Barbel fishing in Portugal.

The barbel in Portugal are not like those found in the U.K.. There are at least 5 species which are found in Portugal. They are the Iberian Barbel (Barbus bocagei), Southern Barbel (Barbus sclateri), Small-Headed Barbel (Barbus microcephalus), Steindachner Barbel (Barbus steinbachneri) and the Snouted Iberian Barbel (Barbus comizo) otherwise known as the Comizo Barbel. Some of these fish can grow to weights which would smash any barbel records in the U.K.. The fish in the photo on the bottom weighed 12kg (26.4Lbs!). Catches of fish around the 12kg mark (26.4Lbs) and above are often reported and back in 1996 a fish weighing 18.7kg (41.14Lbs) was caught by a local angler on one of the rivers where we often go.

Fishing For Barbel

To go for these barbel we would advise you to use tackle which will be capable of standing up to the sort of fight which these fish will give. Any good barbel/specialist rod with a test curve of 1.5Lb or above fitted with a strong reliable reel would be a wise choice. Although, saying that, when Andy Little was over here back in 2006, he used his carp gear (2.75Lbers) while fishing for the barbel. To read what his what he wrote in one of two articles for the Angler''s Mail go here.

As to what line, well a very good mono will do of cause, but in our opinion the humble braid would be a far better choice! Hooks? Well, that is a good question! The local anglers in Portugal use hooks that you would use for sea fishing! Maybe that is why they do not catch as many as they could. We would advise you to bring along good strong specialist hooks in the following sizes: #8, #6 and #4 (Barbless would be a better option because these fish tend to have very tough mouths/lips.).

What style/method to use for these barbel? Well, the local Portuguese barbel anglers just use straight forward ledgering methods to catch their fish. But, in our opinion, what really works well is good feeder or "Method" tactics!

Baits! Now, this is how those of you who live and fish for barbel in the U.K. can gain the upper hand! Over in Portugal the barbel anglers tend to use very basic baits. Worms, maggots and worms! The bait technology has yet to reach Portugal. So, good strong smelly fish-meal boilies, pellets, nugets, pastes and even the good old sweet corn and lunchon-meat etc. will really make a difference. Also, hardly any Portuguese angler uses ground bait when going for barbel! Maybe that is why a simple hemp and fish-meal mix really pays off.

Night Fishing

At the moment night fishing is not allowed here in Portugal nor is "Wild Camping" (what they call any form of camping which is not done within an official campsite). If a person is caught doing either or both of these the conserquences can be heavy. Not only do you lose all your fishing tackle and camping gear, you also get fined and you could even get a prison sentence. As you can see it really is not worth the risk. Saying that, there are a bunch of us local anglers over here in the process of trying to get the old law changed.