This 13lb 8oz barbel, just ounces under the River Goyt record, is the crowning glory of a 25-year love affair with the Cheshire waterway for specimen angler Paul Bennet.
The Cheshire-based Environment Agency worker has spent over two decades looking after the river in his role as a fisheries officer and was handed his most rewarding capture to date when the fish fell for a boilie wrapped in paste.
With conditions far from perfect, Paul almost decided to stay at home rather than fish, but after hearing rumours of a few barbel being landed, he quickly gathered his gear and headed for a rarely-targeted stretch he knew had the potential to deliver the goods.
A small specimen fell to Paul’s tactics within the opening hour, before the beast gave a savage bite that was the start of a titanic battle. But, despite the fish’s best efforts, there was only ever going to be one winner and it was soon resting in the net.
“I was involved in the original stocking of barbel in 1990 when they went in as fingerlings and I have a gut feeling that this is one of those fish we introduced,” explained Paul, who has held the Goyt record for the species twice in the past with fish of 11lb 4oz and 12lb 2oz.
“There have been a quite a lot of double-figure barbel caught from the river and most of them are different fish, which is very encouraging for the future,” he added.
Paul’s successful set-up comprised 15lb mainline, a short 25lb Kryston Quicksilver hooklink and a size 10 Gardner Covert hook.