|1. The barbel is found on many Coats Of
Arms. The most famous modern day example is that belonging to
Queen's College, Cambridge, which features two gold barbel,
|2. In the 1700s and 1800s, barbel were
highly-prized as food by the Jewish community in London.
|3. In the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth was so
worried about young Thames barbel being taken that she introduced
a fine for doing so.
|4. The barbel found in the River Severn,
Bristol Avon and Welland, as well as their tributaries, originate
from the Enbourne, a tiny Kennet tributary, and were stocked
as part of Operation Barbel by the Angling Times in the 1950s.
|5. Jack Harrigan, who gave his name to a
swim on the Royalty and is on the pub sign for the Royalty Arms,
briefly held the barbel record with a 13lb 2oz fish - even though
he had caught one 5oz bigger.
|6. J.W. Martin, known to all as the
Trent Otter, spent a relatively short time fishing the Trent,
and lived for much of his life in London, catching Thames barbel.
|7. In the early 1800s, there were 400 full-time
professional fishermen guiding on the Thames - the most prized
fish were barbel and trout.
|8. One of the Thames professionals was
nicknamed Wormy Webb, as he kept worms in the bath at his Reading
|9. The barbel record was held, for many
years, by three 14lb 6oz fish - one from the Thames, and two
from the Royalty. The captors were T. Wheeler, A. Tryon and
F. W. K. Wallis.
|10. The famous Wallis cast was actually
invented before Wallis popularised it, probably half a century
earlier by William Bailey of Nottingham.
|11. A barbel match in the 1870s ended in
such acrimony that it led to a libel case in the High Court
- with a Judge Pollock presiding!
|12. Thames and Trent barbel anglers
in the past baited swims for a week with thousands of lobworms.
|13. Davis Tackle in Christchurch was originally
not a tackle shop but a junk shop- then a stationers, and the
owners didn't know the river was so close until a customer suggested
they stock a few rods and reels.
|14. Isaac Walton claimed that barbel
used their whiskers to grab hold of weed and snags when hooked.
|15. The barbel has had many nicknames -
including old whiskers, kittle-cattle, the river prince and
mud vermin (the last one was coined by Charles Dickens Junior!)
|16. The first barbel rod to be named
as such was introduced by Hardy's in the 1890s.
|17. A Thames barbel match in the 1800s was
once won by a Frenchman using a broken umbrella for a rod and
horse manure as groundbait.
|18. Henry Coxon, barbel angler and reel
inventor, was scorer for Notts County Cricket Club, and once
took W.G. Grace barbel fishing on the Trent.
|19. The Trent Barbel Slider Float was invented
in the 1800s by 'Nottingham' George Holland, who claimed the
idea came to him in a dream.
|20. Between 1937 and the 1990s, the
barbel record was broken at least five times by salmon anglers
who caught them on spinners or livebait, sometimes foul-hooked,
but not always
|Used with the kind consent
Jon Berry from A Can of Worms (MEDLAR)
|1. The popularity of barbel has exploded
over the last decade and continues to grow into what is now
the most sought after river fish.
|2. A total of 38 species of barbel have
been recorded in Europe with only one (Barbus barbus) in the
U.K. It is the U.K. species which requires clean, flowing, well
oxygenated water with a gravel river bed to reproduce.
|3. Barbel (Barbus barbus) are widespread
in the river systems of our country and are easily accessible
to the angler. Barbel are present in over 50 rivers in this
country. There is no need for stillwater stocking of these river
|4. In 1896, and again during 1960's
a few barbel were introduced to the Dorset Stour and the Hampshire
Avon where they multiplied and thrived to produce a barbel mecca.
In 1956 Angling Times introduced 509 barbel to the River Severn
and we now have over one hundred miles of prime barbel fishing.
A few barbel were also introduced to the River Wye, the Bristol
Avon etc. and some northern rivers such as the Ribble, Dane
and Weaver. They have thrived in all these rivers.
|5. It is the duty of all barbel anglers
to protect this exciting and powerful river fish and its habitat.
It is important, particularly in summer, to carefully return
the fish after capture in a full recovered state.
|6. The Environment Agency is their good
practice guide to Freshwater Fisheries state that is dubious
practice to deliberately stock barbel into habitats where they
are expected to live on a catch-and-release basis while being
very unlikely to be able to spawn successfully.
|7. There is justifiable fear that stocking
small barbel into commercial stillwater fisheries creates a
demand leading the unscrupulous to take large barbel from the
river to the detriment of the river anglers and the barbel themselves.
|8. Fish farms which breed barbel and
grow them on for stocking do this in semi still water but all
require some method for increased oxygenation.
|9. There is no published scientific information
which recommends the stocking of barbel into stillwaters, or
which claims barbel thrive and grow big in stillwater.
|10. Barbel require conditions to spawn
which cannot be found in stillwaters and naturally sustaining
populations of barbel in stillwaters are not possible.
|11. Barbel are less tolerant of high water
temperatures and low oxygen levels that stillwater fish such
as tench and carp. The lethal concentration of oxygen is almost
twice as high for barbel that it is for tench.
|12. More barbel have been stocked into
stillwaters than all the rivers put together. These stillwater
stockings are frequently repeated as the only impact they have
is to increase the mortality rates of the stillwater fishery.
|13. Barbel are great wanderers in rivers,
often moving several kilometres in a matter of days in order
to seek suitable conditions when changes in water temperature,
flow rates etc. occur and also to suit their seasonal needs.
Barbel cannot do this in the commercial stillwaters.
|14. Commercial stillwaters do not provide
the correct habitat for barbel to thrive not just the water
quality is in question but the overhead cover is usually missing.
|15. Copp & Bennetts (1996) reported
a significant decrease in the abundance and size of barbel in
a reach of the River Lee after the removal of some 30% of the
|16. After removal of all the bankside
vegetation and instream branches from a stretch of the River
Teme all the barbel moved to other areas. Stillwater barbel
have little choice - they have to stay, until they die, in conditions
they would not normally tolerate.
|17. Several case studies of the effects
of impoundment of river sections containing natural barbel populations
exist. In all cases, with the onset of stillwater flow conditions
barbel populations declined appreciably.
|18. Thousands of small barbel have entered
Trimpley reservoir via an inlet from the River Severn yet Trimpley
is not full of large barbel ! If only 10% of them had entered
a suitable habitat there would have been a barbel explosion.
|19. Barbel are stocked into commercial stillwaters
without any thought for the fish themselves but for financial
gain - greed !
|20. Barbel spend most of their lives
on the river bed and in stillwaters they have a greater risk
of parasites in these conditions.
|21. The potential for recapture is far greater
in stillwaters than it is in rivers and barbel will experience
increased stress when frequently caught and more so at spawning
time by being unable to spawn in stillwater conditions. Barbel
frequently die after capture from stillwaters.
|22. Continued exposure to poor water
quality and lack of water flow will affect the survival of individual
barbel - they will die and in commercial stillwaters they are
frequently stolen from rivers and re-stocked into stillwaters.
|23. There is always a significant decrease
in the abundance and size of barbel in rivers after bankside
vegetation is removed. The decrease is in direct proportion
to the amount of clearance e.g. 100% bankside clearance relates
to 100% of the barbel moving out of the area. Quite a dramatic
effect of the Angling Clubs, the Anglers and the barbel.
|24. Always use well balanced tackle.
Accept the objective of landing barbel as quickly as possible,
thereby causing minimum distress and exhaustion to the fish.
A protracted fight does not fish or your swim no good at all
and increases the chances of losing it.
|25. Land and remove fish from the river
by using a large knotless landing net, never attempt to 'beach'
the fish as considerable damage can be caused to fins, eyes
and scales. If possible unhook the fish while it is still in
the net and in the water. If this is not an option place the
fish (still in the net) on an unhooking mat - never on bar gravel,
stones etc. use wet hands to handle the fish.
|26. If the fish is not required for
weighting, or photography it should be released when fully recovered.
Do not retain barbel without good reason.