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.

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