Coarse Fishing


Our brief, plain speaking guide to gudgeon - it is not a young barbel.

Coarse fishers can easily mistake the small gudgeon (a big one is just a few ounces) for young barbel because of the similar barbs near the mouth – but gudgeon only have two (one each side of the mouth), to barbels’ four. It has a rounded, elongated body with a slightly flattened tummy, a proportionate head with a ventral mouth, and thick lips with a barb on either side, and large scales. Gudgeon are silvery-blue or greeny-brown with some dark spots on yellowish sides, and spotted fins.
Finding them
Gudgeon like rivers and fast-moving streams, though canals and gravel pits have their fair share, and are happier in warmer waters than more severely wintered territories. It’s a strong swimmer so large rivers present no problem. A shoal fish, they are much loved by beginners to coarse fishing as hooking one often means many more are there to be had.
Food and bait
Gudgeon are bottom feeders and its barbels help it snout out food on the water bed, particularly invertebrates and insect larvae such as midge, caddis-fly, bloodworm, may-fly larvae, crustaceans and molluscs – it’s not picky to what it finds down there!
Good baits for coarse fishing gudgeon are caster, maggot, many worm types and worm bits, brandling, bread flakes or punch, and sunken groundbait too.
Night spawning from April to July in shallow water, often in gravel or sandy waterbeds.
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