Huge barbel taken from the Fishers Green stretch of the River Lea

Half-an-hour in the right place can be worth a day in the wrong one. Just ask Richard Borley, who banked this superb 15lb 2oz barbel during a 30-minute evening session on the Fishers Green stretch of the River Lea.

The local rod beat his previous best by 2oz when the fish gobbled up his spicy luncheon meat hookbait in a swim with little previous form.

After finding the river up and coloured, Richard decided to settle in an area on the inside of a bend in the hope that a few fish would be sitting in the steady flow. He was proved right just 20 minutes after casting out when his rod-tip swept round, signalling the start of a dour fight.

“It felt like a dead weight and barely moved to begin with. I had no idea how big the fish was - it just kept plodding away for what seemed like ages.

When I finally managed to slip her into the net and switched my headtorch on for a closer look, I was blown away. I didn’t bother fishing on after that ¬ after all, I don’t think I’d have caught anything bigger!” said Richard.

The former England matchfishing international had barely wet a line for over 18 years until recently, and now admits to being hooked on specimen fishing.

“When I was on the match circuit I never understood the appeal of targeting big fish, but I can honestly say I’m now enjoying my sport more than ever before.

“It all started with Keith Arthur giving me a bit of stick online about not being on the bank, so I decided to dust off the tackle and I haven’t looked back since ¬ I’m well and truly addicted!” he added.

The fish was beaten on 12lb Progold mainline, a 12lb braid hooklink  and a size 10 Drennan Barbel Specialist hook.