For as long as I can remember my barbel fishing has been focused around location. Finding where the fish like to be at different times throughout the season and once located keeping my methods minimalistic and simple. The less components that are used to make a rig, the less there is to go wrong. The old saying of “K.I.S.S – Keep it simple stupid” has stood me in good stead for a long time and seen me land more than my fair share of barbel. I’m a big fan of the less is more scenario and I keep my rig components down to a handful of tried and tested components that I have 100% confidence in. A sharp beaked point hook, Target Speciskin or Fluorocarbon hook length (the material is dependent on the type of swim and in some cases river I am fishing, but that is a feature for another day), a swivel and then a semi fixed running rig set up. In past years this has comprised of a tail rubber, which houses the swivel and a large bore run ring which holds the lead. This fits snugly over the swivel giving a fixed anchor point for the lead, which is able to come free in the event of a bite. I have never seen the need to change any of the components in my set up as I have full confidence in my approach and having confidence in what you are doing is sometimes half the battle.

However, that all changed recently with the release of the new Covert Lead Safe System from Gardner Tackle. I had known about the possibility of this little gem for quite some time, but wasn’t fully aware of the exact product specification until recently. It was primarily designed for use on carp waters in situations where it isn’t necessary to drop the lead. Let’s be honest it’s very rare the lead actually needs rejecting anyway. In all honesty barbel anglers, whether they like to admit it or not owe an awful lot to the carp side of our sport when it comes to rig and tackle development. The vast majority of most barbel angler’s armoury is borrowed or directly copied from carp fishing, and why not? These guys are at the forefront of rig development so it would be stupid for there not to be a cross over.

While my tried and tested barbel set up is bullet proof and one I have 100% faith in I’m always open to adjustments or trying something new that may improve what I am doing and how I am fishing. The Covert Lead Safe System hasn’t revolutionized or dramatically changed my fishing but what it has done is neaten things up a hell of a lot and turned made my rig into a lot more user friendly set up. The principle is exactly the same but whereas before I had a tail rubber housing the swivel, I now have a moulded plastic sleeve that the swivel neatly fits inside and clicks into place, which stops the whole lot from becoming free running. Above this is my lead, running on the line, so no need for a large bore run ring anymore and the rig is finished with a tail rubber. The idea being the lead fits over the plastic sleeve and the tail rubber fits neatly on locking the lead in place. Now rather than the lead being lost should I get a bite, which is what would happen with a traditional lead clip the tail rubber dislodges and the lead becomes free running on the main line. Should a fish snap me off (highly unlikely but always a very small possibility when fishing weedy and snaggy rivers) it won’t be left trailing a lead around as the whole set up can easily slide off the main line thus preventing the barbel from becoming tethered. As you can see from the pictures the rig is neat, tidy and streamlined. No bulky lead or feeder arrangement and perfect for use on rivers from a rod length wide to 50 yards wide.