A groundbait and meat attack has accounted for this stunning 17lb 4oz barbel for James Crameri.
Many experts have ranked 2014 as one of the best ever for big barbel and the Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk-based specialist further cemented this view when he banked the specimen from the Great River Ouse.
The majority anglers these day rely on pellets and boilies, but James began his session by introducing six balls of spicy groundbait laced with pieces of meat into two likely looking swims.
After persevering in the first for several hours without a bite he upped sticks and then cast his hair-rigged meat hookbait to a crease in the current. And 40 minutes later he received his first, and only, bite of the day.
“I hadn’t fished the river for ages, but in the last week or so I really got the urge to begin my winter campaign. The last thing I expected was to kick it off with a stunning fish like this though,” said James.
“Many anglers use relatively short hooklinks when fishing for barbel, but I like to fish one that’s around 4ft as this set-up is less likely to give you any false indications. I also used a PVA bag filled with groundbait and pieces of meat - a combination that’s great for creating an enticing scent trail in the water, especially when your chosen river is carrying a little extra colour and flow.”
James’ rig was made from a 12lb Korda Subline mainline, a 15lb Drennan E-S-P Sink Link hooklink and a size 10 hook.