17lb 4oz barbel in amazing week for species

Rivers have hit peak big barbel form with a string of double-figure fish to 17lb 4oz.
Action stepped up a gear on countless popular venues as water levels rose, and it was Colin Hebb who slipped the net under the biggest barbel from the River Trent.
The Hull angler found his chosen stretch in perfect condition and used two rods with contrasting approaches. One swas baited with a boilie hookbait, while he took a gamble with a lobworm on the other – a wise decision as it turned out.
Just before midnight the alarm screamed into life, and Colin said: “The fish had taken the lobworm and instantly made four powerful runs. In the net it didn’t look that big, but when I lifted it out I realised it was huge.
“I couldn’t believe it when the scales went round to 17lb 4oz – a personal best and a fish that will prove difficult to beat.”
Well-known specialist Phil Smith continued his rich vein of form when he banked one of his biggest ever barbel weighing 16lb 12oz.
A simple running leger rig did the trick for the Coventry rod when the specimen took his hookbait an hour after darkness fell on a river in the Midlands.
“I got to the swim at around 2pm and introduced 10 dumbell boilies into the swim and then a further 10 just before it got dark,” said Phil.
“This is the first time I’ve ever used anything from MAD baits and it really did the trick, as this barbel is right up there with my very best.”
Further south, the River Thames delivered the goods to Adrian Eves when he banked his biggest-ever barbel from the venue.
It went 14lb and came during the Fox and Dynamite Baits-backed angler’s first session of the season. It fell to Crave boilies with a small PVA bag of four baits nicked on to a size 8 hook.
The Surrey specialist also landed a 4lb 14oz chub, which was beaten on a semi-stiff 15lb hooklink.
Bob Edwards took a pair he will never forget from the Hampshire Avon, fish of 12lb 7oz and 14lb 2oz. Having located numerous big barbel, he introduced a few home-made boilies and allowed the shoal to settle before lowering an identical hookbait over the top.
Bright sunshine enabled him to watch a double-figure fish slurp up his bait, and after a tense battle the smaller of the two was beaten.
Just days later he returned, adopted similar tactics and managed to go one better. He said: “I had to wait until dusk before the centrepin came to life and the fish ploughed straight into the weed.
“I applied plenty of pressure and thankfully things went my way and the second of a fantastic brace for the week was soon being held in front of the cameras.”
Korum-backed star Rob Thompson was another man who took advantage of the sudden improvement in conditions.
During three outings in the space of a few days he took six Derwent doubles to a best of 13lb 6oz.
Lesley Winks showed she had lost none of her skills after a 20-year break from the sport when a personal-best 13lb barbel fell to her Dynamite Baits Source boilie on the Warwickshire Avon.
The Birmingham angler’s first night session back bore fruit almost immediately, and she said of the capture: “I knew it was a big fish as it tore off and really tested my rig to the limit.
“I was over the moon once it was in the net and it’s certainly fed my appetite to get on the bank regularly from now on.”
A trial session with a new bait ended in fine style for Julian Barnes when the St Neots angler took a 13lb 7oz barbel from the Great Ouse.
A yet-to-be-released creation from MAD Baits was the offering that proved to be to its liking.