Fly Fishing For The Threespot Barb

Targeting Threespot Barb On Fly

Threespot Barb (Barbus trimaculatus)

Blurred Picture Of A Threespot Barb

The Threespot Barb is not a species actively pursued on fly tackle or most other forms of fishing tackle for that matter. This fish is often a bycatch species, or they are targeted by artlure anglers in competitions. The Threespot Barb has the scientific name of Barbus trimaculatus, and was first identified in Southern African waters in 1852. This fish is characterised by 3 dark spots on its body. One before and one after the dorsal fin, and a lighter spot closer to the tail. This small freshwater fish species can attain a length of close to 20 centimeters, and can be a very aggressive fish.

They are also known in Afrikaans as the Ghielie, or Ghieliemienjie, which is a broad term used to describe a variety of Barb and Minnow species. The Threespot Barb is a close relative of the Dashtail Barb, which is not found in South African waters.

More Info On The Threespt Barb

The Threespot Barb is a fish that is often used for aquariums and fish ponds and tanks. It is quite a common fish within its range, and is very adaptable to a variety of habitats. They are prolific in lowveld dams and larger bodies of water in South Africa, and are quite common in the Vaal and Orange River systems. They prefer to congregate around areas that have vegetation, whether floating, submersed or on the bank of the waters they occur in. The Threespot Barb feeds on insects in these environments as well as plant matter and other small organisms. Breeding happens in Summer after the first good rains, similar to Yellowfish spawning, and the breeding mature adults move upstream where the females lay up to 8000 eggs.

Fly Fishing For The Threespot Barb?

Fly fishing for the Threespot Barb can be done to great success, but more often than not fly anglers are targeting other species such as Yellowfish, Mudfish, Kurper, Papermouth and Trout. So the Ghieliementjie is generally a by catch species.

The best way to go about specifically targeting the Threespot Barb with fly fishing tackle, would be to use the smallest and lightest fly fishing outfit you have. A o weight combination would be ideal for this. Otherwise you can use any setup and catch these fish on smaller flies as by-catch. Depending on what flies you are using will determine your technique. For small nymphs, drift them over the areas where the Threespot Barb are holding, which is often around structure, banks and vegetation. You can target them on very small dry flies as well, which can be fun. A slow retrieve or a short and fast retrieve should do the trick with wet flies. Floating line is best for targeting the Threespot Barb.

The best fly fishing flies to use for catching the Threespot Barb would be:

Wet Flies/Streamers

Dry Flies


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