Huge 15lb 14oz barbel from tributary of the Thames

It was the turn of a rarely mentioned river to grab the headlines this week as Kelvin Sherman banked this 15lb 14oz barbel from the Thame.

The country’s major rivers, including the Trent and Derwent, have produced countless double- figure barbel since the start of the season, but the Oxfordshire angler smashed the tiny Thames tributary’s best by almost 1lb during a short session on his local stretch.

A spur-of-the-moment trip was quickly arranged and, armed with just a couple of tins of meat, Kelvin put a large lump on the hook and loosefed a few smaller samples over the top.

Signs of life soon appeared in the swim and quick reactions were required at the start of the battle. He said: “There was no mistaking the bite, as the rod was almost taken off the rest.

“A lot of the time you pile the pressure on for a short while and then the fish is in the net, but 10 minutes into the fight I still hadn’t set eyes on this one.

“When it did finally come into view it ran off again, and I felt the line grind against some snags. I must admit I feared the worst and cringed, but it seemed my luck was in as the rig stayed in place and I eventually slipped the net under the fish.”

The capture – which beats Kelvin’s previous best by 1lb 7oz – was achieved on a leger rig made up of 12lb Daiwa Sensor mainline to a short Drennan Sink Braid hooklength and a size 8 hook.

Kelvin is now urging other big-fish enthusiasts to pay more attention to the lesser-known rivers on their doorstep. He added: “A lot of people don’t realise the full potential of small waterways like the Thame, but they are home to some of the biggest fish the UK has to offer.”