Many anglers spend years trying to catch a 15lb-plus barbel – but Mark Edkins achieved the feat on one of his first ever sessions targeting the species.
The Bournemouth-based management consultant had been fishing his local Dorset Stour for chub over the last few weeks, but when the heavy rain changed the conditions on the waterway he decided to have a go for the river’s famed stock of big barbel.
After an uneventful session in a recommended swim, he decided to head further downstream where he suspected the fish might be held up and baited up with a mixture of hemp, 6mm halibut pellets and crushed boilies via a bait dropper before casting out a double 10mm boilie hookbait on a size 10 ESP Raptor hook and 12lb braided hooklink.
“Around lunchtime I had my first bite and struck into a decent fish,” the 35-year-old told Angling Times. “It was clearly not a chub and after five minutes I netted my first ever barbel which weighed in at 8lb 8oz.
Once his prize had been safely returned he rebaited the swim but the next few hours passed without event.
“I decided to make some subtle changes to my rig as the water was pushing through and coloured. I replaced my 3oz lead with one of 4oz to make sure my bait wouldn’t get dragged along the gravel bed. I also shortened my hooklink to around 6-7 inches so that I could spot bites quicker and threaded an 18mm and 10mm boilie on to the hair snowman style before trimming them down slightly to make them look more natural.
His alterations paid off in style an hour later when his rod wrapped round and he hooked in to his second fish of the day
“It felt much larger and it dived in to the streamer weed several times before I was able to net it. I couldn’t believe it when the scales registered exactly 15lb on the scales so I called the local bailiff to come and help with the photographs. It was a beautiful fish, incredibly fat around the middle and was thankfully very obliging for the camera.”