Barbel anglers are smashing their personal bests as some of the nation’s premier venues begin to hit top form.
Conditions have tested UK specimen anglers with many rivers running low and clear, but rivers such as the Trent, Severn and Wye have been producing exceptional fish for travelling anglers.
The best fish of the week sets a new personal best for Trent fanatic Steven Dawber when he won the battle with a 15lb 5oz specimen.
A feederfished halibut pellet tipped with a piece of imitation corn proved to be the winning tactic for the 18-year-old from Worksop, who beat the fish with 15lb mainline, a 10lb monofilament hooklink and a size 8 hook.
“I fish this river at least once a week because the sheer number of big barbel is incredible,” said Steven.
“But on my latest session I hardly saw another angler on the bank, which is unbelievable because you’d think that the quality of fishing would have people coming from far and wide.”
Adam Firth proved why seeking local advice is essential when searching for the biggest fish after the River Trent also provided him with a new personal best in the shape of this 12lb 14oz specimen.
The Korum employee leaned on the expertise of top specimen angler Ade Kiddell before his first session on the Barbel Society zone on the tidal reaches and decided to bait up with pellets and hemp.
A large feeder baited with a Sonubaits Code Red Hardened Dumbells was placed over the top.
“It was a 20-minute battle and, once in the net, it was clear that it was bigger than any other barbel I’d landed before. This is an incredible venue,” said Adam.
His successful tackle included Korum Running Rig Kits, a 5oz feeder and 12lb Xpert Power Mono hooklengths to a size 10 hook. He also managed three other barbel to 9lb 6oz.
Allowing a baited area to settle before wetting a line worked a treat for Darren McCann when he took his personal-best 13lb barbel from the River Severn.
Having made a journey of over 100 miles from his West Yorkshire home to the Welsh upper reaches, he quickly put down a bed of pellets before waiting for the fish to turn up.
Once the traps were set, a little patience was required before fish found his 16mm Hook Bait Company Arctic Red boilie.