18lb 15oz fish tops huge river hauls

One of the biggest barbel of the year, weighing in at 18lb 15oz, has topped an impressive list of big-fish catches this week as we enter what’s widely regarded by many anglers as the best time of the year to target specimens.

Well-known speci angler James Crameri banked the giant that smashed his previous personal best of 17lb 11oz after dark during a session on the Great River Ouse near Milton Keynes.

Targeting a swim that had never produced a barbel for him in the past, the Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk-based, Radio DJ legered single 15mm boilie on a 10lb hooklink with 12lb mainline in conjunction with a PVA bag of crushed bait to lure the exceptional fish, as well as a further two barbel of 10lb 3oz and 8lb 6oz.

The catch means James has now landed three different barbel over 17lb from three UK rivers.

“It just goes to show you should never ignore a swim that hasn’t produced for you in the past. As long as there’s a feature or a little cover offered by something like a raft of weed, the barbel won’t be far away,” said James.

- Barbel fishing fanatic Andy Myers needed just an hour on the River Kennet recently to smash his barbel personal best with a 17lb 3oz specimen.

Armed with an Adcock centre pin reel, 8lb Maxima line and a simple running leger rig, the Thatcham-based specialist scaled down his terminal tackle to incorporate a size 10 hook with a 8mm pellet.

But his run of form didn’t end there. Visiting the venue the next morning, Andy worked his magic to fool another specimen of 16lb 9oz.

- Elsewhere, 18-year-old Adam Smith, from Wimborne, Dorset, showed experience beyond his years to take a new personal-best barbel from a free stretch of his local River Stour.

Legering a boilie wrapped in homemade paste, the specimen angler took the big barbel that weighed in at an impressive 16lb 1oz.

- The River Lea also proved its big-fish potential when it provided local Herts-based accountant Rob Ellis with a stunning boilie-caught 15lb 2oz fish.

- And Maidenhead’s Dan Ward had a great session on the Thames, equalling his personal best with a 15lb barbel, backed up by another specimen weighing 13lb 5oz, with both fish falling to pellets.