New River Season Q&A Barbel – Justin Beale

Barbel are one of the most popular fish that swim in our UK Rivers. These hard fighting torpedoes are highly sought after and can prove to be tricky customers in difficult conditions – We’ve enlisted the help of one of the best in the business – Justin Beale to give you the advice you need to get the most from your early season sport!

Bait-Tech: Typically at the Start of the River Season we are blighted with low river conditions which can make catching Barbel hard work – Do you have any tips on swim selection when the going gets tough?

Justin Beale: At the start of the season Barbel are usually close to their spawning areas so target shallow pacey runs, below weirs and in general anywhere where there is broken water/oxygenated water. A favourite early season area I always try to find is slow deep water going into fast shallower water, these areas are magnets for Barbel in the summer!

Bait-Tech: For early season Barbel Fishing do you favour a modern Pellet and Boilie approach or would you recommend bringing the natural baits into play too? What baits do you use and in what conditions?

Justin Beale: I tend to stick with pellet hook baits and a pellet and Groundbait feed approach. I use very dry mix of Bait-Tech Big Carp Method Mix Krill and Tuna which is heavily flavoured with our Bait-Tech Krill & Tuna Oil which is a devastating combination for the summer months. I tend to only use Boilies after dark in the summer, or if the river has a nice summer flood I will get on the boilies then the only boilies I use are the Bait-Tech Poloni these tick all the boxes for me in a Barbel bait! Other baits to consider for daytime would be our sweetcorn range which can be devastating on the right day.

Bait-Tech: If you had to choose one set up for your early season barbel fishing what would it be and what components does it include?

Justin Beale: I always keep my rigs as simple as possible, however in summer low water/clear conditions I tend to use longer hook lengths during the day, anything from 4 – 8 feet long in some case. Also on smaller rivers such as the Loddon I will pin everything down with putty and back leads, just to give me an edge over wary fish. Once dusk and dark sets in I go back to normal rigs and shorten hook lengths back down to around 2-3 feet in length.

4 Responses to New River Season Q&A Barbel – Justin Beale

  1. Mike Conway June 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    How would you tackle a weir that’s got a lot of weed but holds some big bream and chub on the first day of the new season. We know it’s also got carp and barbel but barbel don’t come out that often. This weir really doesn’t get fished that often except for me and angling partner.

    • Justin June 13, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      Great question! I would try to locate a clear run/spot and target that area. If it’s difficult to locate such an area then you’ll always find a gap so go for that. Be mindful that you’ll need strong gear for when you do hook a fish! If you hook a good fish and you get weeded, don’t panic… Just keep pressure on the fish. Without pulling too hard, and you’ll find gradually you can ease them out in time… Rocks in weirs however are a different matter, if it’s rocky then keep your rod high and always keep the fish moving and not get its head into any snags. I fish a Thames weir pool that’s weedy and rocky and know the area well so know where to cast etc, but if you’re new to the spot then it might be worth introducing bait into a likely spot and keep watching for signs of fish if you can, if you do this regularly they may even clear a nice spot for you…
      Keep at it it. Keep watching, keep baiting and keep trying and your patience will pay off. Good luck and let us know how you get on!


  2. Matt June 16, 2016 at 4:54 am

    I’m Heading to the Trent at the wknd which after all this rain is going up be at least a meter up on usual conditions for this time of year, any extra tips on summer flood fishing, to help me hopefully haul in a barbel or two?

  3. Justin June 17, 2016 at 9:14 am

    The Trent should fish well with this lovely warm summer flood, and it should be peaking and dropping so you might hit it bang on! I would approach the river with heavy feeders and fish meal Groundbait, use something like our Mojo and Halibut Marine method mix. Give it a good glugged with our krill and tuna oil, use 4mm krill feed pellet and for hookbait I would use Hybrid Barbel hookbait and Poloni Boilies, glugged in the oil. Don’t forget to take some meat too, poloni I meat can be devastating on a flooded river… That should see you catch a few! Good luck and let us know how you get on 🙂

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