The river Wandle is a great spot for barbel fishing. This post lists the best places to catch barbel on the river Wandle, and includes photographs of the best swims.
This article is a write up of the Walk and Talk organised by Roger Berry of Wandle Anglers in February 2023.
5 Best Spots for Barbel Fishing on the River Wandle
1. Wandle Bank
Wandle Bank is a street that runs parallel to the River Wandle, on the west bank of the river. The street is highlighted in red on the map below. It is a two minute walk from Colliers Wood tube station, Sainsbury’s car park, or the car park at Priory Retail Park.
Wandle Bank has residential properties on one side, and the river Wandle on the other. It provides access to Wandle Park via a footbridge over the river.
The photograph below shows a view of Wandle Bank. This section is a good spot for barbel fishing, however you will need to fish over the railing as there is no access to the river from the park side.
The best spots to catch barbel or chub is in the darker sections of the river. The fish also often hide in the weeds in the summertime when the weeds are thicker. This part of the river has a bridge leading over to Wandle Park, which is shown in the photograph below.
Wandle Bank leads onto Bewley Street via Byegrove Road. At this point access to the river is easier as there is no railing. You can see in the photograph below there is a footpath next to the river, with the river on one side, and street on the other. This is another good stretch for barbel, as well as roach, chub, and large gudgeon.
If you follow the trail round, you will eventually reach a footbridge leading over to Wandle Meadow Nature Park. This is shown in the photograph below.
2. Wandle Meadow Nature Park
Wandle Meadow Nature Park is part of the flood plain of the river Wandle, and a nature reserve which is home to a variety of plants, animals and birds. The stretch of the river that runs alongside the park is marked in red on the map below.
This part of the river has many large trees and plants which become overgrown in the summertime. For this reason it is known by some anglers as “the jungle”. Along the river here you will find a large dead tree (shown in the photograph below). This spot is a great place for catching barbel, as well as roach.
Barbel tend to stay near the bottom of the river, and like deep water with good cover. This part of the river has many overhanging branches, and weed beds, so it’s a prime spot to fish for barbel.
The pictures in this post were taken in the late winter (end of February). By the summer the trees are covered in leaves and the vegetation over the river is much thicker than in the photographs.
The spot shown in the photograph below is a good place to catch barbel, roach and large gudgeon.
3. The Pickle
The Pickle flows between Sainsbury’s and the Priory Retail Park, and is shown in red on the map below. This is a great spot for catching barbel, chub, roach, and big gudgeon.
It is believed that the Pickle is the original course of the river Wandle, as it aligns with the wall of Merton Priory, which dates back to the 12th century. The part of the river that flows around Sainsbury’s was artificially created, to establish a moat around Merton Priory, which once stood where Sainsbury’s is today.
4. Sainsbury’s Collers Wood
The stretch of the river around Sainsbury’s, heading towards Merton Abbey Mills, is where William Morris’ factory used to be. It is a prime spot to catch large barbel fish. This section of the river is highlighted in red on the map below.
Here you will find benches and easy access to the river. There are lots of barbel in this part of the Wandle that can be caught if you know where to look. Since barbel are bottom feeders, they tend to stay near the riverbed, and can be found in deep pools.
The best places to find barbel are areas where the river suddenly goes from shallow to deep. At these points the current changes when the river hits the deeper water. You will see it swirling, or even bubbling. There are several of these points along this stretch of the river.
5. Merton Abbey Mills
Merton Abbey Mills is another great spot for catching barbel as there is a deep pool below the weir. The stretch of river alongside Merton Abbey Mills, and the William Morris pub is shown in the photograph below.
The picture below shows the best spot to fish for barbel on this stretch. This point is right next to the entrance of Merton Abbey Mills, which has some great restaurants and pubs.
FAQs About Barbel Fishing on the River Wandle
What time of year is best for barbel fishing?
June, July, and August are considered to be the peak season for barbel fishing. During the summer months, the water is typically warmer, which can increase the activity levels of the fish and make them more receptive to bait.
What is the best bait for barbel?
The best bait for barbel is a bed of hempseed with fish, corn or meat over the top. The hempseed will attract and hold the barbel in the swim. Use a size 12 hook for corn, and a size 8 or 6 for meat.
Other Articles About Fishing on the River Wandle
- Complete Guide to Fishing on the River Wandle
- Types of Coarse Fish Found in the River Wandle
- Fishing in the River Wandle in Earlsfield
- Are There Pike in the Wandle?
This Post was all About Barbel Fishing on the River Wandle
This post was about fishing for barbel on the river Wandle in South London. It was written after the Walk and Talk arranged by Roger Berry of Wandle Anglers. Please feel free to leave a comment below.