Barbel are one of the most exciting, good looking sport fish a coarse angler
can try to catch as they never give up a fight.
Vital Statistics: Scientific Name: Barbus barbus
Maximum Weight: 17lb
Average Weight: 4-5lb
Maximum Length: 3ft
Life Span: 15 years of more
Barbel are slim and streamlined - a sure sign of a powerful river fish. Their colours are typical of the carp family they belong to,
with green or brown backs, golden bronze flanks and pale bellies, though in clear water they can be much darker brown
- black. The Barbel has four barbs around the mouth, two small ones around the nose and two large ones around the mouth.
Where to find Barbel:
Barbel live in rivers. They prefer the flowing, oxygenated water.
Barbel are almost entirely a bottom feeding fish taking much of their nourishment from weeds and underwater plants. In the early part
of the season they will often chase and eat small fish but as the season advances they return to browsing along weed-beds
and underwater ridges.
Most popular baits for Barbel are wide ranging and include bread baits, worms, maggots, cheese, meat, grain and seed, and sometimes they even take minnows. On some rivers
the Barbel show a marked preference for certain foodstuffs. Avon Barbel show an additction for meat based baits. Cubes of tinned Luncheon Meat being a favourite, although at one time
they were taken on cheese cubes or cheese paste. Having fished the River Severn for Barbel, we found that the larger fish had a preference for luncheon meat, but
we caught on almost any bait we tried. So its worth trying all baits you have with you to see what they fancy.
Barbel respond well to groundbait. It has been found that the best groundbaits should contain a large amount of the chosen hook bait.
Authors preferred baits:
Luncheon meat, cheese and sweetcorn have produced decent size barbel.
How to Catch Barbel - Techniques at a glance:
Ledgering and swimfeeder. Trotting can also work well on gravelly bottoms.