Babel fishing in the Vaal River can be fun but also very frustrating as I have blanked many a day... Where no matter what you throw into the water they suffer from "lock jaw"...
Tackle: - Normal sliding rig (very effective / easy)
- 50lb+ braid in the Vaalriver (there is a lot of obstruction - weeds, trees, branches etc.)
- Mustad Demon Circle hooks sizes 6/0 - 10/0 (depending on the size of your bait) - personal preference.
- Kingfisher Leader line 0.8 - 1.0 in the river (1m leader)
- Power swivels
- Sliding sinkers (egg / oval shaped)
- Rubber beads (stops the sinker from damaging your knot on the swivel)
Baits: - Barbel hunt mainly via smell..
- Muddie head (No.1) - crushed / gill plates off
- Muddie fillets with belly (No.2) - wrapped with gost cotton
- Plattie (will catch a lot of barbel but smaller in size)
- Day-old chicks / birds (only where there are birds nesting close/above the water)
- Earthworms / Chicken livers (large bunch) on a normal J-Hook
- Crabs (you might catch a nice large mouth yellow as well)
Drifting your bait in the river will be very frustrating as there is to much obstruction - you will get stuck. Babel hunt mainly by smell so if your bait is constantly moving around it will be difficult for them to "zone in" on the bait... If you really want to make use of a float - cast a plattie into the rapids and watch it float into the pool at the bottom of the rapids - you might catch a monster yellow as well.. Rather find a deep hole or visible obstruction (large tree in the water / close to reeds etc.) and place your baits there.. be patient.
Normally I start fishing for barbel at about 10:00 - 14:00.. then I would change or place fresh baits for the next session, from about 16:00 for the night session..
That is my 2c regarding the Vaal River.. if you have any more questions feel free to ask - and don't spend to much time preparing your baits - barbel are practically blind they hunt via smell - the fresher the bait the better.. just keep things simple..