17lb barbel hit for matchman

A matchman who’s been barbel fishing for only five months has banked one of the biggest braces of the species in history.
Former British match record holder Craig O’Brien banked two barbel of 17lb 10oz and 17lb 8oz, along with another fish of 13 lb 11oz during an incredible session on the River Trent.
The Birmingham match ace took a break from 15 years on the competition circuit during the summer, and since then has banked 27 double-figure barbel from rivers across the UK.
But despite his unprecedented success with the species, nothing could have prepared him for the day’s fishing that unfolded on the banks of the venue that many believe could produce the next British record.
“This barbel fishing is that easy I might have to go back to the match scene,” joked Craig.
“It really has been incredible as I really can’t do anything wrong at the moment. Some of my specimen fishing friends are a little miffed to say the least – they’ve now nicknamed me ‘golden balls’.
“I was a specimen angler before I got into match fishing and used to fish all the famous carp waters such as Wraysbury, Savay and Yatley, so it’s not as if I haven’t targeted big fish before.”
The biggest barbel sets a new personal best for Craig, who once held the British match record with a 308lb 6oz net of carp taken from Earlswood Reservoir. He tempted the fish with feeder tactics and a home-made krill and coconut pellet.
It’s not just the Trent that has produced huge fish for him – he’s also banked doubles from rivers such as the Avon and Severn.
“I love travelling to different venues in search of the biggest barbel because they all offer a different challenge,” he said.