Catching barbel in mountain rivers: bait on a hair rig and what to catch barbel

All useful information about fishing for barbel

The barbel is a fish of the carp family. The name was given due to the presence of a rather long mustache. Bottom fish, leads a schooling lifestyle. The fish is quite voracious, quickly gaining weight, therefore it is highly respected by amateur fishermen. The barbel can reach a length of more than 1 m and a weight of 15 kg. But usually, the fish caught are about 50 cm and 4 kg in size. In appearance: the lower mouth, the presence of long whiskers designed to search for food, it is not difficult to assume that the fish feeds on benthic invertebrates and plants. In certain periods, the barbel can behave like a predator. In winter, it is inactive, often hibernating. Some ichthyologists note a feature of the barbel – a loss of activity during periods of cloudy water. The fish, quite mobile, in search of food, in habitats, often moves around the reservoir, but does not migrate over long distances. Differs in high survivability in the absence of water. There are several subspecies. About 4-5 live in Russia, for example: Crimean (Barbus tauricus Kessler) and Kuban (Barbus tauricus kubanicus Berg) barbels.

Barbel fishing methods

As already mentioned, the barbel prefers a benthic lifestyle, and therefore fishing is based on the same principle. The main types of gear are bottom and float. Given that fish respond well to baits and various flavors, the use of feeders and bait mixtures is very important. During periods of “autumn zhora” or when searching for trophy specimens, you can use spinning gear. It is possible to catch active fish for fly fishing.

Catching barbel on bottom gear

This fish is best caught at dusk and at night. Despite the fact that the barbel often “gives away” its presence on the reservoir: it likes to behave noisily on the surface of the water – it jumps out or rises to the upper layers, the fish is very cautious and picky. The barbel reacts to a large number of different baits and baits, both of plant and animal origin. The most optimal, modern gear for catching barbel is a feeder or picker. Feeder and picker fishing is very convenient for most, even inexperienced anglers. These tackles allow the fisherman to be quite mobile on the reservoir, and because of the possibility of point feeding, quickly “collect” fish in a given place. Feeder and picker, as separate types of equipment, currently differ only in the length of the rod. The basis is the presence of a bait container-sinker (feeder) and interchangeable tips on the rod. The tops change depending on the fishing conditions and the weight of the feeder used. Various worms, larvae, dough, cereals, boilies, pastes, granules, etc. can serve as a nozzle for fishing. This method of fishing is available to everyone. Tackle is not demanding for additional accessories and specialized equipment. This allows you to fish in almost any water bodies. It is worth paying attention to the choice of feeders in shape and size, as well as bait mixtures. This is due to the conditions of the reservoir (river, pond, etc.) and the food preferences of local fish.

Catching a barbel on spinning

In the second half of summer, the barbel quite often reacts to fry imitations. When choosing gear, you should focus on the size of the baits. The fish reacts to small spinners, wobblers and silicone baits. Appropriate test is worth choosing and tackle. For this, spinning rods with a weight test of up to 7-10 grams are suitable. Specialists in retail chains will recommend a large number of different baits. The choice of line or monoline depends on the desires of the angler, but the line, due to its low stretch, will enhance the manual sensations from contact with biting fish. Reels should match, in weight and size, a light rod. But here it is worth considering that the barbel is a very lively and stubborn fish. When fishing in cramped conditions, the correct possession of light tackle is very important.


A variety of natural lures and baits for catching barbel, comparable only to carp. When traveling to a specific reservoir, in the choice of nozzles, it is necessary to take into account local features. Nevertheless, such fishing can surprise you and you should not neglect the original lures. In the literature, since the time of Isaac Walton, and later by Russian naturalists, catching barbels for cheese, lard, ham and so on is described. However, barbel is also caught with more traditional baits: worms, invertebrate larvae, mollusk meat, and more. Vegetable baits are no less popular: peas, wheat, barley, corn, boiled potatoes, etc. In stores, you can buy specialized nozzles, both various canned ones, and in the form of granules, boilies and pastes.

Places of fishing and habitat

The main place of life of the barbel is considered to be Central and Eastern Europe, East Anglia. In Russia, the natural habitat of the barbel is quite small. This is the western part of the European part of Russia and in the Black Sea region. Fish can be classified as heat-loving species. Due to the construction of hydraulic structures in the Dnieper basin, the distribution area has decreased. Previously, in the upper reaches of this river, the barbel was considered a commercial species. The barbel also lives in the Baltic – Neman and tributaries. Subspecies live in the Terek, Kura, Kuban, Kum and other rivers of the basin. It is considered a river fish that prefers a rocky bottom with a fast current. In the river, it adheres to bottom depressions, but also feeds on smaller areas. It hibernates in pits, deep hollows and even burrows, while leading an inactive lifestyle.


The fish matures at the age of 2-5 years. Females are somewhat later than males. For spawning, it rises to the upper reaches of the rivers on rocky rifts. Spawning stretched, portioned, occurs in May – June. Caviar is not sticky, drifts downstream. It is necessary to be extremely careful with caviar, as in some Central Asian closely related fish species, it is poisonous.

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