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. I fish the Kennet and Cherwell mainly and normally am quite successful, however when fishing the Thames I have never caught a Barbel butknow they are Thames Weirs and Barbel - Barbel … Therefore, it could potentially be a hidden gem for the barbel angler willing to put some work into finding them. 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. 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 … ... Saying that when you hook a double figure barbel … Pete, a highly respected expert on Hampshire Avon barbel, was amazed by his historic capture. A few nice fish in the net soon shelved that idea and I was once again captivated by the species. I'm convinced Avon barbel spook when presented with beds of bait so I like to put a bed upstream to pull fish in but make sure a bait is presented further away to pick up wary fish. 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. I repeated the process in the other 3 swims for nothing so deciding to drop into swim 1 for a last cast I promptly landed another fish of around 7lbs. This has been the first recapture meaning there are group of reasonable fish and a real chance of something much bigger as the season progresses and the fish pile on their winter weight. There’s a lot written and said about the exact water temperatures that are good for winter barbel fishing, I carry a digital thermometer with me everywhere when I’m fishing, taking water temperatures regularly. 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. Then past Bedwas, Trethomas, Machen, Draethen, Llanrumney and Rumney and with its estuary to the east of Cardiff. 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. I found myself fishing exactly the same swim I’d caught from in January and my efforts to get on the bank were richly rewarded with a stunning barbel of 12lbs 12oz. Are the temps rising or falling? The Taff attracts a good number of anglers who focus on the barbel fishing and are known to keep the most productive swims a closely guarded secret. Hooks that are set in the lips seldom come out. The mighty Welsh Dee is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in north Wales. This can be antisocial for many anglers, and the good news is if you are prepared to fish the float, or rove around trundling meat, day time sport can be as good as anytime, especially on rivers like the Wye. Like all freshwater species, barbel are cold blooded so therefore the lower the water temperature the slower their natural metabolism. The river begins in Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri, in Snowdonia. 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. 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. If popularity is allowed to increase in fishing, and if new areas open up on this otherwise difficult to access river, then the future could be very bright for the Taff. 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. The Wye used to be considered one of the best salmon rivers in the UK (outside Scotland), and was particularly famous for its large “spring” salmon that reached weights of over 50 pounds (23 kg), the largest recorded being 59 lb 8 oz (27.0 kg) landed after a long fight by Miss Doreen Davey from the Cowpond Pool at Winforton on 13 March 1923. 3 pouches of maggots per trot is ideal, with a pouch of hemp every half a dozen runs through, and even a pouch of corn every dozen trots just to mix it up. The first 2 days saw me working which for me was fine as this fitted in with me missing the very beginning of a change in conditions whilst the fish acclimatised and hopefully come day 3 they’d be up for a morsel or 2 of food. 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. 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. Even after a warm spring, when they’ve got spawning well out of the way in April, the fishing is simply not at it’s best. A good double figure fish on a very short winter session, Digital Thermometer, an essential piece of the winter barbel anglers armoury. 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. Either way there is excellent fishing to be had on fisheries with exceptional access and in some of the most stunning surroundings in the UK. It flows underneath the M4 Motorway, before turning south east and through Cardiff and out into the Bristol Channel. The tidal stretch at Stopham is deep and fast flowing but holds plenty of double-figure barbel as well as enough smaller specimens to keep you interested. As a result, these days game and coarse anglers co-exist on the river. Only 20 minutes after casting in I was in to a fish which once landed came in at a very healthy 12lbs. Fishing. 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 10lb Barbel was caught here by one of the Junior anglers on the annual Barbel day in 2015. 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. You can read more on float fishing for barbel in this article…. Mark Doherty reported a 17 lb 9 oz giant in 2015. New PB Barbel from the Middle Trent! 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. Experience the fantastic Barbel fishing this Extremadura has to offer, not only the fishing but the scenery. First barbel, first double. 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. Keep your eyes open for part 2 of my winter barbel approach where I will look at different baits and their applications. 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”. 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. 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. As the water temperatures are dropping alongside the air temperatures it’s highly unlikely barbel will feed at all as they lie up whilst their bodies acclimatise to the changing environment around them. It should never be enough to put an angler off, as being by running water is enough for most, that combined with generally decent chub sport early on. A 10lb Barbel was caught here by one of the Junior anglers on the annual Barbel day in 2015. In late 2019 the lack of smaller fish was addressed by the Glamorgan Anglers club, who restocked the river with a large quantity of juvenile barbel, which bodes well for years to come. How the swim is fed and the hookbait fished probably being the variation required to turn the odd fish into steady catching. A large river, the Dee is rightly famous for its game fishing and also for its prolific grayling, but is also contains specimen pike, chub and barbel in the middle and lower reaches, with stretches around Holt being particularly well known as barbel hotspots, with good numbers of fish recorded to 13lb 5oz on the Warrington Anglers Association water. The River Severn (Afon Hafren), at 220 miles (354 km) long, is the longest river in Great Britain. This can really help build a picture of what’s happening in the coming days and help you to plan a session so you’re on the banks at the best times. A double figure fish is a fish of a lifetime for many on the Wye, so it’s the numbers of fish that attracts anglers. 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. Website: www.pulboroughas.com 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.
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