BARBEL (barbean, burbele, Fr.) A dull heavy fish of considerable size and strength, and derives its name from its four barbs, two of which are at the corners of its mouth, and two at its snout. They shed their spawn about the middle of April, and come in season about a month or six weeks after that time. They root with the nose like a pig. Their usual haunts are among weeds. In summer they frequent the most powerful and rapid currents, and settle among logs of wood, piles, &c.; but in the winter they return to their deep bottoms. The baits are the spawn of trout, salmon, or almost any other fish, provided it be fresh ; but as the barbel is very cunning, the pastes in imitation of it must be well made, and of fresh flavour. It is also recommended to bait the water over night by spawn or cut worms. The lob-worm, gentles, and cheese soaked in honey, are alike palatable to this fish ; and he will bite at them eagerly. In angling for the barbel, the rod and the line must both be extremely long; and as the fish swims very close to the bottom, a running plummet should also be attached to the latter. By a gentle inclination of the rod you may easily ascertain when there is a bite. Strike immediately, and the fish will seldom escape, unless he breaks the line. The best time for fishing is about nine in the forenoon, and the fittest season from the close of May to the beginning of August.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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