On this page I will outline the set up that I use when Barbel Fishing.
During the 2007/8 season, I purchased a couple of 12ft Fox 2.75lb TC Duo Floodwater Barbel rods. Some might think that such a high test curve is a bit over-gunned, but the Fox is not that stiff considering its rating, and does work far better than any other rods that I have used with 6oz leads and feeders, especially in flood conditions. I also have Solar/Drennan Isotopes permanently fixed to the rod tops, which I prefer to star lights and work out to be a lot cheaper over the course of a single season. When fishing two rods I prefer both of them to be side by side, as its a lot easier to keep an eye on them, whilst still fishing 30 yards apart. The rear rod rests are the gripper type, so that the rod is firmly held in place when a fish takes.
My reels are Shimano 5010 Baitrunners which are great for this sort of fishing, and are now loaded with 45lb Whiplash braid. It has a diameter of just 0.15mm, and I hope it will help to reduce line drag with both leads and my big feeders compared to say 12lb nylon with a diameter of about 0.32mm. Unlike nylon, I have found that most braids do tend to break below their stated BS, ( as much as 20% ) so going overboard gives me the BS that I want when chucking out a feeder weighing half a pound or more. I often hear people talking about the sort of rod that they prefer when barbel fishing, especially those who think that some carp rods aren't forgiving enough when playing a fish right under the rod tip and are worried about breaking off or pulling out of a fish. It's simple really, get the upper hand, and when the fish is under your rod tip, but you still expect a final surge, then just slacken your clutch off a couple of clicks. Give that now tired fish a little more freedom if the peg allows it, to save a break or pulling out of it. You can of course knock the anti reverse off and back wind if needed, but I prefer to take full advantage of my Shimano's clutch. I also knock my reels into free spool every time that I fish, so as to not lose a rod to a savage take, and it still amazes me how some people go home rodless because of a lack of attention/thought.
We always use alarms, especially on night sessions, because I find sitting staring at the rod tips means that you can't take in all of the natural beauty of the surroundings that many of us appreciate when we are out in the countryside, plus its a lot harder on the eyes to sit staring at the rod tips for hours, especially after sunset. By using a hair-rig, a barbel will hook itself when it takes, so the alarms come into play as an audible signal should you be doing something else, like when your backs turned making a cup of tea on the bank. It's best to be by your rods all the time ( with in arms reach ) for when a fish takes off, but you don't need to watch them like a hawk. My particular alarms are a just a very cheap set of four 12v receiver alarms. They only have tone and volume adjustment, because you don't need anything too clever.
Personally rig-wise, I think its best to keep it fairly simple. If the fish are hungry and you can offer them something that they want, they will pick it up no matter what. The photo above shows my standard barbel rig when ledger/feeder fishing on a river. The terminal tackle consists of a size 3 microbarb Owner hook tied to about 2ft of 15lb Fox Coretex coated Braid with a swivel tied to the other end. The braid reel line is then tied to the other end of the swivel and is covered with a knot protector bead so that it acts as a stop for the running boom. The boom itself is made using an ESP carp helicopter rig and a No3 quick change link for attaching leads and feeders. Something else I have started to do is make the hair-loop as big as possible and right up to the shank of the hook. The idea is to put an extra knot in the middle of the hair-loop itself, which allows me to fish either a single pellet or boilie, or two of each without having to mess about with the hair length, and also gives me two securing points for either option. And if the hair is a little too long with either one or two on, I just wind it around the shank of the hook until it sits just right. Because I use braid for a hook length, it doesn't want to uncurl like nylon, but if your unsure about it being loosely wound then you can always secure it with a blob of super-glue. Knots are important too so as not to damage the reel line and make sure that the braid grips the hook securely. Knot-less type knots that don't strangle themselves and damage the nylon are best. You can find lots of web-site's, like Anglers Net, which have sections showing rigs and especially knots.
I've tried various landing nets over the last few years, but the Wychwood Rover D shaped net above, is the best one that I have come across. Prior to this one I was using a Fox Predator 30" spoon, but the Wychwood beats it hands down. It measures 30" x 24" wide with a mesh depth of over 30". Its rated to 40lb catfish and will easily straight lift barbel up to 10lb without fear of it bending. The extra deep mesh also helps when recovering fish after a hard fight, as I usually ram the 6ft handle into the bank to secure it. The handle fits inside the connector block, but I found that my original handle fitted without a problem. At £20 or under, its a lot cheaper than a lot of carp nets, specialist barbel nets and the Fox Predator net.