Get Fishing Resources - Fishbook

Fishbook: Barbel

‘Fishbook’: Our species-guide series based on “Get Fishing
the brilliant how to fish book by Allan Sefton

We profile the UK’s most common as well as some lesser-known fish species to help newcomer anglers find out more about fish that can be caught in our lakes, canals, rivers, ponds and sea.

Understanding the kinds of fish you might catch will add interest and could even make your fishing easier! Here you’ll find out more about…



Scientific name:
Barbus barbus

Life span:
Around 20 years

Typical size:
3 to 6lb on most fisheries

British record:
21lb 1oz

Found in medium/fast rivers throughout England and Wales. Barbel have also been stocked in some stillwaters

Interesting fact:
A flat underside, and wedge-shaped head indicates their preferred habitat is fast-flowing rivers

About Barbel

Barbel are strong, big-finned fish. Large specimens weigh 15lb or more. A flat underside, and wedge-shaped head indicates their preferred habitat is fast-flowing rivers. Their mouth, heavily underslung and bordered with four sensitive ‘barbules’, is able to burrow into the riverbed. Freshwater shrimps are a favourite food.

They need well-aerated gravel beds to breed. Barbel used to have limited distribution. Today they are abundant in many English rivers such the Trent, Wye and Severn.

Many anglers prefer them above all others. Ledgered high protein baits such as maggots or luncheon meat catch plenty of barbel. The current favourite is halibut pellets fished with a pellet-loaded feeder.

Visit the rest of the How To Fish video gallery here to learn new tricks and discover more about the basics of angling.

Find out more about:

Read more about how you can get into game fishing. Alternatively, find a venue near you where you can #getfishing!

Some of the above content is taken from the new book, Get Fishing – the ‘how to’ guide to Coarse, Sea and Fly Fishing by Allan Sefton published by Merlin Unwin Books. This colourful, lively book is aimed at complete beginners of all ages, those who have been out fishing a couple of times and want to take it further and families of all abilities. It’s also packed with top-tips and info that make it useful for more experienced anglers too. Find out more about, and purchase a copy of the book here.

Header image thanks to David Overland and text reproduced with permission and © Merlin Unwin Books.

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