Mike Lyddon endured the most hair-raising fight of his life when he landed this 16lb 6oz personal best barbel from a Thames tributary on a rod that snapped moments after setting the hook.
The Gardner Tackle sales rep had prebaited a spot on the waterway for a week, introducing large quantities of particles, pellets and boilies in preparation for the session.
On arrival he flicked out a 14mm CC Moore Odyssey XXX boilie tipped with a piece of imitation and less than half an hour later his tip wrapped round.
Disaster struck just seconds in to the fight, though, when his rod broke, and with the fish still attached, he was forced to quickly improvise.
“When I first got the bite I thought I was in to a carp and then the rod crumbled,” said Mike. “I was using a centrepin reel so I was able to gently winch the fish and rest of the rod towards me and when I first saw the barbel I knew it was something special.
“It was my first session on the stretch this year and I’d dedicated the next couple of months to a big barbel. Incredibly, the mission was achieved within half an hour!” he added.
His successful rig consisted of 15lb Gardner Kinetic braided mainline and a Trickster Heavy hooklink attached to a size 8 Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip hook.
Further north, River Dove expert John Davey used his vast knowledge of the waterway to land a trio of barbel in a week for a combined total of over 40lb.
Targeting a Stoke-on-Trent AS-controlled stretch, the club chairman and professional coach located a shallow gravel run before baiting it with particles and Sticky Krill boilies.
On the opening session of the campaign he was rewarded with a 13lb 2oz barbel and days later the action continued with a 12lb specimen.
But the best was yet to come and he sealed a memorable hat-trick with a 15lb 4oz fish.
“I have fished the venue a lot in recent years and the biggest was my fifth over 15lb from the river. I was on the verge of heading home for the night when the fish took my boilie hookbait,” explained John, who used a 20lb hooklink and a size 6 Drennan Barbel hook.
“The Dove has produced lots of double figure fish to 13lb of late but few bigger so I am delighted with my latest achievement.”
For more details on booking a coaching session on the Dove visit www.johndaveygofishing.co.uk
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