Specimen angler Geoff Collins topped off a phenomenal week for barbel enthusiasts when he took the biggest brace of the season with fish 18lb 10oz and 15lb 12oz from a Midlands river.
Sport on running waters up and down the country has stepped up a gear during the mild temperatures and the Northamptonshire rod became the envy of thousands of others when he took the unforgettable duo – which also included the biggest individual specimen from any venue this season - on a lump of homemade paste.
With the water coloured and rising, he embarked on a quick evening session and it didn’t take long for him to break his previous best by 8oz with the smallest of the pair.
The best was still to come, though, as a delicate tap on his rod tip turned into a solid wrap round. “It charged off to the far bank and five minutes later I saw the silhouette of the fish - it looked huge,” he said. “The first attempt at netting it failed but I didn’t make any mistakes on the second chance.
“I couldn’t believe what I was looking at when I saw it on the matt. I’d smashed my pb twice in an hour and all the disappointment of not fishing much this year soon disappeared,” added Geoff, who used 12lb mainline and a size 7 Drennan Barbel hook.
Lewis Baldwin also achieved his season’s goal of setting a new personal best for the species when he caught a 17lb 10oz barbel just a foot from the bank.
The 32-year-old, from Stratford-upon-Avon, broke his previous ‘pb’ by 3lb 10oz when he set his sights on a midlands river.
Recent rainfall had caused the water levels to rise so he presented his boilie hookbait close to the near bank where the flow was at its weakest. He also introduced minimal bait due to his chosen stretch being heavily pressured.
A bait dropper full of hemp at the top and bottom of his swim was enough to keep the specimen in the area and a tiny PVA bag filled with two crushed boilies was nicked onto his size 7 Nash Fang hook that was finished with a hair-rigged boilie.
“On stretches which see a lot of pressure it’s important not to overdo it on the bait front,” he explained. “I only really add the PVA bag to ensure that my hooklink straightens out and gives me a good presentation.”
Joe Royffe needed just an hour at one of the UK’s toughest river fisheries to smash his barbel pb with a 15lb 6oz fish that topped a brace of specimens for a combined weight of 27lb 4oz.
The venue regular used 12 CC Moore Meteor boilies wrapped in matching paste and hooked the biggest of the pair just 10 minutes after casting out at the Fishers Green stretch of the River Lea in Hertfordshire.
Shortly after returning the specimen his rod tip was pulled round again resulting in his second double of the session at 11lb 14oz.