Pair of specimen River Dove barbel landed

A QUICK bite on Andy Cartlidge’s first session of the new season resulted in his target fish for the year – this 15lb 14oz barbel from the River Dove.

The Stoke-on-Trent-based engineer began the trip by baiting up with a few handful of boilies and then rested the swim for an hour before casting out.

His patience was then rewarded when his tip was pulled round within 10 minutes of positioning his rig in a gap between two overhanging willow trees on the far bank.

“I couldn’t quite believe it,” the 44-year-old told Angling Times. “I’d spent all of last season, fishing at least once a week, trying to catch this particular barbel and then had it on my first session since the river reopened.

“It was funny really, as I was fishing with my mate John Davey and we saw the fish roll in his swim. It must have swam over his baits and then taken mine instead.”

Andy mounted an 18mm Frank Warwick Baits Relish boilie on a 3ft Sufix Camoskin hooklink and a size 6 hook.

On the same waterway, Michael Jones smashed his personal-best on the first day of the river season with a 14lb 2oz barbel.

After spending a couple of hours on the bank without any indications, Michael decided to pack up his gear and move to a different swim further upstream closer to a weir. His efforts were rewarded when his large piece of hair-rigged luncheon meat was taken by the impressive specimen at 5am.

“This fish beat my previous pb by nearly 3lb,” explained Michael. “I was over the moon. I asked a nearby angler to take the catch picture for me and we were both stunned by the size of the fish. It was a great first day to the river season and hopefully I’ll be fortunate enough to catch a few more like it over the coming months.”