Barbel by Jiří Malý
Barbel (Barbus barbus) by Jiří Malý

The Barbel is often among a river angler’s favourite quarys as it is probably the hardest fighting species in our rivers.

Personally, I’ve never caught a Barbel as, back in the day in the UK, they were less common and less widely spread than today and the fishing venues I had access to were not known for their presence.

The rivers I currently fish or have access to are all known to hold a Barbel population however it would appear that they are far from prolific and generally of a much smaller average size than the UK’s well-known Barbel hotspots (the Wye, Severn, etc.)

Barbel on Fly, But “No” to Euro Nymphing!

Other than traditional methods (ledger, feeder, freeline, etc.) I intend to also use my fly-fishing tackle with flies I tie myself. I have a couple of places ear-marked for this but I’ll need to spend some time investigating them more thourouly.

I have no interest in using “Euro-Nymphing” techniques because I don’t see the point – I may as well just use traditional coarse fishing tactics.

Where Are the Czech Barbel?

Barbel or Barbus barbus are present in small numbers in all 5 Plzeň rivers. I spotted one in the Radbuza in the Spring of 2023.

Searching the internet carefully, it is possible to find reports of their sightings and of catches although local anglers are somewhat cryptic with their reports and for good reason.

Disapearing Barbel Fed to Chickens

One angler speaks of a favourite swim containing 7 or 8 fish which he, unfortunately, told another angler about. These fish then disapeared…

Another angler spoke of Barbel, in another swim, being taken home by unscrupulous fishermen “to feed the chickens”.



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