River Clyde barbel

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Ian
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River Clyde barbel

Post by Ian » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:52 pm

I was thinking of trying my luck for a barbel in my local river Clyde.they were stocked into it in the 70s along with Chubb.nobody I have heard of has ever had a Chubb but every year a barbel or two get caught.usually it's the salmon guys who catch them on worms and spinners.a 17lbr got caught two years ago and the bloody idiot chapped it.the bloke had to put his head down for some time as us Scottish coarse anglers were not impressed,a sad end for a big stunning barbel.anyway they are well spread out in the river and are very hard to locate.ive fished the river for years and never saw one.im just wondering since you guys fish for them and therefore have knowledge there seasonal habits,where I would start.for example,what sort of runs do they like to sit in during the summer and what depth would be a good standard?what bait I should introduce and what hook bait for them.baring in mind that they grow big.would boilies be ok even though they won't have ever seen them before?there may only be a few barbel every mile or so stretch.can I bait a swim for them?if I baited a swim and they were 500yds away,would they come up that far to get my feed.i really don't know where to start on this and I would really love to catch a Scottish barbel.any in depth information would be really appreciated.
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Paul F
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by Paul F » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:51 pm

This to me sound very exciting, it sounds like you will not have much competition from other anglers.

You need to do lots of walking during the closed season, polaroid glasses may help too with fish spotting and just seeing the riverbed.

Start with working out where the barbel live, they will live in snags, under overhanging/fallen trees, floating weed rafts, inside bends.
When you suss out where they live, don't fish there!

You now need to entice them to feed in a safe place, on a nice clean gravel bottom 20-50m from where they they live.

I would buy a sack of hempseed, some 6mm trout pellet, sweetcorn & broken pieces of luncheon meat and get feeding some likely areas leading up to the new season.

Forget boilies, they are not needed on a non pressured fishery.
When you fish for them, bait with pellet, sweetcorn & meat

Good luck :Hat:

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Paul D
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by Paul D » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:51 am

Blimey Ian what a exciting prospect! Pafpuf has just about covered it, a lump of meat fished over gravel works for me. Not sure how much boat traffic you get on the Clyde? Early mornings or evenings are probably best and don't go walking away from the rod, a Barbel bite is like no other, the first indication you normally get is a 3 foot twitch!
Love to know a bit more about the Clyde, its a big powerful river so I thought? :Hat:
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Tengisgol
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by Tengisgol » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:57 am

I have fished for barbel that have never been caught before and, in my experience, they can behave very differently to fish that are regularly fished for. For example, my experience on the Lea in the eighties and nineties was that the barbel could be very neurotic and not so easy to tempt during the daytime. They would very much stay tucked into snags and 'only came out at night'. Of course it was different in coloured water. When you had a bite the fish had hooked itself and slammed the rod round in the dark.

However, when we started exploring the Wye, we came across groups of fish that had populated areas that had simply never been fished. It could take a long time to get them to take our fishing baits because they'd just not seen it before. We found sweetcorn very good; visual, tasty and easy to fire out. I recall one group of fish, it took days of baiting (not huge amounts but regular) before they started to pick up. When we did fish for them the bites weren't savage at all. Nice steady little pulls because they just weren't scared. They didn't know what was going to happen when they felt that draw on the line. So we rarely (never?) in those days had the 'three foot twitch'. We always touch legered, pointing the rod down the line and you could feel everything! If you find a group, don't hammer them. Take one or two fish only and then leave it. Hammer a shoal and they will soon flee or become neurotic like everywhere else. If you have the fishing to yourself, taking just the odd fish here or there and you will have glorious fishing for a long time. Plus the opportunity to learn about and observe barbel as they would like to behave naturally.

There was a big debate not much later on between John Bailey and Tony Miles about barbel bites. TM disputed JB saying about these little pulls and tugs, claiming that with barbel you should only get that massive pull round (that's how I recall the 'debate' anyhow). But they were both right in fact. You would get neurotic barbel behaving like that but also, where they were virgin fish, they could behave just like JB was describing.

I have photos here of those days fishing new stretches of river with new populations of barbel. They were fish that showed themselves regularly basking in the upper layers of the water with no fear. Rolling over each other, almost playing on the surface like dolphins. Then with a hatch of flies they would be taking them just subsurface or off the top just like trout. I have a photo of a barbel with its nose out of the water taking a mayfly. I am sorting out my slides at the moment and scanning them in - haven't found these yet but I will!

My advice would be location is everything. Put on some good walking boots, nettle proof trousers and Polaroids. Get out on warm May days and look for clear gravel areas next to weed with a nice push of water through. Take a catapult and some corn, pellets and hemp. Put out pockets of bait as you go along and rewalk the areas you've baited to check to see what may have moved over it during a period of a couple of hours.

When you come to fish, touch leger and don't just wait for a three foot twitch (it may happen, not saying it won't) but a barbel bite is more likely to be a nice strong jab/pull through your fingers (if they are virgin fish). Whether you can see the bottom or not, you need to be very mobile and cover a lot of water.

How exciting!
Where the willows meet the water...

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Penninelad
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by Penninelad » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:17 am

I have fished at least once a year on the Clyde in the Biggar area over a long period of time and caught some lovely brown trout and grayling on the fly but had no idea it contained chub and barbel.A friend who lives in the area has caught some very large pike 20 lbs plus on the Clyde where it widens out into the old quarry between Lamington & Symington.I will be very interested to read your reports.
Mark Davies

Ian
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by Ian » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:22 pm

First of all to all you guys,thanks for the info.I've had more info on here in a week than I could get on the Clyde forum in a year,so thanks for that.
The first thing on my to do list is to go a walk like yous have said,have a good look with the Polaroids and also get some pics to put on this for yous.
im going to write a little bit about the history of fishing on the Clyde,hopefully without it getting boring and it's hard because if you look up the word history in the dictionary right beside it is the word,Clyde.
When I started fishing the river back in 1984 it was the trout and grayling that most folk fished for,there were coarse anglers who went after the perch who I never knew existed.i was a 14yr old and didn't know much about anything to do with life let alone fishing.
There were trout and grayling a plenty.once I started to pic up a bit more experience I could catch 50-60 grayling in a session.
Away back then shuffling for grayling was what people done.now,if you done that,you would get one of two things,either a court date or a hospital appointment,because the salmon guys would go mental.
shuffling was the technical art of standing in the middle of the river shuffling your feet through the gravel kicking up all the beasties and therefore attracting every grayling from within 100yds of where you were standing,all you did then was run your float down the length of the eddy your body had created in front of you by being in the water.grayling came in hundreds and you could actually feel them bumping your legs.
The trout fishing was just as good,with there being literally thousands of them.the minute those big yellow dunns appeared on the water in May/June the river would boil with trout and some of them were of pretty large proportions.this is why,for the most part,people only fished for trout and grayling,to the point that there would be a lot of Englishman would make a 200 mile trip because they had heard the grayling fishing was so prolific.
Now I will have to go back to those coarse anglers who I never even knew existed.
To my knowledge back then the only other living animals on the planet were dogs,cats,trout and grayling.
little did I know there were guys who were planning for the future of my beloved river.guys who could see beyond the grayling fishing.the sort of guys who recognised a river with coarse fishing potential.
There was one in particular who wrote for the angling times,an Englishman who i won't name,but this guy should have been given the freedom of the city.
Well back in the 70s he and a few other blokes from the coarse fishing fraternity thought it be a good idea to get coarse stocks in the river.they went down south and came back up with barbel,Chubb and no doubt other species.there are roach,dace,gudgeon and bream also in the system now and have been since the men done the deed.
I myself first heard of barbel in the river in the early 90s when a guy won the daily record fish of the week prize.he caught a fish that was either a high single or low double,I can't quite remember,but I do remember he got it on a Dexter.
The Chubb were a different story.there was only one caught about 2yrs after they were stocked and the said guy who wrote for the angling times had to confirm it was a Chubb,which it was.
The Chubb just didn't take hold.
That was the last confirmed sighting of one as far as I know.
The roach were getting caught to 2lb and the dace appeared in serious numbers all over the river system.
Looking back,I often wondered what those little fish that could take and release my fly at lightning fast speed were.i did eventually catch a few of the blighters but it was more for testing my reaction time for the trout fishing ha.
Fast forwarding to 2016 and the river paints a very different picture.
I live on the middle reaches and it takes me 10 minutes to drive to the very spot that these fish were introduced.
Where are all the roach.where are all the dace,why do people say there are big perch in these places.
I've fished the river boy and man and I haven't caught a roach,I haven't caught a perch.hang on a minute,I know there's something else that's not quite right but I can't put my finger on it.oh,that's it,where have all the grayling gone.there were hundreds of thousands of them.i thought they would always be there.
Many a summers evening I amble along the banks of a river that once had rising trout as far as the eye could see and I hear a splash towards the far banking.i wait in anticipation hoping to see the the roll of a big brownie,I pray I'm back in the past but it's not to be as the ugly sight of a very ugly,very big cormorant appears in its place.
Yes,the cormorants have arrived.
All these fish are all but a brief moment in history on the stretch where I live,the cormorants and every other factor have put paid to that,but there is a pin prick of light that just cannot be put out and that's the glistening flanks of the mighty barbel.
These liviathans live on.sporadic in numbers but they're there none the less.carrying on with they're secret existence,carrying on the legacy of a few intelligent coarse anglers and hopefully one day I will have the pleasure of connecting with one of these priceless fish.
Hope this hasn't bored yous to tears folks and this is why the pinnacle of my angling career would be for me to catch a river clyde barbel.
Don’t cast doubt,cast out.

Ian
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by Ian » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:00 pm

Penninelad wrote:I have fished at least once a year on the Clyde in the Biggar area over a long period of time and caught some lovely brown trout and grayling on the fly but had no idea it contained chub and barbel.A friend who lives in the area has caught some very large pike 20 lbs plus on the Clyde where it widens out into the old quarry between Lamington & Symington.I will be very interested to read your reports.
The Chubb didn't make it.i think you must be talking about Barrie's quarry.a guy caught a 17lb brown trout out that quarry.many many years ago.i think the dredgings is the name of an area up that way too.big pike in there.i don't know how far up the Clyde the barbel go but there's a big dam at the back of Lanark that they defo couldn't get up.the salmon don't even get past that.yes there is nice trout and grayling up there and the Clyde at Crawford always seems to produce a 4lb grayling.im sure it's because they feed on those stone flys.plus the cormorants don't get that far up.well I will keep yourself and the rest of the guys posted on my barbel hunt and I will put some pics up of the area I will be fishing.looking forward to searching them out.
Don’t cast doubt,cast out.

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George387
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by George387 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:33 pm

Being brought up in Larkhall as a boy the Clyde was my backdoor river as was the river Avon, I predominately fly fished but on joining the armed services I went across to the dark side and became a match angler :Hahaha: We often had service matches on the Clyde and surrounding rivers/canals in late 80s the Clyde matches taking place in the centre of Glasgow where chub / chublets were always caught and at times weighed quite heavily in the match weights, a few barbel from time to time also showed up, the barbel & chub are spread quite far across the lower Clyde, they only go up as far as stonebyres power station as it is a man made obstacle that they cannot get upstream of that, nor can the salmon.

The chub & barbel were first introduced illegally into the system after a van headed south with a couple of coarse anglers in the late 70s and went to the Ribble and brought back some dustbins full of fish and introduced into the river.

The current Scottish record barbel came from a spot on the Clyde taken by steve a friend of mine & weighed 9lbs 8oz however this was beaten last year by another friend who didn't wish to claim it as a record as he was not intentionally fishing for it, so Steve's record still stands.

Image

I've since moved from the dark side back to fly fishing but do enjoy a bit of barbel bashing now and again, just need to put the leg work in to find them. good luck :Thumb:
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Ian
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by Ian » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:08 pm

Hello George,I thought you would have been on this.yes the lower Clyde produces the most.i fish the middle section,the Skelton flats.funnily enough,the first barbel I remember being caught was a guy from lark hall.was it you,seemingly on a Dexter.i will be putting the leg work in and I know they have been seen at the pea hole at the green pipe.stevie and cads were going to show me there territory but I never got round to it.i would love to get one at the area I fish but it's going to be hard.ach well,fortune favours the brave.
Don’t cast doubt,cast out.

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George387
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Re: River Clyde barbel

Post by George387 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:33 pm

Hi Ian,
My lips are sealed on my barbel catches from the Clyde......lol :Wink:
something I dont like to broadcast because of the buckfast brigade :club:
Lets just say the skellyton flats were an easy walk for me down the old monkey road past skellyton farm from larkhall before I could drive, the barbel have been caught much further up river than the peahole, Crossford & beyond, My last fish came from around that area a couple of years ago, I've not been up as much since my parents died so tend to concentrate on the trout & Grayling when I do come up but they are still there I saw a pair of spawning Barbel only last year :Wink:
Brown Trout maybe Beautiful But Grayling are Gorgeous. "Lets Tackle Cancer" Supporter
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