The barbell (Cyprinus barbus), so termed from the wattles or beard depending from the sides of the mouth, is a very game fish for the angler, frequenting deep and rapid streams, and often turbulent and broken waters, as at the tail of mill-wheels, weirs, &c. They go in large shoals, so that when the barbell are got upon the feed the angler often takes from 20 to 50 or more in a day. They require a good deal of ground-baiting, however,-worms, gentles, greaves, &c., being often used in large quantities two or three nights before fishing to induce them to feed freely, and even then the angler is as likely as not to be disappointed. A clean red lob-worm is, upon the whole, perhaps the best bait for a barbell, and next to that a bunch of gentles or greaves, though they will sometimes take freely a number of things, including fat bacon and raw beef. They are fished for in several ways by the ordinary and traveling float method, by the ledger and the clay-ball principally; and it often happens that they will take pretty well in one of these ways, and refuse the others. The barbell nibbles a little at the still bait before biting, but when a good double tug is felt, the angler may strike firmly. Owing to its great expanse of fins, and its rounded body, the barbel is a very stout fighter, and makes a most prolonged resistance; and though it is not so active as either salmon or trout, it is more troublesome, and takes longer to subdue. In the spring months the large barbel will frequently take a spinning bait freely, and when spinning for large trout in a weir the angler frequently receives severe disappointment by hooking a big out-of-season barbel. They run up to 16 lb weight, but one of 12 lb is not caught every day. On the Thames the average is from 1 to 4 lb. They are a very curious fish, some years biting freely, and during others hardly at all. Size of hooks for worms, 1 ,2, 3; for other baits smaller.
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