Records fall as massive barbel feed

Venue records and personal bests fell left, right and centre on rivers across this country this week as barbel sport went into overdrive.
Mild temperatures and rising water levels switched the species on to the feed on numerous iconic waterways, and those factors helped Jerry Brown bank a 16lb 2oz fish that smashed a long-standing record for the River Lea in Hertfordshire.
The Essex-based angler had been minutes away from packing up during a day on the Kings Weir stretch when the biggest barbel ever landed from the fishery fell to his tandoori flavoured meat hookbait.
Jerry told Angling Times: “The fishery manager suggested I reposition my rigs slightly while fishing close to an overhanging tree and once I did, I had no signs of an offer for almost three hours.
“With the rain pouring down I was on the verge of going home, but then the alarms went off and once the barbel was in the net it was clear that I had easily beaten my previous best by almost 5lb.
Meanwhile, over on the River Trent, big-fish specialist Tony Smith got a lot more than he bargained for when a 16lb 9oz barbel fell for his barrel-shaped boilie.
Tony had kick-started his session just before darkness, but he was unable to land any of the venue’s heavyweights during the night.
However, that all changed when at first light he found himself attached to something very substantial.
“The fish made a violent run to start with, and then headed 30 yards back upstream until it was in front of me,” he said.
“I could feel it was a big fish but I didn’t appreciate quite what a giant it was until it rolled on the surface.
“This catch once again confirms what a fantastic big-fish river the Trent really is,” he added.
Derbyshire Derwent enthusiast Julian Barnes experienced a week that many can only dream of when he took six double-figure barbel to 13lb 6oz.
Using MAD Baits boilies on the in-form river, the St Neots-based angler kept the bites coming during a manic few days on the bank.
His campaign ended with no fewer than four 11lb plus fish and a 12lb 7oz specimen before the biggest of the lot came to the net.
“It was a remarkable few days and although I fancied the conditions, I never expected to land this many double-figure barbel,” explained Julian, who also took several chub to over 6lb to put the icing firmly on the cake.
Ian Timms pitched up in a swim that many would have discounted on his latest trip to the Hampshire Avon, but his decision paid off to the tune of a mammoth pair weighing 14lb 5oz and a pb 15lb 11oz.
The Worthing-based angler set his stall out in a peg that was less than three feet deep and introduced a mixture of hemp and crushed boilies just a rodlength out.
Just after midday his centrepin reel screamed into life, and after a short battle the smaller of the two barbel was beaten.
Several hours of inactivity then passed before the action kicked off again. Later Ian said: “I have been barbel fishing for 35 years and this is the most incredible session of them all.”
Last but not least, Mark Smith took one of his biggest River Nene barbel of the season when a 12lb 11oz fish fell to a boilie wrapped in paste.
Heading to an overgrown swim that was rarely fished by anglers, it took the Peterborough angler less than half-an-hour in the spot to tempt the all-important bite.