12 March, 2017 |
From the outset, I had a feeling that CompleX-T was going to be a fantastic barbel bait. In my experience boilies that have a true all-season profile and that continue to be very effective when used for carp throughout the year also prove to be very good for barbel. Since getting hold of the bait back in July my results with the carp had been excellent and with my knowledge of the ingredients and attractors I felt totally confident that barbel (and chub) would find the new bait very much to their liking.
I hadn’t done any serious barbel fishing for a couple of seasons, but with a new ticket for a stretch of river that I’d never fished for barbel before and the possibility of a couple of very big fish to target if they’d managed to avoid being eaten by otters; I was really looking forward to this new challenge.
By early September I was itching to see if I could get a barbel bite or two on the CompleX-T boilies before the cold winter months, so at the first opportunity the barbel gear was loaded in the motor. As this was my first proper visit to the stretch I had a good look around to make note of some of the better areas before deciding on a swim to make a start in. To be honest the entire stretch looked good, with gorgeous looking swims everywhere I looked. I walked the entire stretch twice before grabbing my gear from the car and making my way to a classic looking swim with an inviting looking willow branch overhanging the swim just downstream from the intimate little swim itself.
With two 12mm Complex-T boilies on the hair and a PVA mesh bag containing a few whole 12mm and some crumbed Complex-T boilies nicked onto the hook I made my first cast, then sat back in my chair to relax and take in the tranquility of my surrounds. A couple of minutes later two guys who had been fishing further upstream dropped by for a quick chat on the way back to their car after a biteless session. The guys told me a little about the barbel history of the stretch and helped to set my expectations about how hard the stretch could be, as one of them went on to describe how he was yet to have his first barbel after a couple of season’s effort. While we talked I received the odd little chub type knock on the tip, but nothing to get too excited about. After 10 minutes or so my visitors wished me luck as they went on their way and I settled back in my chair once more to soak up the peaceful atmosphere of the remote surroundings. However, things didn’t stay too calm for long as suddenly the tip slammed round in a violent take as a barbel found my CompleX-T hookbait too much to resist! A typically exciting barbel fight ensued, putting a very respectable bend into my soft actioned rod, but eventually a very nice barbel found itself scooped up into my landing net. After a brief rest in the net the fish was weighed, with the needle spinning round to register 10lb 3oz. Incredibly, with my very first cast on my first barbel session on the river I’d caught myself a double!
I fancied a nice trophy shot of the 10.03, so took it to the next swim upstream and let it rest calmly in the landing net, while I sat with it waiting to see if anyone would wander down the path behind the swims that I could ask to help with a photo. After nearly an hour I’d not seen another soul, the barbel was obviously well recovered and the light was beginning to go, so I took a couple of mat shots, released the fish and crept back to swim to make another cast, again with two 12mm CompleX-T boilies straight out of the bag and a mesh bag of crumbed and whole 12mm’s. Almost straight away I had a few twitches on the rod tip and after about 15 minutes I had another bite! However, this time around the culprit turned out to be a bream of around 4lb or so. With the disturbance of catching the bream and thinking that I’d perhaps got a shoal of bream that had moved into the swim, I decided that a quick move into another swim might be the thing to do before it was time to head back to the car.
Things were initially quiet in the new swim and nearly half an hour had gone by when the tip suddenly whipped round indicating that another barbel couldn’t resist sampling the CompleX-T! This one turned out to be a single of 6lb+ and helped to make a totally memorable first session.
With such a fantastic start with the barbel on the first session on the river using the CompleX-T, it made sense to stick with the bait and to get back down to the stretch as often as possible. Obviously not every visit resulted in a barbel, but my results, when I could find some fish, were very pleasing, especially when a late afternoon/evening session near the end of September produced a three barbel catch, including my best from the stretch so far at 13lb 11oz.
Unfortunately, I suffer some quite serious and at times very painful arthritis related issues that affect several joints and I had an operation on my right shoulder scheduled for late November. Depending on how things went, the operation was likely to prevent me from any form of fishing from a few weeks to possibly a few months, so I tried to visit the river as often as possible before my forced absence. Thankfully the CompleX-T continued to work its magic and by the time I had to make ready for my op I’d landed a total of 19 barbel from the stretch, including four doubles and plenty of nice bonus chub, including two 6’s, both weighing 6lb 2oz.
With such fantastic results, my initial faith in the CompleX-T had been justified many times over and my confidence in the bait really couldn’t be any higher.