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Barbel, what time of year?

Guest Jon Shoreman

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Guest Jon Shoreman

Carp are traditionally a summer fish, although can be fished for during the winter.


Pike are traditionally a winter fish, although can be fished for during the summer.


What time of year are barbel traditionally fished for? And how is the fishing in each of the four seasons?

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Guest Gordon Scott

Well, John, you certainly can catch barbel throughout the season, if conditions are favourable, so let's go through the seasons.


OK, we can forget spring, effectively the close season covers that period (at the moment? who knows?) so let's start in the summer.


You can catch barbel throughout the summer months, although the early part of the season is sometimes a bit of a struggle IMO. Whether this is because the barbel is probably the last river fish to spawn or simply because they've become unused to anglers' baits during the lay-off I really don't know. Perhaps a bit of both? I normally find night fishing more profitable at this time, trouble is there's so little of it!


Late summer/early autumn is traditionally the high spot of the barbel fishing year, actually, I don't think I've ever caught a barbel before September on the Thames, not that I've tried terribly often. One of the nicest things about this time of the year is that you can fish a few hours into dark and still get home at a reasonable hour.


Late autumn/winter, barbel are still a very viable prospect given a reasonable water temperature. The widely accepted temperature when barbel switch off is around 42/43F. (don't know what that is in the new money!) I know barbel have been caught at lower temperatures than this, esp. when it's rising, but I'd rather go piking!

Generally you will be much more successful when the temperature's on the rise or holding steady. When it's falling, regardless of what the thermometer says it can be a struggle. If it's on the rise, accompanied by high water, even flooding, that's the time to fill yer boots! (not literally, although it's easily done!)


Going into late winter/early spring all the above criteria apply, the barbel are at their greatest weight, and the best day is normally March 14th! Sod's Law...

I hope that's been a help,

Gordon biggrin.gif

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