TOP TIPS FOR AUTUMN BARBEL ACTION
Use a beaked hook in gravelly swims to prevent it being blunted. If you’re fishing a weedy swim, switch to a straight-pointed hook.
There’s no need for fancy, carpstyle bolt rigs. If the swim is snag-free, a groundbait feeder or straight lead on a running rig is ideal. If snags are present, use a safety lead-clip system.
Don’t mess about with modern, hi-tech mainlines. An abrasionresistant mono of 10lb-12lb will cover most situations. In strong floods or on rocky stretches, step this up to 15lb.
If a barbel brushes against your mainline, it will spook. Don’t use a backlead . To avoid line bites just use a long hooklink instead – at least 2ft-3ft, and up to 6ft if needs be.
A pellet and groundbait approach takes some beating. Use a large cage feeder (5oz or 6oz if needed), containing mixed sized pellets, plugged at each end with groundbait.
Barbel will feed at all times of the day and night. Take your time, walk the stretch and bait a few spots, then fish them in rotation. There’s little need to fish ‘unsocial’ hours.
Floatfishing for barbel can be deadly on big rivers like the Trent. Use a beefy float rod, a big stick or Avon float, a reel loaded with 6lb-8lb line and a strong size 12 or 14 forged hook carrying two or three maggots. Loosefeed continually to keep the bites coming.
If the pace of the swim is not too strong, balling in a pellet-laced heavy groundbait is a great way to prime a swim. Don’t overdo it – four to six balls is ample.