This is a picture of the biggest barbel of the season, weighing in at an impressive 17lb 4oz.
It was caught by Simon Buckman, who hit the headlines this time last year when he caught an even bigger specimen from the same low-stock, highly challenging ‘southern river’.
This time around the 28-year-old, from West Sussex, hit the jackpot after the onset of perfect weather conditions gave him a ‘gut feeling’ that the barbel would be on the feed.
“It was just like a replay of last year,” said Simon. “A wet and windy south westerly front rolled in and I knew I had to get to the river. I sat there all night in the wind and rain, and at about 4am my bite alarm let out a couple of single bleeps, before the drag on the reel began ticking. I knew it was a big barbel straight away, despite there being quite a few carp in the stretch,” he added.
The mighty fish – Simon’s fifth over 15lb in the past year - fell to a pair of hair-rigged 15mm Dynamite Source boilies, fished on an inline lead set-up with 18lb Drennan mainline, a 25lb coated braid hooklink and a size 4 hook.
The capture caps a brilliant few weeks for the full-time carpenter, during which time he has also banked roach to 2lb 4oz, carp to 25lb and another barbel of 14lb from the venue.
He said: “Other species have been attracted to one of the areas I have been baiting up for barbel and carp, including roach, so I thought I’d have a go for them with a feeder set-up and sweetcorn on the hook. I’ve had some nice fish, but my dream would be to catch a 3lb river roach.”