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Thread: How big

  1. #1
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA-Life Member) Guest


    With all this talk about big barbel, I have often wondered how big the common barbel can get. We must of course discount the various other varieties of Barbus such as the Mahseer or some of the African species and concentrate on our own European fish.

    As far as I have been able to discover, the biggest barbel are found in the rivers of the Ukraine where they can reach 15 kg (33lbs). But local people have no interest in them as they claim the flesh and the roe is poisonous.

    The Vistula River in Poland also has a reputation for big barbel. But here again, the locals hardly fish for them.

    What else do we know about the barbel of Europe?

  2. #2
    Tony Rocca Guest


    Lots of different sorts isnt there Ron.

    Those Andalucians and Cozimos in Spain are supposed to go 30lb.

  3. #3
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA-Life Member) Guest


    Barbus barbus barbus (that's our barbel) is widespread over a lot of Europe.

    I have caught about 8 different types of African Barbus in my life. All of them fascinating, hard fighting and impressive.

    Why is it by the way that many anglers shy away from using the scientific names for our fish?

  4. #4
    Fred Bonney Guest


    One Barbus too many, Ron?
    Probably because they can't get the scientific names right ;o)

  5. #5
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA-Life Member) Guest


    That is what the latest scientific name states Fred.

  6. #6
    Fred Bonney Guest


    Not in any of my references, it don't!

  7. #7
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA-Life Member) Guest



    Seriously I find great difficulty in locating top quality ichthyologists these days. It seems that the Universities do not have them.

    In SA for example on species of Barbus has had its scientific name changed 3 times over the past 20 years. But to get the facts on why, is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    In the 60s, I was a member of the British Ichthyological Society. I had a few friends who were tops at species identification, habitat and many other things appertaining to fish.

    I guess they are all dead today.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    Who knows Ron. 20 years ago you would have been laugthed at if you said you would be catching double figure fish out of most of the rivers ins the country.

    Water quality, food source's, climate change and loss of other species all have a influence on the growth rates of all fish. In some ways this is good and yet we are loosing in others. Only time will tell were it will stop as nature always as a way of leveling things out and keeping a balance as long as we let her that is.

  9. #9
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA-Life Member) Guest


    It's the warmer winters that are the reason for the bigger barbel if you ask me. Coupled with the fact that cormorants wreak havoc amongst the smaller species such as roach and dace.

    Rivers, and any other freshwater in fact can only support a certain biomass. Cut out the smaller species due to cormorant predation and fish like barbel, have more to eat.

  10. #10


    Sorry to go briefly off thread Ron, but the comorants in Worcester roost near to the best roach swims and I caught a near-twenty pike in the vincinity, with a massive stab wound to its head...could that have been a comorant too?

    Back to the main point,

    the warmer winters must have had an effect on growth rate. Might the increase in flooding have helped as well? When the river is dropping and all that food is settling, the barbel seem to go into gorge (rather than just feed) mode.

    I have had some of my best catches on the Severn when the river has only just returned within the upper limit of its banks from the floodplain.
    'I'm a kind of paranoid in reverse: I suspect people of plotting to make me happy...' (J.D. Salinger, 1919-2010)

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