River in top barbel form

The stunning barbel form of the nation’s rivers continued this week, helping specimen-hunter Phil Smith arrive at a historic fishing landmark after banking this 14lb 10oz barbel.

It was landed by the big-fish expert at the famous Fisher’s Green on the River Lea on the Herts-Essex border, and is his 20th double-figure barbel from as many different rivers around the UK ¬ a feat that has taken many years for the angler to accomplish.

Low and clear conditions initially saw the Coventry-based rod set his stall out for chub, but like any good angler he changed his approach as the river level rose, switching tactics to target the venue’s barbel population, using a 10mm boilie mounted on a size 16 hook to take the fish.


* Watford’s Stuart Court broke the 14lb barrier twice within a week after landing barbel of 14lb 12oz and 14lb 6oz.

Targeting the River Loddon, his hard work certainly paid off, with a simple running rig baited with a CC Moores boilie fished in conjunction with a pva bag filled with mixed pellets tempting both specimens.

* The River Ribble in Lancashire proved why it’s one of the best running waters in the north for specimen barbel this week, when Preston’s Neil McIver equalled his personal best with a 14lb 14oz fish.

It was his fourth consecutive session on the river, and even after limited success on previous visits, the specimen-hunter stuck it out with his pellet approach, to finally take the hefty specimens.