16lb 7oz river barbel slips up to two anglers

This 16lb 7oz barbel is proof that some of the UK’s biggest specimens live in small rivers.
Luke Ayling followed up his recent capture of a 16lb 1oz fish from the River Thames when he switched his attentions to its much smaller   tributary, the Thame in Oxfordshire.
He scaled down bait size, too. Instead of the large homemade hookbaits that he uses on the Thames, the local specialist chose to incorporate Lone Angler Ocean Pride 14mm barrel baits wrapped in matching paste into his combi rig.
His Thame barbel beats the current river record of 16lb 2oz caught last year. And to show just how good he is on a variety of waters, Luke went on to land his first-ever barbel from the River Itchen – a fish of 13lb 4oz.
“I’ve really been on a roll recently and you’ve got to ride your good fortune while you can. Every big-fish angler knows that it doesn’t last for long,” said Luke.
“I can honestly say that my Thame fish was the hardest-fighting barbel I’ve ever hooked. The battle was a little hairy, to say the least.
“Then, just to cap it all off, a friend and I decided to have an hour’s barbel fishing on the River Itchen after a very successful day after grayling, and I achieved a very
long-standing goal of catching a real chalk stream barbel.”
Incredibly, the very same barbel that gave Luke his River Thame record also provided a day to remember for Philip Almond when he took part in a match with Cuddesdon Mill Village Anglers Association.
After losing a big barbel within 30 minutes of the beginning of the contest, he stepped up his tackle.
That proved to be the right move as his legered piece of meat was taken by the 16lb 7oz fish along with two chub of 4lb 14oz and 4lb 4oz, which combined to make a winning haul for Philip.