15lb 4oz barbel falls from the River Bure

One of the country’s smallest rivers has sealed its place on the big-fish map after Darren Gladden netted this huge 15lb 4oz barbel.

Norfolk’s tiny River Bure is scarcely targeted by anglers, but the Aylsham-based rod proved it is more than capable of holding its own against its more illustrious rivals when he netted what experts believe to be the biggest barbel ever landed from the venue.

With very little local knowledge available, Darren was forced to scour the river in search of an elusive beast and eventually stumbled upon a feature-filled swim that looked certain to hold big fish.

After landing several smaller specimens from the peg in previous outings, Darren finally hit the jackpot during a three-hour session.

“I knew there were some big barbel in the river and it’s great to finally get one out after losing a couple of lumps. This is the equivalent of a 20lb-plus fish from the River Wensum,” said an elated Darren.

Rather than spend countless hours behind the rods, Darren opted for quick-fire sessions of less than four hours at a time and was rewarded with his target specimen within less than a month of beginning the campaign.

Very few people had ever thought the River Bure was capable of throwing up a fish of national significance and Angling Direct tackle shop worker Paddy Garrett admits the capture has stunned local anglers. “You can jump over the river in places and it’s certainly a big surprise. I wouldn’t have expected anything near this big to be taken from the river,” he said.

Barbel historian Dave Mason has built up records of virtually every river in the country, but has never received a single catch report regarding the Bure.

“I’ve been making detailed notes relating to the barbel records of virtually every river in the country but I’ve never heard of anything from the River Bure until now. This is a very special fish that will go down in history.”

The specimen ¬ which fell 9oz short of the 32-year-old’s personal best ¬ was beaten on a lightweight leger rig which consisted of 8lb mainline straight through to a size 8 wide gape hook and 14mm Premier Baits boilie.