Sunday, 16 September 2018

Feeder Fishing for Barbel

Over the last few years it struck me that barbel fishing here in the UK has become extremely popular. I’ve already written a few barbel articles for this blog and they’ve been accompanied by a few barbel videos on my YouTube Channel. The barbel videos I’ve produced so far have become some of the most popular videos on my channel which is quite remarkable given that I’m a carp angler for the majority of my fishing. I’ve included two of my barbel videos at the bottom of this article, I’d highly recommend you watch them along with ‘Feeder Fishing for Barbel’ and 'Preparing Hemp for Fishing' which are both included within this article, my channel is worth a subscription too, if you would be so kind.

A typical River Severn Barbel caught on my feeder fishing tactics below

Swimfeeder Groundbaits, Rigs and Hookbaits
I’m a big fan of hemp and pellets for barbel. To compliment the pellets I like to use Dynamite Marine Halibut Groundbait, this particular groundbait is amazing and it really provokes a strong response from all species of fish, it’s also a perfect groundbait to use with Halibut Pellets, or any other pellets for that matter. The hemp is in there because it’s one of the most incredibly attractive baits in fishing and barbel absolutely love hempseed, it gets into every nook and cranny on the bottom and the barbel are perfectly adapted to digging out every last grain, hemp will keep barbel in your swim and keep them rooting around. Below is a video on how I prepare my hemp with a Thermos Flask, it’s mess free and very easy to do up to 3 pints of hemp in one go so it’s just perfect for a day’s barbel fishing and you should definitely check it out. Alternatively, you can get either tins or jars of hemp ready prepared Here.

Quick and easy way to prepare hemp for barbel fishing, CLICK BELOW TO WATCH

My barbel rig is a simple running swimfeeder, I’ll come to the feeders I use for barbel next, regarding the barbel rig itself, I use 3-4ft of Drennan Supplex Fluorocarbon in 8 or 10lb breaking strain. At the hook end I have a Drennan Super Specialist Hook in size 10, these hooks have been around for many years and I’ve been using them myself since the 1980’s they are incredibly strong and totally reliable, they are also quite cheap compared to a lot of fishing hooks these days!. My hooklengths are 3-4ft to keep the hookbait away from the feeder, where the feeder sits on the bottom is where the line starts to rise up to your rod tip and this is a ‘spook point’ for barbel, specially if the area you are fishing is heavily fished. The fluorocarbon hooklength is used for it’s invisibility to fish in water, my barbel fishing is always done in high summer when the rivers are generally low and clear so the long / fluoro hooklength is the perfect combination to help trick those wary barbel.

Different Feeders for Barbel Fishing
There are two basic types of feeder for barbel fishing, the open end or ‘cage feeder’ and the block end or ‘slow release feeder’. These two types of swimfeeder are quite straight forward, the open cage feeder allows your groundbait, hemp and pellets to empty out of the feeder quickly in the current and the one I use is a Guru Gripper Feeder. This type of feeder is ideal for building a baited spot and repeated casting with a loaded cage feeder will quickly establish a bed of feed and create a scent trail for the barbel to home in on. The slow release feeder holds your groundbait, hemp and pellets for much longer so there will still be a scent trail coming from the feeder even if your bait is whittled away by smaller fish like roach, dace minnows or baby chublets and the slow release feeder I use is a Korum River Feeder. Both of these feeders can be very effective on the right day.

Feeder Fishing for Barbel on the River Severn, CLICK BELOW TO WATCH

Feeder Fishing Tactics for Barbel
My feeder fishing tactics for barbel were actually developed by carp anglers on the banks of the famous Redesmere Lake in the North West. Back in the day the carp anglers had to develop tactics to get bites from these heavily pressured carp. One such tactic was to fish a bed of bait at a comfortable range with one rod on the bait and one rod just off the spot fished as a single hookbait. Those shy biting Redesmere carp grew wary of the baited spot but they would often slip up on the single bait which just looked like a random freebie that had gone astray. I’ve used these tactics on hard fished waters for many years and I used them for my River Weaver Carping, the single or small patch of bait off a big baited area produced 80% of my biggest River Weaver carp, proof indeed that the single bait slightly away from the baited spot really works.

Feeder Fishing Tactics for Catching River Severn Barbel

I had no hesitation in applying this tactic to my feeder fishing for barbel. I lay down a bed of feed and fish an open end cage feeder on the bait. This is my main line of attack on the river and the bait I expect to produce the most fish. In conjunction with this rod I use a second rod with a slow realease feeder as a kind of single hookbait that I fish off the main bed of feed. This rod with the slow release feeder is there to catch wary fish that have backed off the main bed of feed or those fish that deliberately hold back, those wary fish can quite often be the biggest in the shoal but not always. Check out the diagram of my typical feeder fishing tactics for barbel (above), the black oval shape is the main feed and the red dots are the spots I would fish the slow release or single feeder. As a general guide, I start off with the slow release feeder parallel to the main feed in position 2 or 3 on the diagram, this allows the barbel to move upstream onto the feed and up to the hookbait without encountering any lines, just the bait and the hookbait. If bites don’t come and the fishing is slow I’ll often move the slow release feeder to position 1 and fish what I call the tail end of the baited spot, you can fish 10-20yds further downsteam, just make sure the feeders are aligned in the flow so the scent from the main baited spot flows down to the slow release feeder. This can often save you a blank, it can pick up fish that haven’t yet reached your feed or fish that are holding back in the flow and just picking off bits of bait that have flowed downsteam. It’s a great spot for a late blank saving bite and given that river severn barbel can be very nocturnal I often find myself having to use this tactic as we get towards dusk. For your information, the 'hot' time for barbel on the middle severn is usually around 10pm-1am in summer.

A nice 7lb River Severn Barbel caught over bait on the open end cage feeder

So there you have it, these are the tactics I use for Feeder Fishing for Barbel on the River Severn, gone are the old baits like sweetcorn and meat, today it’s hempseed, pellets and a fishy groundbait, the barbel love this combination and the proven big fish tactics allow you to get the most out of your swim. Remember you can use the slow realease feeder for trying other parts of your swim to help you build up your knowledge of spots the barbel prefer but I like to use my second rod as a really subtle trap instead.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at my feeder fishing for barbel, check out the previous barbel videos I’ve made below and please subscribe to my Youtube Channel by Clicking Here, thankyou.

Until next time, take care of yourself and tight lines.


Please check out my other Barbel Fishing videos, these two below show the basics of catching barbel and this article and video is very much the next level.
Barbel Fishing on the River Severn, click below to watch.

Barbel Fishing for Beginners, click below to watch.

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