An unprecedented three barbel river records have potentially been shattered in just a week, Angling Times can exclusively reveal.
Increased rainfall has reinvigorated the country’s rivers following months of low, clear conditions, with three different water systems throwing up huge specimens to prove that the fish are back on the feed.
The first to fall was the Thame, with Oxford angler Stephen Harris taking a fish of a claimed 15lb from the river, breaking its current record by nearly 2lb.
“I was fishing a nice gravel run in about 3ft of water,” Stephen told AT.
“After having a 5lb chub, a couple of chucks later the top of the rod plucked and I struck into the barbel which powered off down the river.
“When I got it on the bank I was shaking so much I had to get my mate to weigh it and the scales went to 15lb on the nose.” Stephen took the big barbel on rolling meat fished on a size 6 hook to 10lb line.
Also breaking records recently was the River Ure. Fishing a stretch of the waterway near Harrogate, specimen-hunter Gage Whyte got in an early start to take a fish of 11lb 10oz, 8oz heavier than the current record.
Presenting a halibut pellet on a size 10 Drennan Super Specialist hook at the end of a 15lb braid hooklength, the 23-year-old was fishing feeder tactics with groundbait and pellet offerings. The tactics worked perfectly, with Gage hooking the big barbel not long into the session.
“It was a hell of a fight,” said the Leeds-based angler. “It took over 10 minutes to get the fish into the net. With the help of Barbel Fishing World I’ve now had the fish confirmed as the new Ure record.” A third mystery fish and potential river record was caught from the Wye.
Weighing in at a claimed 16lb 12oz, the specimen was caught by an unknown angler on the Moccas Fishery stretch of the Wye at Letton, and although the only image of the fish is poor quality it shows the shape of a fish that’s clearly huge.
The capture was, however, witnessed by a reliable and well-respected local angler who is a member of Three Counties Fishery that runs the opposite bank of the Wye to where the fish was caught.
The angler, who doesn’t wish to be named, spoke to AT about what he saw: “I was on the opposite bank when I saw this chap hooked into something powerful,” he said.
“He was fighting the fish for a good 15 minutes before it broke the surface. My bank was higher, so I saw it before him and it was a huge barbel.
“He weighed it at 16lb 12oz. Unfortunately he didn’t have a camera, so I did what I could with my camera phone.
“I’ve caught double-figure barbel before and seen 14 pounders in the flesh and this one dwarfed them. It was massive, very long with a large belly,” he added.