NASH backed specialist Des Taylor has been in form with barbel, reporting a recent run of doubles up to 13 lb 6 oz.
The bearded Midlands supremo has devised a great approach using the Pellet Mixes and TG Active to find consistent success on the Warwickshire Avon, ten short trips producing nine barbel, six of which have been doubles.
‘Compared to the guiding days I run on the River Severn the average size is much higher on the Warwickshire Avon, so it’s a much better chance for a big fish,’ said Des. ‘This season I’ve helped people catch 400 barbel on the Severn and four have been doubles, where 2 out of 3 on the Avon are doubles.’
Although a new river to him, Des has used the same basic approach on the Avon that proves so successful for his guiding days, relying heavily on the Ball Maker and Pellet Mixes to build feeding activity and interest in a swim.
‘The most important thing is to feed for a minimum of an hour, maybe even two hours before putting a hookbait in,’ he emphasised. ‘If you can get fish feeding in your swim then sooner or later you’ll pull the barbel. When you put balls of the Pellet Mixes in what happens is you put lots of free food in without a trap and that brings the roach the chub, gudgeon, everything. There’s only so long a barbel is prepared to watch everything else feeding without joining in. Never be in a rush, just keep feeding those balls of pellet.’
Being prepared to feed without fishing sees Des confident that he will often get a take very quickly when the hookbait does go in: ‘In my mind, the work is done before the rig goes out and the swim should be full of feeding fish,’ he emphasised.
Successful tactics both for his own fishing on the Avon and guided days on the Severn have relied on the spicy TG Active – which has been as big a hit with chub and barbel as it has with carp.
‘Without doubt the best commercial boilie I’ve used for barbel is the TG Active, they catch everywhere and are just one of those baits that barbel love. They’ll eat most things but there’s always one bait that has got that little bit of an edge, and that’s the TG. With a quality bait they want to eat you only need the smallest quantity as well.’
Des has also been relying on his own tweaks to presentation to ensure consistent success with the bigger barbel.
‘What I have learned is not to use a feeder, or any paste around the lead or any of those sort of tricks,’ he explained. ‘I deliberately want to avoid encouraging the fish too strongly to be up and around the line and my end tackle because that’s the bit that can really upset them.’
Six foot hooklinks keep the hookbait away from the lead, and TG boilies straight out the bag on Fang X hooks fished as single hookbaits without bags have been doing the business.
‘If I catch a fish I then give it time again,’ Des emphasised. ‘I’ll keep feeding the pellet balls and spend an hour retying the hook, checking the end tackle and just taking some time out before putting the hookbait back in. This sort of patience really pays you back when you’re on rivers with smaller numbers of barbel.’