Record-breaking barbel and huge chub topped the list of specimens this week as the nation’s rivers produced an incredible end-of-season finale.
Anglers across Britain certainly didn’t let flood conditions stand in their way, and one of the men hunting a new personal best was Richard Easom, who targeted the River Trent and banked a massive 17lb 8oz barbel.
With only a few hours to spare until the beginning of the traditional closed season, the Nottinghamshire angler employed a cautious baiting approach that involved introducing a mixture of pellets and crushed boilies via a PVA bag.
His ploy failed to provoke an early response, but his patience was rewarded as the tip arched over with an hour of the season remaining. He said: “As I lifted the rod I felt a heavy resistance and I knew I was into one of the bigger residents.
“I felt in control for most of the fight, but it made one last desperate attempt to escape and I was forced to pile on as much pressure as I dared to get it away from the snags.
“I’ve had an extremely enjoyable season on the river and this was the perfect end to it,” he added.
Big barbel were also in plentiful supply on the Hampshire Avon, but nobody could quite match the achievement of Phil Nixon, who smashed the venue record.
The Ringwood DAA secretary slipped the net under the 16lb 15oz fish on the final day after it fell for his fishmeal boilie hookbait and he told Angling Times: “It put up an incredible scrap and it is a great feeling to smash not just the club record but also the river best.
“To catch it so late in the season made it really special and it’s a fish I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.”
He wasn’t the only angler to taste success on the Hampshire Avon as Pete Kibby came up trumps with a huge 7lb 13oz chub.
Having lost a fish early in the morning, he was determined to set the record straight and was given a major surprise just hours later. He said: “I returned in the evening with maggot feeder tactics and I couldn’t believe it when I managed to bank the fish that the hook had pulled out of in the morning.”
“Earlier in the season I had a 2lb roach from the Medway after a 40-year wait and this catch is well up alongside that achievement.”
The venue’s big roach were Tim Lennon’s sole focus and the shoals obliged when he took an impressive 2lb 14oz specimen.
It was his third biggest redfin ever and fell to feeder tactics with three red maggots on the hook, with only a few hours of daylight left. He employed 3lb Daiwa Sensor line straight through to a Drennan Specimen size 12 hook to tempt the huge redfin.
“In recent weeks I’ve spent a lot of time searching for a roach like this; they are becoming harder and harder to find,” explained Tim.
“Thankfully it all paid off on my last session of the season. It’s the biggest I’ve had for many years and is just 2oz short of my current river pb,” he said.
Piling in the bait eventually paid dividends for Neil Maidment when he caught a 7lb 11oz chub from the prolific Throop Fishery area of the Dorset Stour.
Floatfished maggots proved the downfall of the new personal best and he said: “I fed six pints of maggots and it seemed to get the fish competing, with a number of decent chub coming in the morning before the biggest if them all.”