Armed with just two tins of meat apiece, West Midlands-based Dan Jones and Tom Shakespeare used their local knowledge of the middle reaches of the River Severn to great effect when they cast their simple float rigs out into the fast-flowing water.
Nothing could have prepared the 21-year-old employees at Angling Direct in Halesowen for the session that unfolded as they banked an incredible 56 barbel between them to a best of 9lb 6oz.
Not only did the passionate anglers prove what the Severn is capable of after both individually taking their biggest-ever weights from the river, but they confirmed what many locals have long suspected – you don’t have to spend a fortune on bait to get the best out of your swim.
“We’ve walked miles locating the barbel and once we found them in the fast, oxygenated water we only needed our hookbaits. Neither of us fed a single thing,” said Dan.
“I lost count of the number of times that we were playing fish simultaneously, and we could have had a lot more as I had a break for an hour in the middle of the session when my dad came down and had three or four fish from the swim.”
Their successful rigs featured Drennan Loafer floats, 8lb mainline tied straight through to size 6 hooks and pieces of meat ripped from a chunk of Bait-Tech N-Tice Polony for hookbaits.
Not only did the duo have their fill of barbel, but their tactics also proved the downfall of several chub.
“I ended up with 31 barbel and Tom had 25.
“The average size of fish was around 6lb, but we had a few others well over the 8lb mark, and I had the biggest at 9lb 6oz,” Dan continued.
“It was an incredible day’s fishing and one we’ll never forget.”