A SHORT evening session on the River Thames resulted in this personal best 16lb 11oz barbel for Ian Brooker.
With the waterway fining down and still holding plenty of colour the Oxfordshire-based Drennan International employee knew there was a strong possibility of getting a bite from one of the venue’s elusive specimens.
Arriving at a local stretch just after dusk he cast out two large glugged pellet hookbaits in conjunction with a PVA bag of freebies just a couple of rodlengths from the bank. To hold bottom in the strong flow he had to use a 5oz lead and kept a large bow in the line.
“Because of the pace and the amount of rubbish coming down the river I was only able to keep my rig in position for about 40 minutes before it began to move,” the 28-year-old told Angling Times.
“It wasn’t that long in to the session when it started to slowly bounce round again and I was about to reel in to recast when I received quite a subtle bite. I struck into it and knew immediately that I was into a good barbel. I thought it was probably a low double but because it was dark and the water was so coloured I didn’t actually see the fish until I lifted it out of the water – I then realised my initial estimation was a little on the low side.
“The stretch only holds a handful of big barbel but it does get very busy so I’ve only managed about six sessions on there. Before this I’d managed barbel to 12lb from it along with a few chub and bream so I was delighted to break my old pb with this 16lb 11oz specimen.”
Ian, who presented his hookbait on a size 8 ESP T6 hook and a 4ft 10lb fluorocarbon hooklink, has now turned his attentions to specimen perch for the rest of the winter.
“So far I’ve managed perch of over 3lb from a local commercial stillwater and another from a southern river,” he added.