‘Sturgeon species are noted by a spindle-shaped body with five rows of bony scutes and a long snout with sensory barbels.’ It flows underneath the M4 Motorway, before turning south east and through Cardiff and out into the Bristol Channel. It flows through Pontypridd and through to Taff’s Well, the site of Wales’ only thermal spring. However as time passed, and always seeking new challenges, my thoughts once again returned to the subject with renewed interest. With a warm flood being infrequent, this is no doubt welcomed by the barbel and they are renowned for taking the opportunity and “switch on”. It should never be enough to put an angler off, as being by running water is enough for most, that combined with generally decent chub sport early on. It was a long fish but looked a good one… and the scales registered a weight of 12lb 4oz. It is also popular with anglers for its head of big chub, as well as fighting-fit brown trout. Heavy feeding is required to get enough bait through the silver fish and chub that occupy the upper water column, but achieve that and they’ve been known to take hookbaits some 3 foot off the bottom. After my opening day chub catch, I was keen to get a barbel on the bank. Secondly, when a good fish or a large catch is made, news travels far and wide (and in these digital days, instantly), with more and more anglers trying the new magic bait. Now I must own up to losing a fish or two on this light gear – not due to breakages but due to hook pulls and I put this down to foul hooking fish. In the winter months barbel will lie up torpid for long periods of time, conserving their energy and only feeding should a morsel of food come within a small distance or right past their nose. The golden-line barbel was once endemic to Lake Dianchi in China's Yunnan province, but now the fish is thought to only survive in about 20 spring ponds and one lake tributary. 25 minutes later and the double pellet is working it's magic again and another barbel is on, and this one goes 9lb exactly. Who knows what potential could be found here for somebody willing to put the hours in? Fish are abundant, especially coarse fish such as pike, perch, roach, dace and barbel. Word gradually got out of how good the barbel fishing was, and at the turn of the decade barbel anglers were looking for access to new stretches up and down the river. A 12lb barbel taken during a very short feeding spell. This has been the first recapture meaning there are group of reasonable fish and a real chance of something much bigger as the season progresses and the fish pile on their winter weight. The river around this area available when much of the river downstream was still only accessible after the salmon season from October 18th. New PB Grayling! Hitting the food trail heavily throughout the months of October and November will see barbel pile on the pounds to fatten up on natural fat reserves which will see them survive the low water temperatures. There are reports of good sized barbel being caught on the Vrynwy from llandysilio area to its junction with the Severn, although it is very underfished. Are the temps rising or falling? Outside of these conditions many chance their arm using maggots in a clear winter river, and often just an hour or so of midwinter sun on the water can trigger fish to feed. A good double figure fish on a very short winter session, Digital Thermometer, an essential piece of the winter barbel anglers armoury. The last 2 weeks of the season in early March is when sport can return to not needing a flood or maggots, as the fish start to feed again before going into spawning time. The river then flows through three different counties before becoming the Severn Estuary. A twelve pound barbel is a nice way to start the season in terms of double figure fish, and this fish was a longish, lean and probably fairly old fish, but it fought like a tiger despite its age. Thanks to booking schemes and savvy individuals, miles of barbel fishing became available by convincing what were declining salmon fisheries, into letting coarse fishing during the summer months as well as the winter. Barbel angler numbers drop off significantly in November, but the arrival of a warm flood at this time has often produced some of the biggest fish reported each year. Lactic acid build up in the fishes muscles during a fight with a hooked barbel can be exasperated with the current high water temps and low DO levels, this can cause acidification of the barbels blood which can cause the complete metabolic breakdown of the barbel, it may swim off strong out of instinct and you may treat it with the utmost care whilst in you try to resuscitate them, but this … I found myself fishing exactly the same swim I’d caught from in January and my efforts to get on the bank were richly rewarded with a stunning barbel of 12lbs 12oz. In 1956 the Angling Times introduced 509 barbel to the River Severn, and at the same time a few barbel were also introduced to the River Wye, as well as numerous other rivers in the UK – they have thrived in all. The often hushed-up River Taff is renowned for producing surprisingly large barbel. This whole stretch is known for large shoals of specimen Barbel running to double figures, Chub abound with Pike, Roach and Perch together with Carp. Whilst there’s only two barbel rivers that are truly in Wales from source to sea, the Taff and the lesser known Rhymney, there are several others that rise in Wales and run close to the border for their length. Barbel can be caught year round (during the coarse season), the best time to fish for them depends on how you want to fish for them, and whether you’re after size, quality, or numbers of fish. From there, it flows northeast to Corwen, goes eastwards past Llangollen, and continues east through Chester on its way to the sea. Let’s say the whole of December has seen sub-zero temperatures with a cold northerly or easterly wind blowing but moving into the New Year the forecasters are telling us to expect a few days of south westerly winds bringing with it a low pressure front and some warmer temperatures into double figures. The first 2 days saw me working which for me was fine as this fitted in with me missing the very beginning of a change in conditions whilst the fish acclimatised and hopefully come day 3 they’d be up for a morsel or 2 of food. If popularity is allowed to increase in fishing, and if new areas open up on this otherwise difficult to access river, then the future could be very bright for the Taff. 3 pouches of maggots per trot is ideal, with a pouch of hemp every half a dozen runs through, and even a pouch of corn every dozen trots just to mix it up. Losing that fish hurt me, having seen it a couple of times and particularly at the net, was even worse than not knowing how big it was.