Britain’s anglers have enjoyed their best start to the river season for many years.
As thousands of anglers returned to running waters after the three-month break, Angling Times has been inundated with reports of sensational catches from rivers across the country as every species went on a feeding spree.
Chub, roach, perch, bream, rudd and zander have all been caught in specimen size, but barbel were at the top of the list for many.
As ever, the Trent didn’t disappoint, with a group of enthusiasts sharing the capture of 70 barbel from the river above Nottingham, topped by a 13lb 12oz fish by Rotherham’s Carl Stansfield. Meanwhile, Gunthorpe Weir produced a 12lb 2oz barbel for Nottingham’s Patrick Clampitt.
All fish were caught on legered APG Bait’s Hot Liver boilies.
“It was an amazing start to the season, as five or six of our lads included loads of double-figure fish in their total catch,” said APG Baits’ Aaron Hind, who also runs the fishing at Gunthorpe Fishery on the Trent.
The Trent also produced double-figure barbel for County Durham’s Simon Ashton, who set a new personal best with a 12lb 15oz barbel that was part of a 31-fish catch from Collingham.
In addition, angling legend and Trent expert Bob Roberts also got his river season off to a flier with an 11lb 15oz barbel.
Moving further south, the River Lea in Hertfordshire produced the goods for Scott Hamilton when he banked a 7lb 10oz
personal-best chub. After baiting a spot, he waited four hours until his only bite of the session produced the huge fish, which fell to a boilie hookbait.
The Severn is famous for its big zander, and predator fishing expert Chris Lowe was celebrating during a session with friend Tim Maslen from Severn Expeditions.
Theyboated a number of ‘zeds’, including two doubles, with the biggest caught by Savage Gear-backed Chris, which weighed
14lb 6oz and set a new best.
Fen drains hold some of the biggest rudd in the UK and Hertfordshire’s Dan Sales caught a cracking specimen on trotted breadflake on his first cast of the new season.
Lure fishing for river predators continues to grow in popularity and Mansfield-basedLee Coupe fished the Trent and used drop shotting tactics to land a pristine predator of 44cm.
It’s not been all about big, individual fish either, as rivers such as the Nene, Swale, Ouse, Thames and Warwickshire Avon have produced some huge nets of bream, with many anglers recording three-figure catches.
Gareth Purnell prebaited a swim on the Nene between Tansor and Cotterstock for the opening weekend and was rewarded with a cracking bag of big bream to over 7lb, all caught on the pole along the middle of the-river.