The River Rother barbel record has been smashed with the capture of an 18lb 9oz specimen.
The fish, caught by Ian Duffy, was banked from a Petworth and Bognor Angling Club controlled stretch of the Sussex waterway.
Amazingly, the Littlehampton-based rod only started targeting the species a year ago but his latest catch – which is also believed to be the biggest barbel to be recorded in the county - has seen him achieve what many big fish hunters wait a lifetime for.
Arriving at first light, he cast a running feeder filled with small halibut pellets and groundbait into a narrow swim and received the all-important bite just 20 minutes.
He told Angling Times: “I only joined the club this season so haven’t been fishing the river very long. I am so glad I joined, though, they have done so much work to improve the venue and have also been great by helping me to catch this superb fish – I’m totally hooked on barbel fishing now and have got a few other rivers in mind which I’m planning on targeting.”
The fish, which was weighed and witnessed by fellow club member Tom Beirne, is thought to have originally come from the nearby River Arun but could have entered the Rother during last year’s floods or via the new Environment Agency fish pass at Hardham which allows fish to pass between the two rivers.
Anyone wishing to join the club and fish both the Rother and Arun should visit their website at: www.sussexangling.co.uk.