Barbel Fishing

Barbels, a freshwater fish a bit like carp are often found in rivers with gravel and/or rocks on the bottom. Barbel fishing is a hugely popular type of angling in the UK. This is largely thanks to the barbels notorious fighting ability, which makes the species a challenging target for anglers. A feisty fish requires some tough tackle !

Barbel fishing rods

First things first: barbel fishing requires a strong rod and reel. A baitrunner or free spool reel is ideal, so theres plenty of scope for movement. Because the last thing an angler wants to do is lose their rod to a barbel that takes them completely by surprise!

A barbel fishing rod should feel comfortable to the angler; not to light or too heavy and not too long or too short. The rod should enable powerful action, without losing the sensitivity required for playing fish. It should also be fitted with good quality components. Barbel fishing rods tend to be long with a wooden grip and a sleek carbon fibre pole .

Barbel fishing hooks

Barbels have huge mouths, so its important to select a correspondingly large hook. A hook thats too small is likely to be swallowed and harm the fish. Because theyre fighters, barbels need the hook to be strong and razor sharp too.

Lots of barbel anglers use barbless hooks because theyre easy to remove and will fall out if the line breaks and the fish gets away.

Barbel fishing baits

Whether a small or large river, barbel baits are used for maximum barbel appeal. Traditional barbel bait including maggots and bread has lost some popularity over recent years in favour of newer bait such as halibut pellets. A technique that has crossed over from carp fishing, using halibut pellets for barbel fishing is particularly popular with beginners or carp anglers trying something new.