Another chapter in the history of the famous Royalty Fishery was written this week with the claimed capture of a 17lb 8oz barbel…to fly tactics.
The fish – which if caught during the traditional coarse fishing river season would have broken the venue’s existing best by 1lb – was taken by Jason Lewis, the man who owns the company in charge of the illustrious stretch of the Hampshire Avon.
The Ringwood, Hants-based angler, who runs Southern Fisheries, was targeting salmon in an area known as Jack’s Corner with a 9ft single-handed rod and an own-tied Hare’s Ear fly when the new pb made an appearance.
It weighed eight kilos according to Jason’s salmon fishing scales, which were later verified by Davis Tackle – a shop that sits a stone’s throw from the venue.
“I’m really not interested in records, but to catch a fish like this on the fly is not only a great achievement for me, but also really good news for the river…even though it was a complete accident,” Jason said.
“When I first saw the fish I thought it was a carp because it was so thick across the back. But as I’m 6ft 5ins tall and 18 stone, I always seem to make fish look small in the pictures.”
Due to the distinctive feature on the upper part of the barbel’s tail, which resembles a dagger, the fish is known by many of the fishery regulars and has been caught in the past to a best weight of just over 14lb.
Nigel Grey owns Davis Tackle, which sells tickets for the Royalty Fishery, and he personally checked Jason’s scales soon after his historic capture. It’s his opinion that this only further cements the Royalty’s reputation as one of the UK’s premier barbel fishing venues.
“Jason’s scales gave a reading of eight kilos, which converts to 17lb, but our test revealed they were weighing 8oz light, hence the final figure of 17lb 8oz,” said Nigel.
“This is a known fish and I’m totally amazed that it’s come out at this weight,” he added.