Barbel fishing tips | Top barbel tips to get you started

Barbel fishing has really grown in popularity in recent seasons so if you’re just starting out on your barbel fishing adventure then you’ll want to look at these great tips from Drennan Cup winner Dai Gribble who has landed many specimen sized barbel over the years. He’s got you covered and with the help of these great tips you’ll be able to catch a barbel next time you are out on the bank.

1) getting the right FEEDER MIX for barbel

There’s no doubt that pellets are a very effective bait for barbel, and my feeder mix reflects this.

You’re looking to create a potent-smelling mix which can draw fish into your swim, and one that will keep them there for the maximum amount of time.

I use Sonubaits Barbel Pellets mixed with Hemp and Hali Crush groundbait – both of which have been purposely designed for river barbel fishing – and I will mix them in a ratio of around one part pellets to three parts Hemp and Hali Crush.

Small particles are best for keeping fish in your swim for longer and I like to use a range of sizes of pellet from 2mm up to 6mm so the fish don’t get preoccupied with one size of bait.

The pellets will slowly get washed downstream by the current, creating a bed of bait, while the finer particles of the groundbait will be washed further downstream, giving off a trail of attraction which will draw fish up towards the bed of pellets.  

2nd dps MAIN Feeder mix.jpg

2) The perfect barbel Hookbait

For big-river barbel I use pre-drilled 6mm or 8mm Sonubaits Pellet-O’s and attach them with a Korum pellet stop which pulls back slightly into the pellet.

This needs to be taken into account to ensure the hair is the right length – always tie the hair a little shorter than you think you’ll need, because the pellet stop will extend it.

I find the easiest way to get it right is attach a pellet to the hair before tying the knotless knot, as this will ensure the hair is exactly the correct length.

I like to take a selection of hookbait flavours and colours with me to the bank, as this allows me to experiment during the course of a session.

In terms of flavours, I’ve caught particularly well on crab, halibut and krill-flavoured pellets.

A great trick to try is to glug your pellet hookbaits in Pellet Oil. This toughens them up, and that way they’ll last longer on the hair.

2nd dps Hookbaits.jpg

3) The best Tackle for barbel 

I like a 12ft rod, as it helps keep the line out of the flow ands hold the feeder in position.

A freespool reel, set correctly, eliminates the risk of a barbel pulling a rod into the water. 

Most times I prefer a single rod but if bites are hard to come by I’ll fish a second on the same line, a few yards further downstream. I fish it with a straight lead rather than a feeder, as I don’t want spread bait around the swim, preferring to stick with one baited area.

Plenty of bait will be carried past this downstream rod and the hope is that it will pick up fish reluctant to move over the main baited area.

2nd dps Tackle up.jpg

Want more barbel fishing tips?

Hungry for more tips about barbel? Then make sure you check out our barbel species page, which has tips from loads of professional anglers to help you catch more next time you’re on the bank. Click here to see more tips.

Fishing Near Me | Where to catch barbel?

Don’t know where to go fishing for barbel? Then don’t panic as we’ve got you covered with our Fishing Near Me page, we’ve got loads of venue listicles on every species so you’re guaranteed to find somewhere to fish. Click here to see more