A Trent Insider’s Guide

The Trent is an ever changing river. Today it is a popular destination for barbel anglers, riding the boom. But what happens when it casts aside the current disguise? In my youth the water quality was atrocious, yet roach and gudgeon flourished.

Between then and now there have been explosions of carp, bronze bream, silver bream and chub. Go look for them and you’ll find monster zander and perch, but for now it’s probably all about barbel.

So what, you might ask, has a tactical dossier compiled a quarter Century or more ago, purely for the purposes of team knowledge for a National Championships match, got to do with the modern Trent?

Well, what hasn’t changed much in the past Century is the river itself, the depths, the bends and the flow. Once known as ‘The Trespasser’ for its tendency to change course, making the river navigable through the construction of locks and weirs and stoning the banks to prevent erosion has defined its path. It is now longer a trespasser, it is a prisoner, a captive. The target species may differ but the topography remains pretty much unchanged.

Now I’ve owned a copy of this hand-written document for a long time, always kept secret, for it has long been a source of knowledge and inspiration. I’m sure it has found its way into the hands of many a team captain down the years but unfortunately no-one seems to know who compiled it, nor was it ever published. Is the author still alive, even? I’d love to know. It’s a masterful work.

Anyway, Stephen McCaveny recently sent me a digitised copy and after mulling it over I decided this was simply too good an opportunity not to share it in the public domain. I mean, were the river still a popular match venue and the fish population, or indeed the way we catch them unchanged, then there would be grounds for reasonable objection. But it no longer relates to the modern match scene.

If it did, I could tell you, but then I’d probably have to kill you! 😉

What is obvious though is that smart anglers might very well use the guide to identify good swims today, providing they read between the lines. The hotspots don’t change much over time unless a particular feature is removed or the river is dredged.

Of course, we may yet see the river take a completely different direction as big roach continue to trip up on barbel tackle, fish to more than 3lbs have been landed. Will it ever become the place to visit for specimen roach anglers? If so, then the guide might prove quite useful.

Admittedly it’s sketchy in places. The scope of the dossier is from Stoke Bardolph to Holme Marsh. Quite a distance but some areas are not included because they weren’t used in National Championships. It is what it is.

I’ve chosen not to add my own two-pennyworth. At least not for now. There were always a few mysteries, even in the halcyon days but you may have the knowledge to fill in a few gaps. Any additional input would be welcome. Leave a comment below if you like and I’ll get back to you.

So, step into the time machine, fasten your seatbelt and get ready to head back in time.

Looking Downstream From Stoke Bardolph Weir

A Trent Insider’s Guide To The Old Match Stretches

So there you have it. More depth and detail about the Trent than has ever been shared before on any platform. Now hush! Keep it secret, okay? 😉