed of bait.

The next bit is the hardest. DON'T FISH!! I will spend the next 15 or 20 minutes making sure I've got exactly the right hook length tied up, sorting my kit so I have everything relevant to hand, getting my chair and rod rest arrangement just right, generally organising myself (call of nature maybe!)… and I will also take some of that dry groundbait mix and adjust it so that the mix is a just a little heavier and now also has a load of the mentioned particles added to it.

In conclusion - in the first instance, I want feed out of the feeder as quickly as possible. In the second, I want it to trickle out, keeping the swim ticking over as it does so.
 

whitty

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Jim,I don't think it matters much in normal circumstances,if all the bait is gone,the barbel(or anything else)will work the way up the swim to a point just above where the feed was introduced,then drop back to their hidey hole and start again and again and again,this is common practice and I've watched it on rivers like the H.Avon,where I would feed every 1.5hrs,fish would still be searching until just before time was up,I don't think much was left apart from an odd grain of hemp,if that,only on rivers like the Trent,Wye,Severn etc do fish put up with continuous casting and feeding,these days when fishing boilies I use small pva bags and cast(if I can)every 40 minutes,my fishing has changed as I used to feed loads of bait,often that just doesn't work today,on the Trent I hear guys I know who fish it saying nobody was catching,it was off,I know others who fish casters and catch plenty,barbel are not as simple as some anglers think,apart from in darkness...
 
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