Chub and barbel dominate the start of the river season

It’s been a dream start to the season for Britain’s army of river anglers.

Perfect conditions on many of the country’s waterways have resulted in a string of big fish, confirming expert predictions that 2015 could be one of the best seasons ever for pleasure, specimen and match anglers.

Venues from as far north as the Swale in North Yorkshire down to prolific southern waterways such as the Hampshire Avon, Dorset Stour and Frome have all seen day-ticket and club members take advantage of ideal water levels.

But one venue stood head and shoulders above the rest this week. The River Trent proved why it’s regarded as the best river venue in the UK and carried on its incredible run of form from last season, when it produced several huge barbel to a best of 17lb, chub to over 7lb and many 100lb-plus mixed nets over the first few days.

“It’s been another amazing start and I know dozens of anglers who have been catching huge chub and barbel, carp and massive catches of bream and other species,” said Stotabaits boss and River Trent regular Joey Mackerel.

“One of our field-testers, Jamie Newton, from Clifton in Nottingham, banked a 7lb personal-best chub followed up by a 14lb barbel. I haven’t known a start to the season like this as I’ve heard of so many great catches from venues across the country. I really think this season could be the best for years,” he added.

The 17lb barbel came from a stretch of the Trent in Nottingham and was banked by Lee Waters, who legered a Stotabaits Wandering Dragon boilie. Unfortunately, as he was fishing alone, the local angler couldn’t capture a quality image of the specimen.

The Derbyshire Derwent was also in top form for barbel. One of the biggest specimens included an impressive 13lb 5oz fish caught by Derby’s Scott Birkinshaw on a legered pellet during a session on the Earl of Harrington’s AC stretch of the river near Derby.

Moving further south, the Warwickshire Avon produced a fine 13lb 4oz barbel for Stephen Harrison, who made the long trip from his hime in County Durham’s. The fish fell during a first-day session when Stephen legered a paste-wrapped boilie over a bed of hempseed.

It’s not just the Trent that’s been producing big chub, either. The first cast of the new river season will be one Russell Tebbs will never forget after he landed a
7lb 13oz chub that smashed the controlling club’s record for the species out of sight.
Fishing a Newport Pagnell Angling Club-run stretch of the River Great Ouse, the Bedford rod slipped the net under the huge fish, which sets a new club record by 11oz as well as a personal best. It fell to a pellet hookbait.