Top tips for commercial barbel

Jon Whincup prepares you for battle with this increasingly popular commercial species

Top tips for commercial barbel

by Angling Times |

Love them or hate them, there’s no arguing about the growing popularity of barbel in commercial fisheries.

This is a species that reaches quite a surprising size, and their introduction gives anglers not blessed with rivers near their home a chance to tick them off their list of fish caught. Here's how to tempt them...

Exploit islands

Barbel love the cover that an island offers. Provided there’s a minimum of 3ft of water, I’ll definitely fish here, but if the water is shallower than that I’ll not bother, because it’s unlikely that any number of fish will be feeding here.

Exploit islands
Exploit islands

Use a strong float

Barbel love snags, and floats can take a lot of stick. Go for one with a strong side eye, thick bristle and robust body. A DT Floats RB Margin is my pick – a 0.5g size in a 4ft deep margin, dropping by 0.1g for each foot less of water.

Use a strong float
Use a strong float

Hook and line choice

Line and hooks will take a lot of punishment. I use 0.20mm mainline to a hooklength of 0.18mm (both Browning Power Hybrid Mono) to a size 14 Kamasan B911 X-Strong hook. Even when you think the battle is won, barbel can surprise you at the last minute.

Hook and line choice
Hook and line choice

Balanced elastic

Elastic strength is all to do with the size of the fish and the state of the swim. For big barbel in snags, I’ll use red grade Microbore hollow, but for smaller fish my standard carp elastic green grade is fine. Don’t tighten the elastic or you’ll lose fish.

Balanced elastic
Balanced elastic

Go for maggots

Natural live baits seem to work best. I’ll take 4-5 pints of maggots, as barbel can eat a lot! But feed too much and you run the risk of carp and F1s invading the peg. Little fish a problem? Worms are a great alternative for the hook.

Go for maggots
Go for maggots

Come short late on

Late in the day you can catch well on just a top kit, often right next to your keepnets. I’ll have a rig ready for this short line and will feed it with maggots throughout the day. Ideally, if there’s 4ft of water here, we’re in business.

Come short late on
Come short late on
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