BARBEL FISHING TIPS | WHERE TO FIND THE

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by Angling Times |

Barbel fishing can be difficult at times but knowing where to find them will certainly help in your expedition to land a monster. We’ve put together some top barbel tips to help you find them on your local river.

It sounds obvious, but barbel are not spread evenly throughout a river, so before casting out it pays to take a little time to not only pick the right stretches, but also the right parts of the river to help narrow the odds in your favour.

Here are some top barbel hotspots to check out next time you are out on the bank.

A) SPEEDY SHALLOWS

Barbel have evolved to live in fast-flowing rivers and are perfectly adapted to fast currents, especially in low, clear water conditions.

Look for streamy, shallow water in the summer and don’t be put off by a depth as little as 50cm. If there’s cover provided by either weed or overhanging trees, so much the better, as that’s where you’ll find the fish.

B) LOOK FOR FASTER WATER

At this time of year it’s all about fishing the faster water. Barbel are designed to swim in fast currents with very little effort as long as it’s well oxygenated, so areas near weirs are worth targeting.

Some anglers make the mistake of fishing deep holes and slack areas in summer. These are easy to locate and fish, but they’re often bereft of barbel.

These same areas can be good on high, flowing rivers in the colder months, so make a note of them for later in the year.

C) TARGET WEEDS AND GRAVEL PATCHES

Fishing between weedbeds is always a good idea, as the fish can sit in there without expending much effort and still get all the oxygen they need, picking off opportunist food items as they flow past them.

Barbel also like looking for food on gravelly areas and you can usually find them feeding on the cleaner gravel patches. In fact, some of these patches are clear because the fish regularly feed over them!

D) FIND THE CREASES

Swims with different depths are also very likely to hold barbel, as are “creases” in the river, where the faster flowing water passes water moving at a slower pace.

A crease is where the river looks creased, like a piece of paper – you should cast just into the faster water, so any fish in the slower area can drift over your bait.

DON’T FOLLOW THE CROWDS

A tale from last season illustrates how not following the crowd can pay dividends. I arrived at the River Wye and spoke to four different anglers who were all struggling to catch and had convinced themselves the barbel were simply not feeding.

These men had one thing in common – each of them was set up where the grass had been worn away, a sure sign these swims had been heavily pressured over a long period.

I decided to walk a bit further from the car park than they were fishing and beat down nettles and Himalyan balsam to get to the side of the river in a swim that clearly had not been fished for months.

I could see a nice channel between weed beds and cast a feeder in. Less than five minutes later I was in business.

In three short visits to the swim that evening and the following day I landed 20 barbel – not bad considering ‘they’re not feeding’!

BE PREPARED TO MOVE

Another good habit if you don’t catch within an hour or two is to get up and go somewhere else – don’t stick in one place simply because you’ve put some bait in.

It’s far better to try a different swim – you can always return to try again later in the original spot.

With barbel fishing, effort usually equals reward, and it is worth the effort to move in the hope of finding fish. Generally, barbel are not that difficult to catch – as long as you have them in your swim, of course!

Moving swims is made much easier if you make a point of being organised with your tackle. I try not to take too many items of tackle, preferring to use a large Korum ruckbag that I can load according to the length of my session.

To this, I clip my chair and unhooking mat, leaving my hands free for a pair of rods or quiver, and a bucket of bait. On a shorter session I can even fit my bait bucket inside the ruckbag.

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

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