How To Catch Big Barbel In South Africa | Targeting Sharptooth Catfish
Many South African anglers want to catch that big Barbel, and I am hoping this will help you get that PB Sharptooth Catfish.
Lets start off with the bait that you will be using for big Barbel, here we will be using a full fish as bait. Many big Barbel have been lost and landed on full fish. Common Carp will be the best fish to use, try stay away from using indigenous fish such as Mudfish and especially Yellowfish. You will need to catch a carp between 20 and 30 centimeters in length as this is the perfect size bait for a large Barbel to pick up. The Carp below is about the perfect size. And got the angler, Gavin Erwin, a 10kg Barbel.
Once you have the carp, kill it humanely and as quickly as possible.
Before we go any further it is vitally important that you have heavy enough tackle, plenty of line capacity and the knots are tested thoroughly on your Barbel setup. Tackle wise, a rod with backbone and pulling power is needed (The longer the rod the better), a multiplier or large coffee grinder reel, at least 20lb main line and a fluorocarbon leader of 30lbs. Remember the heavier the better as you could be targeting, in theory, a world record size Barbel!
Back to the baiting up; you have two options in terms of type of trace to use. This depends on the size of the carp, for the smaller carp a 6/0 circle hook with a 40cm leader is good, for the larger carp a double "J Hook" trace is the way to go with about a 5-10cm of separation between the two hooks. You can either snell the first hook and then tie the second hook, or leave one of the hooks trailing. Size 6/0 - 8/0 hooks are perfect for this application to get that big Catfish... Make sure you have a toothpick and maybe a cable tie or two to secure the bait in place.
Line up the Carp, and place the circle or 2 j hooks where appropriate. When using the j hooks, put the first hook through the nose or head of the carp, so the hook is facing upwards and is proud. Secure this with a toothpick and cut off the ends. Put the second hook through the the back or stomach of the fish and secure it again. With the smaller fish put the circle hook straight through the carps head...
Now make a few small holes in the gill plates and stomach of the fish. You are almost ready... Now you can either fish this bait weightless or with a small bottle sinker, depending on the conditions of the water and the wind or rain. The lighter the sinker the better. Small running ball sinkers can also be used.
Put your reel on freespool or a loose drag setting and paddle it out to the area you want to fish. Drop the bait and paddle back... Now you set your drag accordingly and wait. These larger baits will often take quite long to be picked up but when they do let the Barbel run with the baits for a while, up to 30 seconds before tightening up (On a circle hook) or setting the hook by striking(With the J Hooks) ... Let the fish take as much line as he wants and tire him out, if you start to loose a lot of line or you get snagged up go out and fetch the Barbel on your canoe or rubber duck and slowly wind into the fish as you go along.
Take your time when landing these large fish as they never really get tired and fight till the end. A large landing net is a must. Bring the Barbel back to the bank or land it on the bank, get a few photo's and release that fish of a lifetime!