16lb 10oz barbel taken on mince

A packet of supermarket mince and a huge home-made feeder were instrumental in the capture of a 16lb 10oz personal-best barbel.
This combination not only helped Gary Walsh land his biggest ever fish, but also provided him with three others over the 15lb mark weighing 15lb 8oz, 15lb 6oz and 15lb 2oz.
The Oxfordshire specialist admitted that he’s never known the fishing to be so good on the River Thames and this, combined with an unusual feeder mix coupled with a meat hookbait, has helped him capitalise on the incredible big-fish form of the waterway.
“I put the mince in a washing-up bowl, separated it with a fork and added a sprinkling of Krill-flavoured groundbait, then left it to stand for an hour or so,” said Gary.
“Then I repeated the process, which not only imparts a great flavour into the meat, but also helps separate it so that the meat doesn’t just become a solid lump in the feeder.
Gary also used his engineering background effectively as he made his own feeder with a metal mesh that he shaped around an aerosol can.
He then covered the outside of the feeder with glue and rolled it in wood chippings to create a camouflage, which helped him tempt these huge fish from highly-pressured areas.
“You don’t get many chances from these fish. You’re often fishing for a single bite, so that’s why I only make two highly accurate casts and then leave the rig in the water without reeling in,” Gary said.
“This might seem like a lot of effort to some people, but it’s these little edges that will set your presentation apart from someone else’s.
“I also dust my meat hookbait with the same meat groundbait that I add to the mince.”