Danny's Barbel Fact File (Part 1) by Danny Hannabuss


Thought we'd have a bit of fun with this one and try to hopefully list 100 different facts on Barbel. We seem to have kicked off to a good start, with some real crackers already posted! Please keep them coming by either PM to me, or posting on the 'Barbel only talk' section!! The list to date:

Barbel - (Bar'-bel) A "bearded" fish found abundantly in the Thames and Lea. It is an early heraldic bearing.

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.

Dan (Barbus Vulgaris) Barba is latin for beard. (Kindly forwarded by Ousachav...sorry mate don't know your first name!!)

Barbel can live older than 30 years. (Also forwarded by Ousachav

Barbel have been in the UK for 10,000 years !! (Also forwarded by Ousachav)

If you count, a true barbel has 55-65 scales along the lateral line. There have been cases of more than that and therefore, cross bred !!! (A great one from Jez)

The Scottish record is only 8lb-12 ozs caught in the Clyde at Netherton in April 1997. (Glad I don't live in Scotland!) (This one was kindly sent by Micky !)

Barbel have been recorded moving 4.5km in one single day... (No wonder they fight so much . (Thanks for that Jez)

Fertile barbel produce 8,000 - 12,000 eggs per kilo of body weight. (Thanks to Pete for this one !)

Did you know that some UK barbel have up to 8 barbules/barbels hanging from the mouth area. Some even grow on the sides of the mouth. (This little cracker was very kindly sent by Ray Walton )

Did you know that the same individual Barbel has been caught up to 3 times in a single day session, from one swim or 3 different areas. (A big thanks again to Ray for this one!)

Did you know...that river barbel are also surface feeders like carp. (I bet this one will surprise a few people....I didn't have a clue! (Nice one Ray !)

Back in the 1500s in the reign of queen Elizabeth 1,anyone caught taking away a barbel less than 12 inches long, was fined 20 shillings for doing so and forfeit the net or device used for catching it. ( Taking away Barbel.....bad people!! Thanks again to Chav!! )

Did you know, Barbel will turn upside down, to hoover the underside of rock overhangs and logs and often suck snails from weed beds sometimes feeding right at the surface (as Ray says) clooping and tenting just like carp. (This is a magic one from Howard.....nice one!!)

They shed their eggs in shallow, gravel-bottomed water, where they lodge among the stones until they hatch from 10 to 15 days later. 16.
Barbel live in both rivers and still waters; but thrive better in a river environment.

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.

The current record is held by Grahame King caught from the Great Ouse in Nov 05 and weighs in at a staggering 21lb 02oz!

A mid-range female (5lbs odd) lays between 5,000 to 10,000 eggs. (Thanks to SA for this little nugget of info )

They are the only species of the Cyprinid family that do not have sticky spawn. (Also from SA.....cheers mate )

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.

22.I have seen barbel taking feathers of the top of the water,thats swans feathers !! (A very strange one from Derek aka lesliefisherman...thanks mate)

Barbel also pick up and drop baits without moving !! (Nice one Derek..)

Did you know that deformed (barbel with bent or twisted backs) are caused by a bacterial infection when they are very young which attacks the soft bones. The condition is called Scoliosis or Lordosis and there is a similar human counterpart condition called...Spina Bifida. (Another top one from Ray )

Did you know that in 'most' blind or partly blind barbel is caused by a microscopic fluke/worm. The condition/fluke is called Diplostomum. (Cheers again Ray !!)

Part 2 to follow.

Danny Hannabuss

re-generated Feb 2007