Matchman lands specimen barbel

You don’t always need to use beefy gear to land big barbel – just ask Johnny Maddison, who this week landed three fish together weighing over 30lb….while targeting dace!

The impressive haul, which ranks as one of the best catches of specimen barbel ever recorded in a fishing match, was taken from the Over Dinsdale stretch of the River Tees, where the Darlington-based rod banked the trio of fish on maggot hookbaits.

It took Johnny 45 minutes to slip his net under the first barbel, which was also the biggest at 11lb 10oz, due to the fact that he was unable to apply much pressure with his stick float set-up comprising just a 0.12mm hooklength and size 18 hook.

“I knew straight away when I hooked the fish that it was big because it took 40yds of line on its first run. It rolled in the middle of the river, and then the line got caught round its dorsal fin, which made it very difficult to land as there was increased pressure on the hook and I was trying to net almost 12lb of fish against the flow.” said Johnny.

“By the time I netted it the hook was almost straight, but after swapping it for a new one I continued to use the same set-up, aiming to catch dace, but ended up catching two further barbel of 10lb 7oz and 8lb.”

Johnny saw off 23 rivals to take first place in the CIU Teams of Four event, adding more than 10lb of dace to his barbel total. He finished comfortably ahead of runner-up Jon Banbridge, who put 23lb of dace, grayling and roach to the scales.

“The stretch is not known for big barbel. Most match anglers fish for the dace, aiming for a total weight of 20lb to 25lb. This is probably the biggest barbel catch this stretch has ever produced!” Johnny added.