17lb barbel from the Dorset Stour

Ryan Arnold was hoping to catch a double-figure barbel during the Christmas holiday ¬ and his wishes were certainly granted when he braved the cold to land this huge 17lb specimen.

The long and lean fish, which is the biggest example of the species to come from the Dorset Stour all season and falls just 1lb 1oz short of the venue record, was banked by the 15-year-old on a hair-rigged lamprey boilie fished alongside a PVA bag of crushed baits.

It obliterated Ryan’s old personal-best barbel of 9lb 8oz and was the result of his only bite of the session, coming just an hour after setting up a simple running leger rig.

The Bournemouth-based schoolboy is no stranger to big fish, having caught river roach to an impressive 2lb 14oz and chub tipping the scales at 7lb 1oz.

“I can’t get enough of river fishing and I go every spare minute I get,” Ryan told Angling Times.

“Everyone knows that this river holds some real giants, but I never expected to catch one this big ¬ to be honest I would have been happy with any fish over my old personal best. It was such a powerful fish and took me fully 20 minutes to land. Now that I’ve ticked a big barbel off my list I won’t be taking it easy because I love catching specimen fish of all types. I’m always looking for an edge that’s going to help me catch my next big one.”