Words and pictures supplied by Gareth Watkins.
“The barbel affords an angler choice sport, being a lusty and a cunning fish ; so lusty and cunning as to endanger the breaking of the angler’s line.” Izaak Walton 1653
France has long been associated with carp fishing, and every year thousands of anglers from all over Europe, head for the large number of lakes and rivers spread across the country.
While it is true, the larger rivers in France hold good numbers of carp, I doubt many anglers give a second thought to alternate species also present, often considering them as nuisance fish.
But the French rivers, just as the British ones, hold a vast array of fish; one of the most interesting being the Barbel.
Barbel fishing is very popular in the UK and there are loads of rivers offering some cracking sport, the Trent, the Dove, the Wye, the Severn, the Ribble, the Ouse, the Wensum, the Avon to name but a few.
But the Barbus Barbus is also a native species of France and present in most of its river systems.
Over the last couple of months and seeking a change from carp fishing, I’ve turned my attentions to these fish in the rivers local to me; the Aisne & the Marne. The articles on this blog by Shaun and Pat Gillett have motivated me to give it a go, to see if I too, could catch a few.
Since I’ve been in France I have only caught the odd chub and barbel by accident, while carping on the Seine. This year I wanted to set myself a new fishing goal; to catch a double figure French barbel !
The main problem though, is that nobody in France fishes for barbel !!
So where to start?
I feel a bit like the original carp pioneers, testing waters, not even knowing if the fish they sought were present. Perhaps I’ll stumble across a barbel angler’s St. Cassien! continue reading…