BARBEL FISHING rigs have become complicated for some anglers - but we bring you one that's easy to create and highly effective, especially when fishing with boilies.

Boilies, in all their varieties, are a brilliant barbel fishing bait and it pays to fish them on the simplest of rigs.

It is important to nail a hook bait firmly to the bottom, preferably on a bed of feed that keeps barbel grubbing around until they come across an irresistible hook bait.

This basic barbel fishing rig is primarily a self-hooking set-up. It relies on a heavy bomb and a short hook length to ensure any barbel that sucks in the bait is pricked and hooks itself to produce that fierce bite that makes fishing for the species so exciting.

Boilies can be paste wrapped, or cut to sizes and shapes that will fool wary barbel that are used to a standard round hook bait, although a standard round boilie is often very acceptable!


An inline lead will minimise tangles, and has good self-hooking properties. A good range of sizes should be carried, but aim to use heavy ones to nail the bait down.

Coated braids are ideal for short link work, being tangle free, yet allowing for a supple inch or so close to the hook. They produce a straight hook link that sits on the bottom.

A quick-change link enables a fresh bait or link carrying a PVA bag to be used with minimum of fuss. The swivel and link sit in the rubber of the inline lead to produce a safe self-hooking rig.

Modern boilie hooks are strong and very sharp, and a beaked or curved-in point or shank helps with pricking suspicious fish.

Boilies can be securely superglued on, simply by cracking them in half and trapping the hair in the crack.

Back leads are often needed in clear shallow water, when the barbel will be edgy and tackle-shy. Simple drilled bullets are good, but camouflaged weights blend in better.

Baits of all shapes and sizes, including boilies and pellets, can be used with this simple but effective rig.

If you follow this simple guide to setting up this boilie rig for barbel, you’ll soon be catching fish like this.

Good luck with your barbel fishing this season! If you catch a big fish of any species, email pictures and info to:

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