Barbus Barbus

Current British record: 21lb 1oz (2006) Grahame King, Adams Mill Fishery, Bedford


This fantastic species gets its name from its two barbs protruding from under its mouth. Barbel are usually a golden bronze colour and tend to have a pale stomach. The Barbel is a long a slender animal and is build for speed and power. Anyone who has caught a barbel will tell you that they put up a fantastic fight.


A good size barbel will be seen around the 3 to 6 pound mark, Any angler would be over the moon with a specimen sized Barbel at 8lb+. It is thought that there are very few Barbel over the size of 18lb in the UK, but the largest to date recorded on the barbel river records list is a 21lb 1oz monster by Grahame King in 2006.


The average size of an adult Barbel is around 100 cm from top to tail, there are very few that reach over the 130cm mark.


Studies show that the average Barbel will survive for a maximum of 25 years.


Barbel can be found in the majority of rivers and are occationally stocked in fisheries, lakes and ponds. Barbel are known for feeding off the bottom and surviving in areas of fast current with areas of gravel. The males tend to seek out deeper waters leaving the females to swim within shallower areas accompanied by one male only. Barbel will spend the majority of their time near the river bed and will rummage around weeds and plants, seeking out their next meal. Barbel prefer waters that are between 15 - 22 degrees centegrade.


Barbel tend to shoal with others of the same size and quality providing security from predators.


Barbel are known for eating off the bottom. They will rummage through the rocks and vegitation until they find their preferred meal. their natural meal will include small fish, crustaceans, molluscs, insect larvae, shrimps and snails. They are well know for eating maggots, pellets and of course the favourite bait, Lunchoen Meat. Barbel are agressive feeders and will react well to a large bait in the summer months. Barbel will usually feed from dawn to dusk.


Studies show that males are mature around three to four years of age, for the females it may take a little longer with a mature age of five to eight years.


Barbel will spawn in gravel area alowing their eggs to bind onto a hard stable platform. Once stable they will be fertalised by the male and will take 10 to 15 days to hatch, life under water is harsh and it is expected that stray eggs will be eaten by other water dwelling animals. Spawning will be around may and july, so keep your rods dry during those months, remember the law ladies and gentlemen.


All information is from a variety of sources, if you think we have missed something? Email with your update.

See you on the bank.

The Fishing UK Team!

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