There are now several paste baits, specifically designed for barbel, on the market and these baits really come into their own once the water temperature begins to fall. John Baker and Action Baits produce a range of baits which can be relied upon to produce the goods. Most carp baits can also be used in paste form simply by not boiling the paste.

In the Autumn months go for fruity and meaty, but when the temperature plummets go for spicy flavours, as barbel have a definite preference for these flavours in cold water. Why this should be I donít know for sure, although it may be because the thinner spice flavours leak out of the bait quicker than oil based flavours. I also tend to dip my baits in a powdered attractor which gives a nice flavour leak-off downstream from the bait.

Donít overdo the baiting. Although it is certainly worth introducing a few free-offerings after each session, when fishing I introduce no more than half a dozen pieces of paste to each swim. Generally if the barbel are present the attractors in the paste are strong enough to induce them to feed with no free-offerings. Each bait will last for some considerable period of time and I only tend to recast every hour when the going is tough.

I normally make my paste baits up at home with egg instead of water as this makes the resulting paste bind better. This gives me extra confidence that the bait is not pecked to bits by minnows and small dace. Always change your paste after each cast and in winter Donít throw this in, as it may be enough to feed-up a lethargic barbel. When the weather is really desperate I do away with the free-offerings altogether and put a lump of paste in a closed end feeder to give off a scent trail without feeding up the fish.