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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    Do barbel feed in the same shoal as chub? Or should I try to feed my way through the chub to the barbel?

    I am new to barbel fishing, my local river was stocked with barbel 8 years ago but i have only heard of 5 being caught in the neighbouring canal up to about 8lbs. (baby ones i know!)

    I promised myself that i would catch one here before i attempt the Great Ouse or similar rivers!

    I have fished 4 times this year and have only caught 19 sizeable chub (not that i am moaning!) and 1 bonus bream.

    I am using all the recommended methods that i have read on this website and other sources, magazines etc...

    Are any of the following an option for me?

    1. Larger baits?
    2. More loose feed?
    3. More patience?!

    To be honest any additional help, advice hints and tips would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks.


  2. #2


    i used to fish the windrush where you could see the fish hiding under a tree on the far bank a few yards away, and both the chub and barbel would drift out from their place of safety then grab the bait and dart back to cover. it was basically a case of pot luck which one of the species picked it up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Derbyshire: best beer, best cheese, best puddings.
    Blog Entries


    You could try using a longer hair on your rig to help avoid Mr Chub. You'll still get knocks from them as they mouth the bait but they'll drop it without getting hooked (as often) leaving you able to wait for that screaming clutch Barbel run.
    I believe in reintarnation - I'll come back to life as a hillbilly.

  4. #4
    Sean Meeghan Guest


    Purse I'd go with what Paul says, plus I'd adopt a bait and wait policy. Bait up a swim then wait for at least and hour (go and fish somewhere else for a while). If there are a reasonable number of Barbel in the swim they will tend to push the Chub off the feed once they get their heads down. I'd also try the slower deeper stretches where there are fewer Chub at this time of year.

  5. #5


    I'd agree with the longer hair rig, up to 2 inches and sit on your hands, don't strike until your rod in bent by three feet. Very difficult, you'll still hook a few chub but it does single out the barbel. Another method that you could try if you have observed barbel in a swim before is to cast a small pva bag of pellets into the swim with no pre baiting at all, this small amount of pellets causes the fish to compete for the pellets.

  6. #6
    chris 2 Guest


    Fill the swim in with 8 pints of hemp,few small pellets and some sweetcorn.Leave for a couple of hours then cast a large pellet/boilie with a small pva bag of pellets further down river than your large bed of fead.Chub will feed on/over the hemp while the barbel sit down stream ocasionaly going up stream to feed on the hemp/pellets then dropping down stream.This is the best place to fish to aviod the chub.

  7. #7


    "up to about 8lbs. (baby ones i know!)"

    Still cracking fish in my book!!

    Locate, if only a general area rather than specific swims, then feed and wait and wait and wait...

    Hemp, pellet and as Chris says, barbel often hang back. They often work their way up a baited area turn around and hang back for quite a while before moving up again. There have been times I've been convinced there's a definate queuing order going on with the fish coming through in strict order!!

  8. #8
    Nigel Connor(ACA ,SAA) Guest


    if you take that further Neil you can wait until the biggest fish in the shoal has established itself at the head of the pecking order and positon your bait over the feed when you know it will be the first to return.

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


    The feeding habits of barbel?

    They are the fishy equivalent of vacuuum cleaners. More than anything else they like gravel. Barbel eat anything from the algea and silkweed on weir sills and stones, to a wide range of insect life which live in and under gravel.

    They will suck in pebbles, roll them around in their mouths and then spit them out. They will also eat small fish, nymphs in midwater and hatching flies on the surface. Barbel often turn over on their backs to take floating insects, or to intercept nymphs.

    Using their long snouts, they will dig into, and turn over quite large stones on the river bed.

    They also love snails.

    A number of barbel will work their way along the gravelly bed of a river. When the front fish finds a tasty morsal it will often grab it and dart of to the rear of the shoal. Hence the tremendous rod wrenching bites one often experiences.

    I have spent hours watch barbel feed on rivers like the Swale, Hampshire Avon and Severn.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004


    Ron, have you another observations on barbel that you like to tell us about.

    For example, I've seen Barbel inspect and reject medium/large luncheon meat baits, but take smaller (Pellets, casters) free offerings a few feet away.

    It's made me wonder if small inconspicuous baits are better in clear water.

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