First barbel, first double. Mark Doherty reported a 17 lb 9 oz giant in 2015. Our young barbel were bred from brood stock fish from the river Derwent, which hosts a strain of powerful fish with good growth rates that are able to reach double figures They were supplied by Epperstone Park Hatcheries in Nottinghamshire. Outside of these conditions many chance their arm using maggots in a clear winter river, and often just an hour or so of midwinter sun on the water can trigger fish to feed. This is due to a number of factors – for the rivers in Wales it’s that fishing for them has become more accessible due to clubs and booking schemes opening up previously unfishable waters, those that in the past were reserved only for salmon gentry. A few friends of mine fished this particular stretch the following 2 days with a variety of methods and baits for no fish between them which just goes to show how small the window of opportunity can be in winter. Fish samples. As most will remember the winter of 2012/13 was a very cold/wet one. With a warm flood being infrequent, this is no doubt welcomed by the barbel and they are renowned for taking the opportunity and “switch on”. When it wasn’t icy cold or snowing it was raining heavily filling the nation’s rivers to the brim with freezing cold water, a recipe for a blank where winter barbel are concerned. Now I must own up to losing a fish or two on this light gear – not due to breakages but due to hook pulls and I put this down to foul hooking fish. Considering that our fishing has been restricted to during daylight hours only, we have enjoyed some cracking Barbel fishing. After landing the fish I took a reading of 6.5 degrees Celsius, now if I’d done this upon arrival or in previous seasons there’s every chance I’d have lost confidence and not fished effectively as the low temperature would have put me off. Another bream just under 6lb is the last fish of the session and then it goes quite and the bites stop completely. But multiple catches can still be made, and occasional double-figure fish feature, too. These particle baits shouldn’t be ignored as the other baits start to work however, and hemp is always a recommended loose feed to hold barbel in a swim. It’s a big, difficult to fish river in the lower reaches where the barbel reside, and higher water levels from a spate both encourage the fish to move around, but also concentrates them into areas out of the main flow. Yes this may have been carp, and there are the odd reports today of this still happening, but it may also have been salmon – they are often hooked by coarse anglers as a lump of flake, meat or a feeder, flutters and dances as it sinks through the water column, the enticing action too much for a salmon to resist. Whilst there’s only two barbel rivers that are truly in Wales from source to sea, the Taff and the lesser known Rhymney, there are several others that rise in Wales and run close to the border for their length. It rises in the Cambrian Mountains in mid Wales, a few meters form the source of the Wye on the Plynlimon. Once the water temperatures have lowered however and become constant barbel will feed, although it’s highly likely it’ll be for a very short, defined period each day so being on the banks at the right time is essential and even then there’s no guarantees. Then there’s the Wye, and whilst running through Wales for much of it’s length, the majority of the barbel are found as it runs along the border with England – The Wye is arguably the premier barbel destination in the UK. Are the temps rising or falling? A few nice fish in the net soon shelved that idea and I was once again captivated by the species. This was the only mild spell for another 7 weeks, once again when the weather turned I made the most of the opportunity, changing a few shifts at work around I was back on the bank at what I felt was the optimum time. I was on the bank for a total of 1 ½ hours and home for 8pm. The key word in this scenario is stabilised. Fish are abundant, especially coarse fish such as pike, perch, roach, dace and barbel. One of the bonuses is all species can be caught on float, chub, dace, roach, bleak, and this can keep the angler entertained even if no barbel. Here, the angling history runs deep, and you’re never far from a “Severn angler” who’ll gladly recollect stories of bus loads of anglers of all ages turning up to fish. New bait lands double figure barbel November 20, 2018 Sam Curtis Alfie Naylor and Brian Skoyles have enjoyed some incredible barbel sport of late whilst testing a new bait from Nutrabaits, which is designed specifically for the species. To add to this the barbel is an accommodating fish that can be caught with relative ease, and perhaps with a simpler skill set compared to fishing for other species. The upper reaches of the Severn are renowned for big grayling, and although the river heads out of Wales as barbel come into the equation they are worth fishing for in the border area, being found in the river as far upstream as Welshpool. The river then flows through three different counties before becoming the Severn Estuary. Then past Bedwas, Trethomas, Machen, Draethen, Llanrumney and Rumney and with its estuary to the east of Cardiff. Guest fishing bloggers – get in touch! Every fish after that was a barbel. Barbel reside in particularly beautiful stretches of river often where the water is fast and oxygenated, flowing over weedy, gravel runs – these areas are at their best in summer, a season when people have more time on their hands and the river a safer, and friendlier environment, where even friends and family can join in. When a salmon is hooked though, it more often than not goes airborne at some point – if it doesn’t it’s safe to say it’s either a barbel or a carp. Their origin is not confirmed, but however introduced, it’s clear the population of barbel, albeit with a distinct lack of smaller fish, are doing very well. Contact: 01798 831525. Wensum is derived from 'Wandsum', an Old English word which means winding, which describes this beautiful river perfectly. As more fish are taken, the bait is used almost exclusively, which results in the barbel in a particular location becoming completely preoccupied with it. Eventually it made it in to the net and it was my first ever Thames double at 11lb 4oz. In summer the river can still run cold due to it’s catchment high in the Beacons, and so a warm flood in autumn and winter are the best times. Perhaps with environmental changes heading warmer, then numbers will pick up even more so. In the winter months barbel will lie up torpid for long periods of time, conserving their energy and only feeding should a morsel of food come within a small distance or right past their nose. From its confluence at Cefn-coed-y-cymmer, the river flows south, passing several towns. However as time passed, and always seeking new challenges, my thoughts once again returned to the subject with renewed interest. Scattering pellets across a swim and only fishing a lead has always been a favourite, the fish having to kite across the channel to grub around for baits, this perhaps more natural than following a line of scent upstream to a feeder. There is much information on barbel handling, and a good general code of conduct can be found here. As a result, these days game and coarse anglers co-exist on the river. The River Wye (Afon Gwy) is the fifth-longest river in the UK, stretching some 134 miles from its source on Plynlimon in mid Wales to the Severn estuary at Chepstow. My favourite barbel bugs are tied either on Dohiku jig hooks, which are formed from heavy wire and have a nice incurved point, or on Guru QM1 hooks, which are … This whole stretch is known for large shoals of specimen Barbel running to double figures, Chub abound with Pike, Roach and Perch together with Carp. For many, September is considered the best month of the river season, this due to more sociable fishing hours as the nights draw in and the valley becoming quieter in general, not to mention how stunning the river environment is as autumn takes hold. A good double figure fish on a very short winter session, Digital Thermometer, an essential piece of the winter barbel anglers armoury. Come the beginning of January there was a sign of the weather starting to improve for just a few days and with this a possible opportunity for some barbel action. In the last 10 years barbel fishing popularity has escalated to a point where it is arguably, after carp, the most fished for species in the UK. Once they’ve acclimatised though it can be fill your boots time with some fantastic winter fishing. Here the river is similar to the Wye, meandering through rolling countryside and with similar geomorphology – pacey gravel channels around islands, running off into deeper steadier water, that fish as well in a flood as any time. If you’ve got a low water temp reading BUT the temps rising then time your session right and a few barbel could be yours. The facts are that fish are often a little skinny still after spawning, and if there’s been a particularly cold spring, then bites are really hard to come by. Rather than look at methods and bait choice which I’ll cover next time around I’d like to take a look at weather and river conditions and what to look for in what I’d call ‘perfect’ winter barbel situation. Rather than look at the winter as a whole and cover November right through to mid March I’ll take a look at a typical period of weather that could normally be expected in the depths of winter. October is much the same as long as a cold snap holds off, and a warm day can be as productive as a summer day. How the swim is fed and the hookbait fished probably being the variation required to turn the odd fish into steady catching. In general, the first couple of weeks after June 16th are slow – the fishing can be frustratingly hit and miss, most likely due to expectations running high after 3 months away from the river! Once the water temperatures have stabilised there is every chance of catching one, providing they can be located. Our, Best practice guide for angling club volunteers, GDPR Statement & Information sources notice. Day 3 and I was working until 4pm, rushing around I was on the river and fishing for 6pm, fishing just a single hookbait in the first of 4 swims I’d identified. The golden-line barbel was once endemic to Lake Dianchi in China's Yunnan province, but now the fish is thought to only survive in about 20 spring ponds and one lake tributary. Having spoken to the bailiff the biggest barbel the weir had done was a specimen of 17lb 4oz, which was a few years previous but the number of double figure barbel is very high and he felt that if we could get a few bites between us then there was every chance that me and Mark could achieve our goal of getting a double … There may not be as many stillwater fisheries around the UK as there once were but what we do have…, What tackle do you need for bass fishing?? But officially, in records kept by the Barbel Society, the river best stands at 16 lb 11 oz by Kevin Gittins in 2014. The River Taff (Afon Taf) rises as two rivers in the Brecon Beacons; the Taf Fechan (Little Taff) and the Taf Fawr (Big Taff) before becoming one just north of Merthyr Tydfil. My first Trent “double” and not a bad result for my first cast of the trip! The Wye is especially important for nature conservation, with numerous designations – the lower valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with the entire system designated as both a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Rather than labour the point of whens best to go here’s the story of the only 3 barbel I caught during the early part of last year. Although not native to the Dee, barbel have subsequently been re-stocked by the Environment Agency on a few occasions. At first I thought it was a chub, as it shook its head and thumped about, but it soon realized what was happening and screamed off downstream and convinced me it was no mere chub. Catchable all year round, on a variety of methods, and with dozens of small fish around 1lb caught every year, the Wye will likely be the premier UK barbel destination for years to come. ‘Sturgeon species are noted by a spindle-shaped body with five rows of bony scutes and a long snout with sensory barbels.’ The last 2 weeks of the season in early March is when sport can return to not needing a flood or maggots, as the fish start to feed again before going into spawning time. Through winter up to February again only a warm flood is tantalising enough for many to reach for the barbel rod. New PB Grayling! The often hushed-up River Taff is renowned for producing surprisingly large barbel. There was a time when I thought that deliberately targeting big Barbel, and by that I mean fish into of double figures, with any degree of certainty was an impossible task, and dismissed it as a waste of time. A 12lb barbel taken during a very short feeding spell. With the excellent habitat in the lower river, the Dee may produce even larger fish in future. A Severn tributary, the stunning river Vrynwy rises in mid Wales near Llyn Vrynwy reservoir, and whilst the upper part is home to some great trout and grayling fishing, the middle and lower river has coarse fish species including barbel. This whole stretch is known for large shoals of specimen Barbel running to double figures, Chub abound with Pike, Roach and Perch together with Carp. Hooks that are set in the lips seldom come out. Due to barbel giving everything in the fight, they must be handled with care when unhooking and returning. The river around this area available when much of the river downstream was still only accessible after the salmon season from October 18th. Angling Direct – Sutton-in-Ashfield Store; Kids – Learn to Fish for Free around Nottingham, Derby & Chesterfield! I used to only barbel fish when my little digital friend told me a reading I was confident with however I don’t use this method anymore, what’s more important than the actual reading is the temperature trend. Prices: £75 a season, Pulborough AS. Prologic Quick-Change Bankstick Adapter DIY Hack Video: Make Old & New Versions Fit Each Other! Although I have not caught as many barbel as usual from the Avon this season, that was my fourth double out of that last six barbel I have caught. Therefore, it could potentially be a hidden gem for the barbel angler willing to put some work into finding them. Each year fish well into double figures are banked, and there are numerous record claims, the latest being 18lb 1oz in 2014 which broke the former 17lb 2oz record specimen caught in 2007. The river runs south from its source near Rhymney high in the Welsh valleys through New Tredegar, Bargoed, Ystrad Mynach, Llanbradach to Caerphilly at the southern end of the Rhymney Valley. Although the guarded element of fishing the Taff for monsters is exciting, recruitment is crucial for the future. Lactic acid build up in the fishes muscles during a fight with a hooked barbel can be exasperated with the current high water temps and low DO levels, this can cause acidification of the barbels blood which can cause the complete metabolic breakdown of the barbel, it may swim off strong out of instinct and you may treat it with the utmost care whilst in you try to resuscitate them, but this … were identified during a four years sampling of barbel from the Bulgarian part of the river Danube (for details see ).Due to lower prevalence of the nematodes (between 17 and 24%) compared to 98 – 100% prevalence for P. laevis, 16 double infected barbel were selected. Our guests have had up to 35 fish averaging over 6lb in one day session and many double figure fish banked. It is little known, but the river also has a head of barbel, which are found in the lower reaches from Draethen downstream on Caerphilly angling association water. Who knows what potential could be found here for somebody willing to put the hours in? On the float, maggots are generally an absolute winner. Whilst traditional baits such as luncheon meat and sweetcorn always work at some point the season, pellets have undoubtedly been the most consistent bait all season in recent years. To me Trent barbel seem to be real battlers, and it was a while before this one allowed itself to be drawn over the landing net. It fought well but not in the same league as the fish of the previous evening. Barbel angler numbers drop off significantly in November, but the arrival of a warm flood at this time has often produced some of the biggest fish reported each year. There’s nothing to say barbel can’t be caught during a prolonged cold spell as they can and do by anglers every winter. © Lewis Baldwin 2015 | Site design by studiodm, Lewis Baldwin - There’s the Welsh Dee which holds barbel in its lower reaches from Bangor on Dee, plus the Severn, a famous barbel river and the Vrynwy. A 10lb Barbel was caught here by one of the Junior anglers on the annual Barbel day in 2015. Further down on the Algarve we have the Southern Barbel, a beautiful fish which fights double what you might be used to with English fish of the same size, only last week in middle of winter we had over 50 fish to 11lbs in one day. After my opening day chub catch, I was keen to get a barbel on the bank. ... and which has accounted for 26 double-figure fish from the river for me this season. In the late 90’s, the middle Wye around Bredwardine became notorious as the first real barbel hotspot. I watched the weather like a hawk and come the second week of January everything was looking perfect, the wind was turning round to come from the south west and there were air temperatures into double figures day and night for 3 nights but the potential window for a bite was still very small. Website: www.pulboroughas.com If you’ve got a high temperature reading BUT the temps are dropping then the chance of a bite is minimal. The club also runs a prolific stretch of the Rother the scene of Ian Duffy’s recent 18lb 9oz specimen. The often hushed-up River Taff is renowned for producing surprisingly large barbel. Today barbel can be found from Boughrood all the way through to Tintern. Barbel fishing throughout the winter months can be a very hit and miss affair. 0 Of the twenty-one species of freshwater fish, five are peculiar to the country, but none is of much economic value save the barbel … For those who do use a thermometer I will say not to get too hung up on what it says at the particular time it’s in use. Like all freshwater species, barbel are cold blooded so therefore the lower the water temperature the slower their natural metabolism. Swim feeder with groundbait, and pellet on the hook is first port of call for many – varying the hooklength from a foot up to 4 foot being the most useful variation for many years. The added bonus to this is when the light fades, and an aching arm needs a rest whilst you watch the river wind down at the end of the day, switching over to lead or feeder for the last hour could have you casting amongst the shoal of barbel that are sat over the carpet of bait that’s been raining down all the while.