The barbel has to be the hardest-fighting species stocked into our commercial stillwaters. They provide great sport, not to mention they looking absolutely stunning. Why wouldn't you want to catch one?
On a recent trip to White Acres, I decided on a day targeting perch. The session went great, catching plenty of stripeys, but in between the perch I caught two stunning barbel.
During the week I entered a couple of the matches but with a bad draw earlier in week and a bad decision on the rover match, I was determined to finish the holiday on a high note.
On the last day I decided to get a few hours’ fishing in to try and catch a few barbel before the long journey home.
One of the best baits throughout the week was Luncheon Meat. I suppose it makes sense at this time of year, when the weather starts to warm up. The fish start looking for a more substantial meal, so meat ticks all the boxes.
I like to spend a little more time when preparing it. The usual way is to put it through a meat cutter, resulting in hundreds of cubes. I prefer to punch it. By using a breadpunch you achieve a pellet-like shape and I find you tend to get more bites with this shape. I think it resembles an old pellet on the lake bed and fish see it as a more natural bait, rather than a big square cube. Well that’s my theory.
I also like to give it a boost of flavour with the Marukyu Amino sprays. Simply put the meat in a plastic sandwich, add a couple of sprays, give it a good shake and your ready to go.
Pollawyn was my home for the morning and fishing the short pole was the method. When pole fishing for barbel, rig and elastic choice have to be up to the task. My elastic was Preston’s 13 Hollo and the rig 0.15mm Powerline and a strong size 16 wide gape hook, perfect for large pellets of meat.
I started the session by feeding my margins with a mix of hard 6mm pellets and 8mm punched meat. It wasn't long before my first bite and after a long, hard fight I was delighted when I landed my first barbel.
The morning resulted in 12 barbel, including a new personal best. It made such a nice change from catching big weights of carp and F1s.
I was glad to finish the holiday on a high note but now need to get to the shop to buy some more Luncheon Meat!