I've had enough of just walking the river, now it's time to get the gear out and start doing battle with one of my favourite species, barbel!

This week I will take you through my thoughts on tackle for barbel fishing on rivers like the Severn. If you've never sampled the delights of the Severn Valley do yourself a favour and get there this summer. Forget all the talk about no fish in rivers. Believe me there are still loads of fish to go for in the Severn and, although they don't always give themselves up easily, the challenge can be very rewarding if you do your homework and prepare correctly. Too many anglers come to the Severn unprepared and go away disappointed unfortunately.

So, what tackle do you need for successful barbel fishing? Well, this week I thought I'd take you through my choices for feeder fishing and next week we'll look at floatfishing, a method too often overlooked by would-be barbel anglers.

Looking firstly at rods, there are loads of good feeder rods on the market nowadays. You will need a rod of around twelve or thirteen feet in length with a powerful but not too stiff action. Quite often you may need to be casting loaded feeders with between two and four ounces of lead attached so a soft action rod is no use in that situation. My choice would be the M.A.P. Severn Barbel Feeder, a rod I developed last year.

My reel choice is a Daiwa Emblem 3550. I've used these reels for about four years now and they have never let me down once. Team these reels up with Maxima line in six or eight-pound breaking strains and you will need strong hooks to suit. My advice here would be either the strong Mustad or Drennan patterns. Once you get above four pound breaking strain for the hooklength you will need to use an eyed hook but for a good hook hold
I find it is still best to tie the hook on spade end style with whippings up the shank.

My current favourite feeders for Severn fishing are the Kamasan black cap feeders and these are attached to the line via a link swivel.

My opening day of the season will be tinged with sadness as the season opens on a Saturday and Kidderminster and District A.A. are running a memorial match in memory of a great friend of mine, John Coates who died a few years ago. John was a great barbel angler and I still miss him loads. He lived in Bewdley and now I live there myself I really wish he was still alive to share fishing and social times with me. I'll be going all out to try and win the match in John's memory.

SEVERN VALLEY ANGLING COACHING DAYS

Any anglers wishing to learn more about fishing the River Severn or stillwaters in the Worcestershire area may be interested to know that I have a few dates left for my summer and winter coaching days. These days can be tailored to individual requirements and are designed for one to three people.

For more details send an SAE to:

Severn Valley Angling
PO Box 2660
Bewdley
Worcs.
DY122GL

Alternatively you can e-mail me for details at severnangling@aol.com