Sea Trout VS Barbel

Skeletor

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Some people say sea trout are the UK's strongest fighting fish, others say barbel. I've caught a barbel (today) but never a sea trout. Has anyone here caught both? If so, which of these heavyweights do you think should take the title?

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BobP

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Barbel can pull the string a fair bit but are not spectacular. The magic of sea trout is hooking one at night and trying to figure out where he is and what he is doing out there in the dark. Neither in my book take the top prize as a strong fighting fish. That goes to a grown-on reservoir rainbow. I hooked a 6lb+ fish at Farmoor last week that went 60 yards in one go. Full WF flyline, plus another 25 metres of backing. That used to be a regular feature at Farmoor 1 the first couple of seasons after Thames took it back into their direct management but hasn't happened to me for quite some time.
 

PaulD

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Barbel are predictably strong and relentless 'fighters', they are dogged and determined, very strong with a body shape that helps them hug the bottom in strong currents.

The predictable thing about sea trout is their unpredictability, they are very much an 'unguided missile'. A large fish having exploded over a surface lure can cartwheel down stream and moments later can be threatening to swim between your legs.
 

shropshire_lad

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Barbel can pull the string a fair bit but are not spectacular. The magic of sea trout is hooking one at night and trying to figure out where he is and what he is doing out there in the dark. Neither in my book take the top prize as a strong fighting fish. That goes to a grown-on reservoir rainbow. I hooked a 6lb+ fish at Farmoor last week that went 60 yards in one go. Full WF flyline, plus another 25 metres of backing. That used to be a regular feature at Farmoor 1 the first couple of seasons after Thames took it back into their direct management but hasn't happened to me for quite some time.

Hopefully, that will happen to me next week as I'm planning a trip there assuming the weather cools down a bit.

I have never caught a big fish. Biggest was probably a 3 lb barbel in my youth. I have had some decent days fishing though, including one day on the Severn in the 1970s where I caught 100 barbel. I was float fishing luncheon meat. They were all small, 1 to 2 lb. It was probably the same one caught 100 times as I was releasing them as their fins do not take too kindly to being kept in keep nets, well 1970s keep nets that is.
 

Open loop

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The Uk's strongest fish pound for pound, imo, is the wels catfish, they're in another league.
 

Iberian

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Barbel are predictably strong and relentless 'fighters', they are dogged and determined, very strong with a body shape that helps them hug the bottom in strong currents.

The predictable thing about sea trout is their unpredictability, they are very much an 'unguided missile'. A large fish having exploded over a surface lure can cartwheel down stream and moments later can be threatening to swim between your legs.
I would agree with this having caught both Iberian Barbel in Portugal and seatrout in North Wales. In terms of missile analogies, a fresh but rested seatrout has an extra "booster stage". The only fish comparable to a fresh seatrout in my fishing experience was a ~5-6 lb grown-on Rainbow trout from the San Juan river in New Mexico. I was lucky to catch one myself and I also got to see one hooked by another angler, both times there was acrobatics galore!
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Barbel can pull the string a fair bit but are not spectacular. The magic of sea trout is hooking one at night and trying to figure out where he is and what he is doing out there in the dark. Neither in my book take the top prize as a strong fighting fish. That goes to a grown-on reservoir rainbow. I hooked a 6lb+ fish at Farmoor last week that went 60 yards in one go. Full WF flyline, plus another 25 metres of backing. That used to be a regular feature at Farmoor 1 the first couple of seasons after Thames took it back into their direct management but hasn't happened to me for quite some time.

I agree, though the grown-on rainbow does not need to be from a reservoir. We are catching resident rainbows on the Lake of Menteith that are taking the whole fly line plus 50 yards of backing off us. And not even 6 lb class fish. Four pounders are doing it.

(And I say that as someone who has caught their fair share of sea trout to 7 lb+, plus a few small barbel.)
 

Elwyman

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A fit rainbow stripping line off a reel can be spectacular, but a 5lb fresh run sea trout running out of a pool, and doing cartwheel jumps on the way, is something else, especially in the dark.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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As a general observation, any fish hooked in a river only has a certain amount of freedom of movement. It can take you up a pool; it can take you down a pool.... Providing you are able to follow it, you can just walk it about until you tire it enough to bring it in. No?

If you hook a hot fish on a big stillwater and it puts the afterburners on, it can run 70 yards of line off you in seconds... after which it is 70 yards away from you with a big heavy sag of line being towed between it and you. If you are fishing dry fly on fine gear, that 70 yards of weight suddenly becomes a critical load... which is where we were coming from when we were recommending 6 or 7 lb low-diameter nylon over the likes of 3 or 4 lb Maxima for that sort of fishing.

Col
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Who are the "we" recommendinding the likes of those breaking strains in this thread?

It wasn't this thread, Jeff. It was the leader material thread where some folk were saying just use 3 or 4 lb Maxima for fishing stillwater dries, and some of us were saying you won't get away with that on places where the resident rainbows will run 50 yards off you.

Col
 

tenet

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Concur with Bobp and Cap'n re overwintered or grown on reservoir rainbows. Had a zoo creature take my cruncher nymph whilst on Farmoor 1 last week and it stripped line so fast it burned my thumb and forefinger. Hoping to bump into some more on Tuesday when afloat on the long awaited return of boat fishing at Farmoor.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Sea trout everytime & rainbows don't come close imo.

Sounds like you have not encountered the rainbows the likes of BobP, tenet and I are talking about. ;) Don't get me wrong - I've caught some large and very strong sea trout, but I've never had one strip 50 yards of line off my reel the way the grown-on rainbows do. I did have a loch salmon strip 50 yards off me last year, mind you. Again, you get more out of them on a big loch than you do in the confines of a river.

Col
 

cgaines10

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Sounds like you have not encountered the rainbows the likes of BobP, tenet and I are talking about. ;) Don't get me wrong - I've caught some large and very strong sea trout, but I've never had one strip 50 yards of line off my reel the way the grown-on rainbows do. I did have a loch salmon strip 50 yards off me last year, mind you. Again, you get more out of them on a big loch than you do in the confines of a river.

Col

Sounds like you've not encountered a fresh off the Sea lump of a sea trout too ;)
 

PaulD

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Sea trout everytime & rainbows don't come close imo.

The thing is there are rainbows and RAINBOWS. The are the 5 -6lb 'stumpy lumpies' popped into a pond for someone to catch . . . hopefully within the next couple of weeks . . . and there are the 5 - 6lb, overwintered 'beasts' from large still waters which are capable of the 'spectacular'. I wouldn't choose to be very definite about comparing the fighting abilities with sewin.
 

Skeletor

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Surely fighting a powerful fish on 7lb mono must affect the perception of the power of the fish? I've never heard anyone trying that with a barbel. For the 8 1/2 lb barbel I caught I had 50lb braid (mainly for getting out of snags) and it snapped my small lure rod. If I'd had 7lb mono it would have stripped off as much as it wanted because I couldn't have set the drag to offer any meaningful resistance.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Sounds like you've not encountered a fresh off the Sea lump of a sea trout too ;)

I've caught plenty sea trout. I'm not saying sea trout don't compare to a grown-on rainbow on a big stillwater. They do. Whereas, you are saying grown-on rainbows don't compare to sea trout. I'm saying they do.

It's a pointless argument, really. Everyone is going to have their own idea, based on what they fish for. I'm just waiting for the SWFF folk to come in and start waxing lyrical about bonefish and permit and all the other exotica. 😜

Col
 
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