It has been another fantastic week for the nation’s barbel anglers with some of the season’s biggest specimens gracing the bank from rivers at opposite ends of the country.
Darren Worton targeted a Christchurch Angling Club-controlled stretch of the Dorset Stour and set a new personal best for the species when a huge 16lb 9oz fish slid over the net.
After quietly creeping in to position he lowered a single boilie alongside a small mesh PVA bag of freebies over a marginal spot.
The rig had only been in position for a couple of minutes when line started stripping from his reel as the fish realised its mistake and made a bid for freedom.
“As soon as I made contact with it I knew it was a barbel – and a large one at that!” said the music promoter. “It tried to dive in to the weed but I managed to steer it clear and it wasn’t long before it was laying on the mat.
“I knew the river held fish of this size but they are few and far between and to beat my previous best by over 1lb was a special feeling,” added Darren, who used 30lb braided mainline to a 15lb hooklength and a size 12 hook.
Further north on the River Trent, Paddy Clampett experienced a similar level of elation after he banked a new pb barbel weighing 16lb 2oz.
Having gone almost three months without wetting a line, the Nottingham-based Stota Baits consultant headed to an overgrown and neglected spot on the middle reaches of the waterway and cast out a 14mm Foul Play boilie glugged in a new prototype additive.
“I was hoping I would land a double figure fish to get back in to the swing of things but I never expected to catch something as big as this within three hours of casting out,” said Paddy.
“Getting it in the net wasn’t plane sailing, though, as it found a couple of snags and it was a nerve-wracking 20 minutes before I finally got the upper hand.”