Feeding habits of Barbel.

Porse

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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.



3.
 

captain carrott

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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.
 

Paul H

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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.
 
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Sean Meeghan

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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.
 

Richard Walker

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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.
 
C

chris 2

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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.
 

Neil Maidment

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"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!!
 
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Nigel Connor(ACA ,SAA)

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

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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.
 

keora

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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.
 
L

Laurie Harper

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I like Fred Crouch's description - "the barbel is an omnivorous scavenger" - nicley put. That about sums up their "eating habits". Never seen one with a knife and fork...
 
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Danny Hale

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Keith,
Obviusly the fish you are watching know that consuming the smaller baits equals zero visits to the bank, maybe a 6mm pellet super glued to the hair will do the job............

I have witnessed Barbs spooking off my own boilie/paste baits on The Dane after feeding pellets in clear water but they always come back and have it eventually !!(after mooching up to it and aborting about 7 times)( Makes you wonder what really goes on on them deeper runs..........

Cheers

Danny
 
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Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA-Life Member)

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On the Trent in clear water conditions in daylight you will catch plenty of barbel on maggots, casters and small pellets.

At night or when the river is up, large pellets and luncheon meat are better.

I have caught many Trent barbel in the middle of the day in a flooded river on huge lumps of luncheon meat.
 
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percy perch

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hair rigged corn .. feed heavily with corn hemp and pellet wait a couple of hours then put some more corn in and put your hair rigged corn in and dont forget to put your reel in free spool
 

Neil Maidment

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Not done it for while, but I used to watch Barbel for long periods (Hants Avon and various sidestreams).

They are fascinating creatures to watch. As others have said, they are just like vacuum cleaners and can appear to be feeding with such force that you think you can catch them on anything. Sometimes you can! But usually they are more difficult.

I've seen them root about very vigorously, kicking up clouds of gravel and silt with others hanging back at different depths picking off bits mid stream.

Only once have I seen several Barbel seemingly taking something off the surface. They came up towards the surface and sort of rolled over (belly upwards) as they hit the surface. Couldn't work out what they were "taking" and in the end was not convinced they were actually feeding on anything.

One of the most spectacular sites was when loose feeding hemp and caster (not fishing at all, just feeding them!). About a dozen fish were working the swim at different depths in a frenzy, mopping up just about every bit of feed as it came past. Rolling and moving quickly from side to side. Needless to say I never saw such feeding when I had my rods with me!
 
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DAN .

Guest
percy perch prefers a hand granade!
:)
no just joking a bag of lime...
:)
sorry sorry eel nets.....
:)
trained cormarants
once again i can only express my appologies a depth carger!
 
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DAN .

Guest
im sure if we all could be fortunate enough to witness barbel feeding over gravel bars we all could benifit from just watching and learning!
its a definate specticul to witness such an avent but you need to sit still as these fish are so easy to spook !
try feeding an area up in the shallows and sit and watch maybe you will be lucky and one if not two barbel may show .
give it a go you never know!
 
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percy perch

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ten pound six of beautful barbel on hair rigged corn ///the cormarants have bred so they need training busy busy busy
 
D

DAN .

Guest
percy can you reed the hand book ok cos the last thing you want is another bird running your life!
 
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