Coast KZN

18 Apr 2021

Barbel fishing in Richards Bay

Reece Reid (Zululand Observer) Picture: Reece Reid. Tyler Collum landed a fine fish

Barbel, a type of bottom-feeding catfish, is renowned for being terrible-tasting, but many anglers love to catch them because of the massive fight they put up once the hook is set. The bait used to catch barbel varies, but it’s generally the most unappealing meat you can find in a butchery – that’s left to go a bit bad. This can be ox liver, lamb kidney, chicken hearts, chicken livers or anything else that gives off quite a strong odour.

I have personally had the most success catching barbel with a combination of chicken hearts and livers, as the tough hearts keep the liver from being eaten off the hook, but the strong smell of the liver attracts more unsuspecting prey.

The best place to fish for these beasts in Richards Bay is Lake Mzingazi, which can be accessed via Forrelle Alley. There are also spots along the Nseleni River, just past Brackenham.

If you haven’t tried fishing for barbel, I highly recommend it as they put up a ridiculously good fight once on the hook – but it’s best to release them as no-one wants a barbel fillet!