Barbel Baits and Boilies – Any Questions Part 3
For the third instalment of our Nash Peg One ‘Any Questions’ feature we welcome Steve Pope and Gary Bayes on bait!
Q. If you were restricted to just one barbel bait to use in summer and autumn on the small to medium sized southern rivers what would it be?
As much as I like using pellets, boilies and meat on rivers like the Severn and Wye, when it comes to the crunch on rivers like the Kennet – a relatively small southern river - there really is only one bait I would use, well perhaps two if I’m permitted to cheat just a little!
Maggots are tops, or to be precise casters, and there you have it, the ultimate buy one get one free bait!
Why? Well as long as you have good knowledge of the fish populations on your stretch and also where the barbel are likely to be casters will catch those fish whether it’s a shoal of medium sized barbel or just one or two nice double figure specimens. You may have to wait a while during the day but as long as you get your baiting techniques right you can fish away in total confidence that at some point the barbel will respond.
At this time of year I go into my local tackle shop: Newtown Angling or Alan’s of Worcester and let them know I’ll be requiring casters through the summer and autumn months, I get through quite a few gallons. Bear in mind that I will be making up to three trips a week and using perhaps a gallon on a fifteen hour day reducing down to six pints from September onwards.
I have never been a smoker and I don’t drink that much so the cost is all relative, I can usually buy casters for around £2.70 per pint. When I’m on the river for three days I keep the casters cold in a portable boat fridge or a cool box loaded with ice packs.
The secret - if you can call it that these days - is all in the feed pattern, like many things, the more you fish this style the more you learn how to get it just right. It isn’t that complicated but no two days are the same and it’s important to know how many fish you have in front of you. If you can’t see them then experience comes into play.
One of the key factors is how long you rest your swim having caught a fish; this is particularly relevant having captured the first one, which often comes on your first cast. If you follow my monthly diary here on FishingMagic I will be going into far more detail about caster fishing for barbel throughout the summer months.
So get down to the tackle shop, get your order in and get ready to catch lots of barbel on the best particle bait there is!
Q. What would Baysey say was the ‘best’ carp bait he has ever made for commercial use – and why?
That has to be Scopex Squid.
I put a massive amount of time and effort into producing base mixes at the time (20 odd years ago) that were the best food we could make for carp in a fishing situation. The result of these mixes was good, healthy carp in all of the waters where they were used but the Scopex Squid is the one that really stands out.
I've always made lots of flavour/liquid food blends with the intention of long term use, the Scopex Squid recipe, although simple to look at on paper, (5ml Red Liver Oil, 3ml Scopex No1 and 1ml Intense Sweetener) is actually a very complex mix of flavour compounds. To make it from scratch would take about three days, so it's also very unique to our own flavour lab, no commercial flavour company would manufacture something so time consuming and complex.
I've had hundreds of anglers thank me for Scopex Squid over the years and it has produced PB's galore - including my own. It's track record is incredible and it's still going strong. Its strengths are in the complexity of the base mix, attractors and, without being condescending, the angler attraction.
Commercially it starts in the tackle shop, if the angler likes it he'll buy it, if the carp like it the angler will catch and then go back for more and so on. I like stinky fish flavours but 90% of anglers don't, the Scopex Squid doesn't exactly smell of roses but it's fairly nice, a good compromise - a sheer fluke I might add. At the end of the day I make carp food first and think about angler catching second.
With carp and specialist anglers of the calibre of Paul Garner, Tony Gibson, Alan Storey, Steve Pope, Ted Bryan, Alan Blair, Mark Barrett, Lewis Baldwin and Bernard Anderson – to name but a few - the Nash Peg One team has a wealth of experience covering just about every species that swims and the expertise of the whole team is on tap for everyone at FishingMagic to take advantage of in these Q and A sessions.
If you have any questions that you would like the team at Nash Peg One to answer in the next instalment then please e-mail them through to firstname.lastname@example.org
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