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. New bait lands double figure barbel November 20, 2018 Sam Curtis Alfie Naylor and Brian Skoyles have enjoyed some incredible barbel sport of late whilst testing a new bait from Nutrabaits, which is designed specifically for the species. 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. In the late 90’s, the middle Wye around Bredwardine became notorious as the first real barbel hotspot. 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. For those who do use a thermometer I will say not to get too hung up on what it says at the particular time it’s in use. As more fish are taken, the bait is used almost exclusively, which results in the barbel in a particular location becoming completely preoccupied with it. But officially, in records kept by the Barbel Society, the river best stands at 16 lb 11 oz by Kevin Gittins in 2014. You can read more on float fishing for barbel in this article…. Here the river is similar to the Wye, meandering through rolling countryside and with similar geomorphology – pacey gravel channels around islands, running off into deeper steadier water, that fish as well in a flood as any time. ... Saying that when you hook a double figure barbel … A 10lb Barbel was caught here by one of the Junior anglers on the annual Barbel day in 2015. Like all freshwater species, barbel are cold blooded so therefore the lower the water temperature the slower their natural metabolism. In laymans terms this basically means the higher the water temperature the more active the fish will be therefore the more they will need to eat as they expend their energy then as the water temperature drops the reverse to this scenario is the case. 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”. I used to only barbel fish when my little digital friend told me a reading I was confident with however I don’t use this method anymore, what’s more important than the actual reading is the temperature trend. It fought well but not in the same league as the fish of the previous evening. The River Severn (Afon Hafren), at 220 miles (354 km) long, is the longest river in Great Britain. Although the guarded element of fishing the Taff for monsters is exciting, recruitment is crucial for the future. 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. In a flood the feeder is still arguably the most productive method however. 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. 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. 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. The facts are that fish are often a little skinny still after spawning, and if there’s been a particularly cold spring, then bites are really hard to come by. ‘Sturgeon species are noted by a spindle-shaped body with five rows of bony scutes and a long snout with sensory barbels.’ If you’ve got a high temperature reading BUT the temps are dropping then the chance of a bite is minimal. 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. The use of a PVA bag of pellets attached to the lead (leaving your hookbait amongst the free offerings), has been the method to reproduce the steady catches. Come the beginning of January there was a sign of the weather starting to improve for just a few days and with this a possible opportunity for some barbel action. These particle baits shouldn’t be ignored as the other baits start to work however, and hemp is always a recommended loose feed to hold barbel in a swim. 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. It is also popular with anglers for its head of big chub, as well as fighting-fit brown trout. Prices: £75 a season, Pulborough AS. A good double figure fish on a very short winter session Digital Thermometer, an essential piece of the winter barbel anglers armoury 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. But multiple catches can still be made, and occasional double-figure fish feature, too. Website: www.pulboroughas.com As most will remember the winter of 2012/13 was a very cold/wet one. 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. Having spoken to the bailiff the biggest barbel the weir had done was a specimen of 17lb 4oz, which was a few years previous but the number of double figure barbel is very high and he felt that if we could get a few bites between us then there was every chance that me and Mark could achieve our goal of getting a double … The upper reaches of the Severn are renowned for big grayling, and although the river heads out of Wales as barbel come into the equation they are worth fishing for in the border area, being found in the river as far upstream as Welshpool. As a result, these days game and coarse anglers co-exist on the river. Once the water temperatures have stabilised there is every chance of catching one, providing they can be located. Now I must own up to losing a fish or two on this light gear – not due to breakages but due to hook pulls and I put this down to foul hooking fish. The often hushed-up River Taff is renowned for producing surprisingly large barbel. Losing that fish hurt me, having seen it a couple of times and particularly at the net, was even worse than not knowing how big it was. 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. From there, it flows northeast to Corwen, goes eastwards past Llangollen, and continues east through Chester on its way to the sea. If you’ve got a low water temp reading BUT the temps rising then time your session right and a few barbel could be yours. After landing the fish I took a reading of 6.5 degrees Celsius, now if I’d done this upon arrival or in previous seasons there’s every chance I’d have lost confidence and not fished effectively as the low temperature would have put me off. One of the bonuses is all species can be caught on float, chub, dace, roach, bleak, and this can keep the angler entertained even if no barbel. Rather than look at the winter as a whole and cover November right through to mid March I’ll take a look at a typical period of weather that could normally be expected in the depths of winter. 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. It was a long fish but looked a good one… and the scales registered a weight of 12lb 4oz. Rather than labour the point of whens best to go here’s the story of the only 3 barbel I caught during the early part of last year. It rises in the Cambrian Mountains in mid Wales, a few meters form the source of the Wye on the Plynlimon. There is much information on barbel handling, and a good general code of conduct can be found here. Hooks that are set in the lips seldom come out. 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.