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  1. #1
    Matthew White Guest


    Hello All,

    I am currently planning to catch my first barbel having started fishing rivers through the summer.(Up until now I have mostly fished the ponds and lakes near my home in county durham.)

    I have done some research and found a couple of very good stretches on the swale that hold numbers of barbel.

    I have read books and looked in back issues of angling mags for help but they all offer different advice and I tend to get confused as to what is the best approach.

    I have decided to fish the feeder to start with until I get familiar with the fish and where they are but I plan to expand my methods as I get more confident.

    Could anyone answer a few questions for me?

    1. What rig/baits should i start off with?

    2. How do i bait a swim- catapult or bait dropper(how do I use a bait dropper)

    3. Through autumn and winter when are the best times to fish?

    If anyone could take some time out to get me started on the right foot i would be very gratefull.

  2. #2
    John McLaren Guest


    Matthew, there are, as you have found, lots of different approaches and to some extent baits and methods depend on the river - mainly due to the amount of angling pressure.

    I don't know the Wharfe but I would suggest you start with a simple running feeder approach. Use minimum 8lb line and hook size to match your bait (10 up to 6 usually).

    Use a meaty groundbait mixed with hemp and bits of hook bait.

    Hook baits can be luncheon meat(about 2cm cubes but ring thwe changes on size) or halibut pellet. Lots of others as well but this is just a starter.

    Only use a bait dropper if fishing a swim at your rod tip. Beyond that top up the swim with your feeder, earlier in the year this will take a lot more casts than autumn & winter when you need to avoid overdoing it.

    Barbel often bite very hard so keep your eyes peeled -hold the rod if bites are frequent - or you could lose the lot!

    Providing the water temperature isn't below 38F you are in with a chance of fish and, in most rivers after a flood when the river is falling is the best time.

    If you have good trotting water available you should fish for them on the float with maggots or caster and feed hemp as well - can be fabulous sport. You'll be hooked! Good luck.

  3. #3
    John McLaren Guest


    Sorry Matthew when I typed Wharfe I meant Swale!

  4. #4


    According to a well known TV angler when I asked a similar question a ledgered 10mm halibut pellet on a hair rig, plus 6mm with a few of the 10mm pellets mixed in feed with either a catapult or bait dropper should have a barbel taking off with your rod! Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Geoff Cowen Guest


    If you are fishing the Swale I would use a simple running feeder rig with a minimum 8lb line feeding Hemp and maggots with a large bunch of maggots on the hook.
    I fish 20lb braid main line, 15lb braid hook lengths to a size 10 Raptor hook. If the Barbel are on the feed they are not shy.
    Meat and Halibut pellets are also taking fish at the moment.
    Good Luck.

  6. #6
    Matthew White Guest


    Thanks for the advice fellas.
    Ive been reading alo lately about halibutt pellets, they seem to be taking a lot of chub and barbel.
    Any advice on using these pellets? ie how long a hair etc

  7. #7
    John McLaren Guest


    I band my halibut pellets - they are quite hard and tend to break up if drilled for a hair.

  8. #8


    Hi Matt how is the new job going? I forgot to get ya Email address off ya. drop me an email at and let us know how its going.

  9. #9
    Nick Austin Guest


    I caught my first barbel on a hi-betain pellet fished over a particle mix which also contained some mini pellets, this summer, and at over 10lb it was a great catch, i just used a running lead on 15lb line (safety cliped), then an 8lb hook lenght with a size 8 fox hook, hair rigged with approx 1inch hair.....believe what everybody says....when that barbel takes the bait......have hold of your rod....NEVER leave it !!!!!!!!....good luck

  10. #10


    I have spent a lot of time fishing the Wear, mainly on Bishop Auklands waters upstream of Bishop in pursuit of trout, seatrout and greyling. I also like fishing for barble
    That part of the river contains barble, best I have taken is around 6lbs while worming during flood water conditions.
    I also seen large numbers of them shoaled up in the fast water above Witton railway viaduct during late May, probably spawing.
    Never any really huge fish but lots around the six pound mark.
    I have also seen barble in the Page bank area, ( Ferryhill AC waters ). Was actually wading among a shoal one winters day while flyfishing for greyling.
    It was freezing cold and the fish were very reluctant to move out of my way.
    From experience once you can find these fish, catching them can be very easy, Particularly with a bunch of free lined lob worms, provided the banks are quiet and the suns not bright.
    Late evening and early mornings are best.
    Trouble with the Wear during late summer is the weed and algy that builds up causing a real problem when trying to fish ledger tactics with baits like Halibut pellets.
    I have had sucess with floatfished pellets or meat, groundbaiting with scalded pellets.
    Squeezing the scalded pellets into small balls that rapidly break up when thrown into the swim.

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