One of the most prolific closing weeks of the river season ever proved why more anglers are returning to UK rivers as countless huge specimens and record-breaking catches hit the bank.
Match angler Andy Sharp became the envy of the specimen fishing world when he trotted maggots on 3lb line to bank the biggest chub of the season that tipped the scales at 8lb 4oz.
He was happily catching small dace and roach under the far bank vegetation on the famous King’s Weir stretch of the River Lea in Hertfordshire when the huge fish took his double maggot mounted on a size 18 hook.
“The river started to come up and that’s when all hell broke loose as I lost a big chub and then soon after I hooked another monster that turned out to be this 8lb 4oz fish,” said Andy.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played a fish so carefully in my life because I was using such light gear in a very snaggy swim. I was shocked when I saw how big this fish was.
There were no surprise specimens in store for Ray Ravenhall during a session on the Warwickshire Avon, but he made history when he took a record-breaking 198lb 6oz net of bream.
The Chairman of Worcester and District United Anglers Association fished the feeder filled with groundbait, casters and chopped worms to land 49lb bream averaging 4lb apiece at the clubs stretch at Pensham during a five-hour contest.
It’s a catch that beats the previous best for the stretch that stood at 135lb and was caught 10 years ago.
“This was an amazing end to the season and if I hadn’t lost a fish on the final whistle I would have caught made a ‘double ton’, but who can complain after a day’s fishing like this,” said Ray.
“It’s been an incredible year for the rivers as more and more anglers are have been making a return to running water.”
The last cast of Paul Elt’s river campaign saw him smash his barbel personal best when he won the battle with a superb 16lb 3oz specimen during a session on a tributary of the River Ouse.
The Dynamite Baits and Drennan-backed specialist from St Neots, Cambs, hair-rigged a small piece of legered meat that was flavoured with ‘The Crave’ and fished in conjunction with a pva bag filled with finely chopped pieces of the same bait.
“I looked over my shoulder as the sun began to set and thought to myself this is the time for a bite and I looked back at the rod, the tip twitched and I was in. I couldn’t have written it any better,” said Paul.
Moving north and the little-known River Goyt in the North West produced only its second fish to ever top the 14lb mark, which was banked by local specialist Jerry Gleeson.
He kicked off his session with a 10lb 5oz fish and then a switch from a straight lead to a feeder filled with pellets saw him land the impressive fish with an imitation piece of bread from The Hook Bait Company.
The 2014/15 season will be remembered by many as one of the best ever for big perch and Watford’s Stuart Court proved why when he landed his best ever haul of the species.
The Watford-based specialist netted a brace of fish that weighed 4lb exactly and two other perch at 3lb 13 oz and 3lb 10 oz after he baited a swim on the River Lea with chopped worms and alternated a feeder and straight lead tactics with a worm hookbait.
Sticking with the predator theme and the River Thames further proved its pike fishing credentials when Martin House smashed his personal best with a huge 28lb fish.
Fish weighing 21lb and 13lb also fell to the Surrey angler when he fished a sardine on size 8 trebles.
Two days fishing on the famous River Wye gave Adam Fisher the perfect end to the season when he was rewarded with a trio of 20lb-plus pike.
The 36-year-old fished float-legered sardines to take fish of 22lb 8oz, 22lb 3oz and 21lb 12oz, plus another of 17lb 8oz, from the margins of the river and slacks behind bushes.
Angling Dreams fishing guide Adam, used Esox trace wire with size 4 and 6 hooks and 50lb braid and admitted to the loss of a monster which said ‘felt like a sunken canoe’.