4. Sardines are undoubtedly my favourite pike bait on rivers. Fish them under a sliding float set a couple of feet over depth with a drilled bullet to keep the bait in place. Target slower, deeper swims and recast every 15 minutes to search all areas of a swim and don’t be afraid to fish a bait really close in as pike often lie up right under the bank.
5. Barbel love flood water but there is one proviso, namely that the water is relatively warm. Obviously, the key word is relatively and what you want are rising water temperatures. A nice mild westerly wind bringing lots of rain is ideal, whereas snow melt or rain falling in close to freezing temperatures is the kiss of death. Forget big beds of bait in floods, they’ll simply be washed downstream, probably before you wind your bait-dropper in. Instead go for smelly baits and if the flow isn’t too high a feeder packed very firm with groundbait and scolded pellets so that it remains in the feeder for a long time creating a nice trail of scent to lead barbel to your hookbait.