THE care of barbel after capture is particularly important in summer conditions, when low oxygen levels mean that an exhausted fish will need to be carefully nursed back to strength after a hard fight.
It is vital to keep barbel out of the water for the shortest time possible, so rest a played-out barbel in the net for a few minutes before lifting it out of the water to remove the hook. If you plan on weighing and taking photos, make sure your equipment is already set-up before bringing the barbel to the bank.
Use an unhooking mat and return the fish to the water using the landing net. Then allow the fish to recover in the landing net for a long time, ensuring it can breathe easily and only allow it to swim out of the net once you are certain it has fully recovered.
1 This double-figure barbel will need careful handling and
quite a long recovery time before it is ready for release.
2 Always allow barbel to recover in the meshes of a landing net.
Only release a barbel when you are certain it has regained its full strength.
3 A lively, well-recovered barbel swims off, safe to fight another day.
Now watch this video of Angler’s Mail columnist Pete Reading catching,
handling and releasing barbel safely.