How to catch big barbel on spicy fishing baits

If you want to catch a really big barbel, now’s the ideal time. The fish will be fighting-fit and at their maximum weight. However picking a hookbait that will be able to attract such elusive specimens can be difficult. So check out this great and unique bait to help you catch big barbel right now! Follow Paul Garners steps below for the best results.


I’m fishing at the most productive times of the day, when I expect the barbel to be feeding hardest, so I will stick to big baits – perhaps meat or boilies, but more commonly big lumps of paste moulded around a smaller boilie so I always have a bait on the hair.

I like a hard boilie as the core of my bait, not because I’m going to be leaving the rig in place for hours on end, but because pesky chub can easily remove a soft bait without you knowing it.

Underwater filming has shown just how often chub will attack a hookbait with hardly a tap on the rod top, especially when using the longer hooklengths common in barbel fishing. 

My normal presentation is to use a 12mm boilie as the core of my hookbait and then wrap a lump of paste around this. 

The finished hookbait ends up being about 20mm across, quite a substantial bait, but one that a barbel can eat with ease. 

You can get an idea of how long the paste wrap will last by dropping a wrapped boilie into a glass of water. Remember, though, that small fish will often peck away at the paste and can demolish it much faster.

You can buy tubs of ready-mixed paste, often with the same attractors as in a finished boilie. These are a handy, albeit expensive, way of starting out with paste fishing. 

However, I tend to make my own pastes, using boilie base mix with added spicy additives to boost their effectiveness. Not only is this a cheaper alternative to shop-bought boilies, but it means that I can play around with the additives. 


Ready-made Tikka paste is ideal for flavouring winter barbel baits.jpg

The combination of curry and garlic is a proven barbel-catcher that will catch even when the water temperature is really low. 

I use a ready-mixed Tikka paste, which combines all the ingredients that I want and is much easier to use than separate spices. Don’t be afraid to pump up the flavour at this time of the year. I will use a teaspoonful of Tikka paste to each egg used.

Also included is a teaspoonful of pungent anchovy paste to give the bait a fishy kick. Alternatively, why not add some flaked tuna to the paste to boost its fishy smell?


Try moulding a few pieces of paste around some PVA tape to feed the swim.jpg

Fishing each swim for a short period of time not only puts you in with a much better chance of locating a group of barbel, but is also a pleasant way to keep warm on an early spring day. 

This is certainly active fishing, and I will drop half-a-dozen lumps of paste into a couple of spots that I intend to fish later in the day as a prebait for later on. 

Be careful where you put the feed, though, as it can easily be washed away. I like to find swims with a pronounced crease and put the bait just on the slack water side of the swim. 

There is no need to use more than just the hookbait when fishing in this way – in fact it might be counter-productive to introduce more bait when you are fishing. Rely on the pungent smell of this paste and you won’t go far wrong, in my opinion!