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? 😉

14 thoughts on “A Trent Insider’s Guide

  1. Thanks for sharing that Bob, what a great and interesting read. Time to get my boots on and start exploring me thinks. Just moved near to the Shelford area and this guide will prove invaluable .
    Thanks again and tight lines..

    • Collingham is much like everywhere else. Aim to fish the boat channel, feed accurately, carefully and consistently according to activity in the swim. Be ready for the tide changes. Avoid the pressured areas. Fish to the conditions. Scale down when neccessary. Don’t be a sheep and just do what everyone else does. Read the river, not the internet.

      • Love that comment Bob – “read the river not the Internet ” . Just had a few day sessions on the tidal and seen lots of the”Sheep” that you mention sat behind a boilie for 3 days catching very little. We somehow managed to catch fish during daylight hours , which according to them was impossible apparently!, then drove home to a nice warm bed every night leaving them to it

  2. Hi Bob
    I`ve never fished the trent,so my question to you is were would you send someone to catch bream/roach on a feeder i`ve been looking at burton joyce but it`s look for needle in haystack

    • Bream location is very much down to local knowledge and conditions. They can be a pain in the bum sometimes when you don’t want to catch them, pretty damn frustrating when you do. There are numerous hot pegs scattered up and down the river and I would suggest you chat with the local bailiff when he comes round to check your ticket. As for Burton Joyce the pegs right at the bottom of the road and into the coral have a history of producing bream when there’s colour in the river. Indeed they turned up on day one of the Riverfest final. Search the web for Tom Pickerings video on the same pegs catching some big slabs to order.

  3. I remember Shelford Shallows – way back in the 1980s the secretary of the North Durham winter league thought a match on the Trent would be a good idea and make for a much fairer match than our usual haunts of the Swale, Ure and Ouse. Had he picked one of the better stretches I might have agreed but Shelford Shallows in late November, draped in freezing fog all day and listening to the guys opposite bagging up was no fun. A dozen gudgeon for 9oz saw me get third in the 12 peg section but it was a long way to go for very little fish – top weight was about 5lb.
    Following year the same secretary booked us onto the Stainy – and the guide you’d published in Coarse Angler became our bible

    • Just because you blank doesn’t mean they are not there. Predators don’t feed all day long like roach, nor even every day. They switch on and off as the mood takes them. Best bet is pick out 6 swims you fancy and travel light. Rotate, no more than 90 minutes in each. You have to factor in tactics. If they are chasing live baits they will probably ignore a dead. And vice versa. Throw in lures, different patterns, colours. Stick baits, plugs, spinners, rubber shade, the list goes on. You have to work at it, not look for a quick fix.

  4. Eyup Bob, hope you are doing ok. Really enjoyed looking through your notes. After a few years in certain areas I am always on the look out for a new challenge and bank walking isn’t too practical or efficient when you live 80 miles away! Your advice on bream for Barry is still current. Nelsons Field can still produce big catches with the top of the field a noted area. I have had several nines and a 10.3 on barbel gear and also witnessed an 11+. Cracking fish on the right tackle if you are not a member of the blinkered barbel brigade.
    A few new areas have caught my eye because of your descriptions of the flow and depth and also because they are in areas that I know to be quiet. Why do Trent anglers need bite alarms turned up to ‘Spinal Tap’ 11 and isotopes that give you a headache from 100 yards away?
    ATB Mick

    • And why do they need to fish 20 yards apart? Like ducks all in a row. Are they scared of the dark? Indeed, why do they need to spend so much time fishing in the dark? Guess they’ve not figured out that if you find the quiet areas you can catch in daylight. Much more fun!

Leave a Reply to Steve Allen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *