Sunday 17 September 2017

Barbel Fishing for Beginners

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If you’ve never fished for barbel before it’s great fun, they are one of the hardest fighting fish we have in our rivers and fishing for them isn’t too difficult. You may be a pleasure angler, a match angler or a carper who’s grown sick of the carp scene and the struggle to get a decent peg?, whatever your angling background, barbel fishing is a branch of our sport that offers the chance to fish for hard fighting fish on quiet banks and it doesn’t require you to go camping for days on end so it suits those anglers who are short on time.

The River Severn at Atcham, A great area to target your first barbel

Like any branch of specialist angling the key to barbel fishing is location. Finding the barbel isn’t too difficult and I tend to look for steady flowing water that’s moving at walking pace, always remember, it’s all about the ‘flow’. Shallow rocky areas of the river where you often see white water are areas I use as ‘markers’. I plot these areas on google maps then target the deeper, slower moving sections of river in between them. Within these slower flowing stretches will be areas the barbel will feel safe. Safe areas could be snags, streamer weed, overhanging trees or anywhere there is an obstacle against the bank that breaks the flow of the river and creates an eddy. When you spot these areas it’s just a case of baiting up above them and creating a smell trail in the water that will flow down and tempt the barbel out of their daytime hiding places.

Barbel Fishing for Beginners, click below to watch the video

The tackle you need for barbel fishing is quite straight forward, one or two barbel rods, for many years I made do with a light pair of carp rods but recently I’ve bought a dedicated pair of barbel rods, the Korum Rods have two tip sections, 1.75lb tc and 2.2lb tc so you can pick and choose which tip to use depending on your venue and the size of the barbel that are present. I’ve had these twin tip+ rods for over a year now and I have to say I’ve been very impressed with them. My reels are a pair of Shimano Baitrunners, mine are the larger 4500 size but the old 3500 or 5010 sized reels are perfect for the barbel angler. My reels are loaded with 12lb bs gold label pro clear line which has a very low diameter that helps with holding a feeder in place in flowing water. NB I've since replaced pro clear with 15lb Big Game Line.

Apart from the rod and reel setup I have the rest of my tackle stored in a Ridge Monkey Bait Bucket, it’s a kind of self contained system that holds everything from my Pellet O's Hookbaits, Halibut Pellets, Dynamite Marine Halibut Groundbait, Bait Box, Guru Gripper Feeder, Drennan Supplex Fluorocarbon, Drennan Super Specialist Hook, Shock Beads, Swivels and Multi Clips which I use to tie my hooklengths. Basically everything I need to tie a rig, put a bait on and bait my swim is all at hand which is ideal for my short sessions, it’s also easy to carry which is handy for getting to your peg if there is a long walk involved.

A River Severn Barbel comes to the Landing Net during an evening session

Barbel fishing for beginners is very straight forward, in the video above I’m on the River Severn and I mention two clubs that are worth a look. The Lymm Angling Club section at Atcham is a perfect place to get your first barbel, there are loads of fish in that section and it’s very underfished these days, so much so that you might need to do a little pruning to actually open up a swim for yourself, quite amazing given that it’s prime Severn barbel water and one of the best stretches on the middle river!. Lymm do a ‘Rivers and Canals’ card only which at the time of writing is £40. Shrewsbury Angling Club are also worth a look, their section at Preston Boats can be fished for just £20 a year, it’s a little harder than Atcham but there are still plenty of barbel there, both tickets are great value for money when you consider a 24hr session on Linear Fisheries is £33 for 24hrs at the moment!.

A typical shoal sized River Severn Barbel, an ideal target for beginners

If you’ve read this far I hope I’ve inspired you to have a go at barbel fishing, please watch the video ‘Barbel Fishing for Beginners’ which is embedded into this article (above), in it I show you the kind of stretches of water to look out for and I go through my barbel gear so you can see it all first hand and you can't beat actually seeing what you've just read here.

Should you take on the challenge of barbel fishing I wish you well, believe me barbel are incredibly hard fighting fish and they never give up, so much so that they always require ‘recovery time’ before being released so please treat these fish with respect. When releasing them, keep them in your landing net for a few minutes with their heads facing into the current, this will allow them to regain the strength they need to cope with the current, it’s good practice and something every barbel beginner should learn from the off.
Tight Lines.


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