The stunning front page image of this issue is of James Champkin proudly displaying a personal-best 4lb 5oz perch.
A stretch of the River Lea in Herts delivered the pristine specimen during a short morning session on the in-form waterway.
The Angling Trust employee was quivertipping a lobworm over a bed of broken hookbaits and maggots during a visit that also produced a perch weighing 3lb 1oz and another stripey over the 2lb mark.
Rivers across the UK are producing some of their best chub form of the season, and big-fish hunter Neil Wayte was certainly celebrating following the capture of this huge fish from the Thames.
It tipped the scales at 7lb 7oz and was fooled with a lump of homemade cheesepaste which he cast to an overhanging willow tree 40 yards across the river.
Neil walked three miles during the course of the day and he beat the specimen with 8lb line, a 6lb hooklink and a size 4 Drennan hook.
hree red maggots were the key to catching a record-breaking barbel from the River Itchen.
It weighed 16lb 10oz, smashes the current river best by 2lb 2oz, and was taken by 68-year-old Terry Lathwell from a swim on the lower river.
The giant also sets a new personal best for the Verulam Angling Club member from Borehamwood, Herts, whose simple feeder tactics also fooled another big barbel of 12lb.
“I always fish for barbel with maggot hookbaits and basic feeder tactics. I think too many anglers go straight to boilies and pellets, so maggots are now something a little bit different that the fish don’t see every day,” he said.
“The frame of the fish was hard to believe and it made my 30ins landing net look a bit inadequate.
“The fish had to fold a bit before I could bring it to the bank, it was so thick across the back.”
Terry used a rig constructed from 12lb Korum Reflo and a size 12 Drennan Super Specialist hook.
His Itchen record supersedes the current river best that weighed 14lb 8oz and was caught in 2014.
Good friend and respected big barbel angler Dave Currell, who’s banked specimens to over 20lb, was there to witness Terry’s historic capture.
“Dave told me that he didn’t even realise that the barbel went that big in this river,” Terry continued.
“My previous biggest barbel was a River Ivel fish weighing 15lb 2oz, which was a fish I was and still am very proud of, but this really is something else.”
This stunning picture shows former Drennan Cup champion Dai Gribble cradling a new personal-best pike that tipped the scales at an impressive 32lb 4oz.
To catch a 30lb-plus pike from a day-ticket venue is a rare feat, but the Korum-backed specialist was fishing Thames Water’s Farmoor Reservoir when he smashed his previous pb that stood at 28lb 14oz, a fish from the River Wye.
The 32-pounder took a floatfished smelt presented on a simple rig made from 20lb braid, a wire trace and size 8 trebles.
“At first I thought it might be a big trout, but you can imagine how I felt when I saw the enormous
frame of the fish as it rolled 5ft down under the boat,” said Dai.
“I’ve had some impressive fish in my time, but to have caught such a big pike from a day-ticket water is right up there with some of my best achievements in fishing.”
A day-ticket fishery has produced massive perch weighing 5lb 4oz, 5lb 1oz and 4lb 12oz for two big-fish anglers.
Thames Water’s Farmoor Reservoir is a tough nut to crack, but Paul Parnell and Angling Times columnist Paul Garner proved the 400-acre fishery’s predator potential.
Fishing the water split into two lakes known as No1 and No2, Reading rod Paul Parnell twice broke his perch personal best when he used a Ned rig to land the two five-pounders, backed by fish of 4lb 3oz, 4lb 2oz and 3lb 15oz.
All fell to a 4ins Zman Finesse Shadz at the Oxfordshire venue, and his biggest was 49 cm long.
“The fact that you can come to a fishery like this, pay your day ticket and catch fish like this is incredible,” said Paul.
“One perch over 5lb is something special, but to have two is hard to believe. It’s still sinking in.
Meanwhile, our own Paul Garner, has been targeting Farmoor for several years and his persistence finally paid off when he spotted a group of fish sitting beneath a shoal of fry on No1.
The Nash-backed specialist clipped on a Berkley Pulse Shad in Firetiger livery and cast in the direction of the fish.
After letting the lure hit the deck he started a slow retrieve, and it was then that the new personal best snatched his bait.
“Most of the time the perch are only seen when the odd big fish is washed up dead, but a 4lb 12oz perch was caught from the No2 reservoir last year by one of the wardens, so I had to keep trying,” said Paul.
“The last time I came close to catching a perch, in fact the last time I saw any on my echo sounder, was three years ago.
“So you can imagine what a surprise this fish was.
“I was expecting a trout to pop up by the side of the boat, but was blown away when a massive perch came up instead… what a fish!”
Our rivers have also been in great form for big perch, and a day’s fishing on the Trent turned into a session of a lifetime, topped by a 4lb 4oz perch, for barbel fishing fanatic Matt Marlow when he smashed his personal best in a swim on a tidal stretch of the river.
“Over the last few week’s I’ve fished the upper, middle and now the tidal reaches of the Trent with double-figure barbel from each, which is a right result,” Matt told Angling Times.
“I started fishing for predators with a small floatfished roach, but after getting seen off by a pike that was well over 20lb, I switched my approach to legering.
Hertfordshire’s Dan Sales knows a thing or two about catching big perch, and his latest session really produced the goods.
He and a friend targeted a stretch of the River Thames and fished a variety of tactics, including Texas and Ned rigs close to snags.
The two men shared the capture of eight big perch that were all over 42cm long.
A FIVE year campaign to catch one of the UK’s biggest known pike finally ended in success for Chris Darke when he slipped the net under a 41lb 12oz specimen.
The giant predator was taken on a free-lined, dead ide hookbait from renowned Northern pike fishing venue Wykeham Lakes near Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
Chris’ fish is reported to be the same specimen which has made the headlines several times, including back in 2014 when his fishing partner Wyndon Coole landed it for the second time at the record shaking weight of 46lb 11oz – the biggest pike ever caught in England.
It was Wyndon’s first effort however, which really inspired Chris, an engineer from Scarborough, to try and catch the huge predator.
“I've been trying to catch this fish ever since I netted it for Wyndon back in 2012 at the weight of 45lb 14oz” he said. “I have come so close to getting it in the past few years, including once when I watched it take my hookbait and drop it before I had the chance to strike."
"We hadn’t seen it for over 18 months before this week I started to wonder if I had missed my chance until it finally came along.”
THE BIG WYKEHAM PIKE'S TIMELINE
The fish first hit the headlines in November 2010 when schoolboy Jake Finnigan landed it at 40lb 11oz on a 7ft spinning rod...
Then in March 2011 it sent shockwaves through the predator world when Wyndon Coole put it on the bank at a much heavier 45lb 14oz...
Shortly afterwards Terry Knight caught the fish at a reduced 43lb 13oz, famously on film. The video has now had over 2.5 million views...
Then in 2012 Andy O' Connor raised the bar to 46lb with the fish, before Wyndon Coole caught it for his second time, at its biggest ever weight of 46lb 11oz. This was just 2oz under the British record...
Fast forward to January 2016 and the fish hit the bank again at 46lb 8oz to Darren Clark, quashing rumours it was dead. Now the famous pike has made its latest appearance, evidence it's still going strong after seven years of capture at weights over 40lb.
Another incredible week for big pike has seen a giant fish of 42lb 12oz topping an impressive list of predators.
Many experts believe that the current British record that stands at 46lb 12oz will be broken this winter – and this latest catch, one of the biggest pike ever from Somerset’s Chew Valley Lake, proves why.
It was boated by local angler and venue regular Matt Bridgwood, from Bristol.
He and other visiting pikers braved rough conditions at the venue that’s produced more than 30 fish over the 30lb mark since the pike trials began.
The 46-year-old carpenter smashed his personal best for the species by 6lb when he floatfished a small, fresh sardine in around 18ft of water.
“This is the pike fishing version of winning the lottery…you know what Chew is capable of but never dare to dream of catching something like this,” Matt told Angling Times.
“As the fish took the bait it ripped line off the reel and my rod just hooped straight over.
I knew straight away it was something special.
“It didn’t help my nerves one bit when it jumped clear out of the water… I’ve never seen anything like that and probably never will again,” added a delighted Matt.
Still at Chew Valley, well-respected pike angler Kevin Shore described the moment a 39lb 4oz pike slid over the frame of his landing net as ‘one I will never ever forget.’
The specimen hunter from Cheshire tempted the impressive predator with a floatfished smelt.
Chew’s sister water, nearby Blagdon Lake, has also been hitting the headlines since it opened its doors to pike anglers for the first time ever in 2017, and it was there that Kent rod Paul Sharman banked his fish of a lifetime on a pike fly – the only tactic allowed to be used here during the trials.
It tipped the scales at 39lb and was fooled with a goldfish pattern fly fished in conjunction with a 12 weight rod, an HD7 fast-sinking line and a 40lb wire trace.
“This fish is the pinnacle of my fly fishing career,” he said.
“I will probably never better it, but that won’t stop me trying.”
Also fishing Blagdon Lake’s first pike trial was Woking, Surrey rod Dave Sproston, who smashed his pike personal best by 4lb when he boated a 37lb 6oz fish.
Having being shown the best areas by experienced local guide John Horsey on a previous session, he put what he’d learned to devastating effect.
Warmer temperatures have seen big bream get their heads down, and Korum-backed Stephen Stones took advantage with this superb 16lb 15oz slab.
The bream was backed up by another of 13lb 7oz. Both came from an East Midlands gravel pit over a two-night session.
They fell to a 10mm boilie, tipped with a fake caster, over a spod mix of crushed 10mm boilies, pellets, hemp, corn and casters.
The River Thames produced the goods for experienced specialist Justin Beale when he banked an impressive haul of big perch topped by this 4lb 1oz specimen.
He fished a Keitech lure to beat the impressive fish, that he backed up with two more perch weighing 3lb 1oz and 2lb 8oz.
It’s time for you to vote for your favourites in the prestigious National Angling Awards 2017.
The power to decide who will win the most coveted awards in the sport is firmly in your hands following what’s been an incredible year for fishing – with several record-breaking catches, huge match fishing achievements and another memorable 12 months for angling on TV.
In a bid to reward the best in the business for their sterling contribution to fishing in 2017, Angling Times is calling on every reader to vote for their favourites below.
CHEW Valley Reservoir continued its big fish form for Christopher Taylor when he boated two 30lb pike topped by this giant 36lb 12oz specimen.
The Basingstoke angler visited the prolific fishery on the second week of the pike trials and also boated fish of 36lb and 28lb across the two days using a mix of smelt and garfish deadbaits.
He told Angling Times: “I’ve been fishing Chew since 2003 but always struggled to get into the big girls, but this year they were like buses.”
Another incredible week for barbel has seen an 18lb 1oz fish topping a list of huge specimens banked from rivers across the UK.
Colin Douglas made the drive down from the Scottish borders to fish the prolific River Trent worthwhile when he banked his first-ever double-figure barbel in the shape of the fish above, which is the second-largest specimen caught this season.
This wasn’t his only reason to celebrate as his session also produced two fish over 13lb, a 12-pounder and a handful of chub that all fell to Denham Baits Kranberry Enzyme boilies.
“I used to live in Cambridge so I often travel down the country to fish and see my friends, but I didn’t expect anything like this,” Colin told Angling Times.
“When my new ‘pb’ took off I was convinced I’d hooked a carp and it wasn’t until I got it in the net that I realised what a truly special barbel it was. I’m so glad I made the long drive down to the river.
“This season has been incredible for me as I’ve caught my biggest carp, zander and now barbel.”
Moving further down the country, Hertfordshire’s Steve Woodley also enjoyed a red letter day, but this time on the River Thames.
He banked three double-figure barbel with the biggest fish tipping the scales at 16lb 11oz.
Steve legered home-made 20mm boilies coupled with a small PVA bag filled with crushed baits, which also fooled barbel weighing 12lb 14oz and 12lb 4oz.
The River Trent also delivered the goods to Paul Mirfin when he banked a 16lb 8oz fish that he says was the hardest-fighting barbel he’s ever caught.
It was landed from an area that the 42-year-old from Nottingham pre-baited with Trent Baits shrimp boilies.
“I’ve baited the river every other night for the last month and it’s really paid off,” he said.
David Brice smashed his personal best for the species on the same river with a barbel weighing 16lb 7oz.
Boilies also did the trick for the specialist who smashed his personal best for the species by 2lb 15oz.
The River Derwent is famous for its big barbel and Derbyshire Angling Federation member Phil Needham fished meat over a bed of hempseed and casters to fool a 15lb 5oz specimen.
Last but certainly not least is Lincolnshire’s Nigel Bryans who fished a 3ft Twitch barrel bait wrapped in paste on a stretch of the River Nene to tempt a screaming take from a mint-conditioned 15lb 1oz barbel.
Simple maggot feeder tactics helped Ken Thompson to bag one of the biggest chub of the season – this 7lb 14oz specimen.
The Christchurch-based angler adopted the traditional method while fishing on his local River Avon on the renowned Royalty Fishery in Dorset.
The catch was just one of a haul of huge chub landed by the senior project engineer including another fish weighing 6lb 12oz during an arm-aching session on the day-ticket venue.
Ken tempted all his fish using a 2ft hooklength made up of 10lb braid to a size 16 Pallatrax hook baited with six red and white maggots.