Lone hookbait tempts 16lb 14oz Nene barbel

A single hookbait was all that Nigel Bryans needed to tempt this huge 16lb 14oz barbel from the River Nene.

The 50-year-old from Peterborough hit the headlines 12 months ago when he caught three 16lb-plus fish in a week, followed by the capture of the current river best of 17lb 8oz. And now he has taken his second ever biggest barbel from an undisclosed stretch of the east midlands waterway.

With a warm front and a bit of rain forecast, Nigel aimed to take advantage of the ideal conditions and after arriving at the waterway late in the afternoon he received his one and only bite of the trip two hours later.

“I had spent a short time walking the banks before deciding which swim to fish for the evening,” Nigel told Angling Times.

“When it’s dark I fish my hookbait on its own without any free offerings. This is because I want the barbel to home in on my hookbait as the main attractor and not be grubbing around on the bottom.

My favourite bait is a 1ins piece of luncheon meat which I flavour with a bit of garlic.”
Fishing 12lb mainline, a 15lb braided hooklink and a size 10 Nash Fang hook on a running leger rig, Nigel flicked his bait a third of the way across the river to a spot where he had a feeling the fish would be.

“I was sat under my brolly, trying to hold it in place in the strong winds, when I saw my rod tip going mad. I picked it up and the fish took me 20 – 30 yards downstream before turning around and heading the same distance upstream. It then tried to dive into the inside weeds but I managed to stop her and she was mine,” he added.