Thames barbel is new record

Carl Welch battled through the pain of a broken wrist and cracked ribs to bank the biggest barbel of the season and set a new River Thames record in the process with this 18lb 6oz specimen.

It was the first time that the Felton, Middlesex-based all-rounder had been able to get out on the bank since getting knocked off his bike while on his way to the waterway with all of his tackle earlier this year.

His efforts were rewarded, however, when he smashed his personal best after arriving at the venue at first light. And it only took 20 minutes for his tip to pull round after flicking out a 16mm Aqua Dynamix boilie in conjunction with a PVA bag filled with whole and crushed baits.

Due to his injury and the sheer power of the fish - that beats the previous venue record set by Guy Robb in 2005 with a barbel of 18lb 2oz - it took Carl over 40 minutes to land the historic specimen.

“The doctors told me to stay at home and rest, but it was like torture sitting there reading the Angling Times and looking at all of the big fish that were being caught,” said Carl. “So I just had to take some pain killers and get out there. I would have gone mad without being able to cast a line.

“When I finally got the fish into the net it was like someone was rewarding me for putting up with the pain and getting down to the river for first light.

“I didn’t know that I’d broken the river record until a few days after and that really got my head spinning. I’ve been fishing the River Thames for so long and it means a lot because it’s a venue that’s very special to me,” added Carl, who used a 15lb braided hooklink attached to a size 8 hook.