Angling Times/Bait-Tech Supercup 2019 rules

Angling Times/Bait-Tech Supercup 2019 rules

How to enter

Each club must enter a squad of anglers into the event. Along with an entry form and the £30 entrance fee, each secretary or captain must supply a squad list of anglers (minimum 10 anglers, maximum 20 anglers) that will be used to fish the competition.


Squad names can be changed only with the permission of Angling Times. Should any team wish to make a change at any point in the competition, they must submit written notification to Angling Times BY POST ONLY – NOT BY TELEPHONE. Please note that teams will be allowed to request their opposition’s team sheets before the match. Should the team on the day not match that on the submitted teamsheet AND Angling Times has not been notified of any changes made then the team in question will be disqualified immediately.


With more anglers turning their back on the open match scene and settling into the club scene, the standard of angler fishing Supercup has increased somewhat. With this in mind, our sponsored angler policy is as follows:


Any team with sponsorship from a tackle or bait company will not be allowed to fish, even if this ‘deal’ means a few bags of bait or clothing. Shops fishing under a tackle shop or fishery banner are permitted. If a club is deemed to be the above, that side will be refused entry.


Any angler with a consultancy or sponsorship from a tackle or bait company will not be allowed to fish, even if this ‘deal’ means a few bags of bait or clothing or a few floats. This also includes field testers. Anglers of a high profile will also be barred from entering as Supercup is not the event aimed at them.

Angling Times and Bait-Tech only will judge what ‘high profile’ means and captains will be informed of any changes that need making to their teams. If a team does fish an angler deemed to be either of the above, that side will be disqualified immediately, not just the angler.

Sponsorship mid-competition

If a team has one of their registered members join a sponsored team or gain personal sponsorship from tackle or bait companies during the 2019 campaign, then they will not be allowed to take any further part in the competition. They will also not be allowed to take part any further in the future of the event until their sponsorship ends, even if they are a valid team member. If an individual has sponsorship through being employed full time by a tackle or bait company (not sponsored), then this acceptable.

Non-transferable anglers

Teams can enter as many squads as they like, but if fishing two sides, they must supply two separate squad lists with two different sets of anglers. These respective squad members will be non-transferable between the two squads whether they have fished or not.

Cup tied

Likewise, an angler who fishes for one team in the competition, cannot then transfer to another that he/she is a member of – this angler will in effect be ‘cup tied’ and unable to take part further in the event for any side.


The number of rounds to be fished will depend upon the number of teams that enter in each area with the format being two knockout rounds, one Semi-Final in your own region, and the final.

Round one will be a knockout between two or three teams, depending on the draw and the number of teams entered in your local area.

Round two is a match with again two or occasionally three teams competing, again with one team drawn as the home side as before, the other team coming from the same region.

The winning team from this round goes through to their regional Semi Final, either the North, Midlands or South, the top seven from these Semis then going through to the Grand Final.

The draw

The draw details for each round will be fair and independent and the first round draw will be published in Angling Times in Tuesday March 5 2019.

All home-drawn teams will be instructed on who to contact from their rival team or teams and, at each side’s request, all sides will be expected to supply their squad list to the other team involved in the match. 

Venue selection

Home-drawn teams will have the choice of venue for the fixture ONLY. These venues must be large enough to comfortably accommodate the match and give every angler and equal chance to fish every method at their disposal.

Match dates

The date for ALL first round Supercup ties will be the weekend of Saturday April 13 and Sunday April 14 2019. These are the ONLY dates matches can be fished unless of cancellations owing to severe weather, in which case an extension will be granted. It is expected that teams will decide amongst themselves which day their tie is to be fished. Second round matches are to be fished on the weekend of Saturday June 22 and Sunday June 23 2019 and the same protocol is to be followed.

If a team has a prior booking that clashes with these dates, then they must decide between fishing the Supercup of forfeiting their place in the event to honour their original commitment. 


If you enter Supercup and are drawn as a home team then your chosen venue is expected to be within easy travelling distance for all teams concerned – not the other side of London or three counties away!

Practice dates

The home side should also allow the away team to practice twice on the fishery chosen for the match and must designate the pegs or rough area of the venue to be used, whether it is a club or privately owned water. If these pegs change, all parties MUST be informed. These practice dates must be weekend dates and not midweek.

Fishery rules.

Fishery rules will apply, whether a commercial or club water. Home teams are expected to make their opposition fully aware of these rules to avoid confusion on the day. The home team will have no power to dictate fishery rules unless they own the venue in question.

Number of anglers.

All first and second round Supercup ties will be SIX A SIDE.


ALL Supercup matches will be decided on section points, NOT weight. Sections will contain one angler from each competing team, so will be made up of two or three anglers and will be decided as follows in a tie of three teams:

One point for a section win

Two points for section second

Three points for a section third

In the event of a blank, the angler in question will receive one more point than the last in section score. So, in a two team tie, a blank will score three points. If there is a tie on weight, both anglers will receive the points score for that position, not half points.

In the event of a tie on points overall, section countback will be used to decide the winners – for example, the team with more section wins or seconds will triumph. If there is still a tie after this then aggregate weight will come into play.

Length of match.

All Supercup matches will be five hours long.

Placing of anglers


Severe weather

In the event of cancellation due to severe weather conditions, matches will be granted an extension for the tie to be fished. ONLY severe weather conditions will permit this, not any other reason.

Semi finals

The three Semi finals are to be held at venues to be announced and at this stage, teams will be restricted to teams of SIX anglers to allow us to fit the matches in on these waters. The winners will be judged on section points.

The final say

The adjudication of Angling Times and Bait-Tech on any matter relating to the competition will be final and absolutely no correspondence will be entered into.

13lb 6oz barbel – on a float!

Greys Tackle Consultant and master floatmaker Andrew Field got a real surprise when on a recent session on the River Trent his homemade float buried with a colossal 13lb 6oz barbel.

The 42-year-old from Cambridgeshire said: “It’s a giant of a fish considering it was caught trotting maggots. I have been trying to break the 13lb float barrier for four years and was beginning to think I’d never manage it. 

“Trotting maggots is an excellent way of targeting barbel, but they seem to stop intercepting small moving baits around the 10lb to 11lb mark. Perhaps they become too large and cumbersome to make it worthwhile.”

Andrews’s trotting set-up consisted of a 15ft Greys Tactical Float rod coupled with a Mitchell MX9 3000 reel loaded with 7lb 6oz Reflo line. The float, his own creation, was shotted with five No4s down to a size 14 hook carrying two red maggots. 

Andrew has now been making his own floats for the past 10 years – this one certainly did its job! 

Andrew Field 13lb 6oz Trent barbel on the float.jpg

‘I thought it was a snag. Then it started to move’

Lewis Porter admitted to being ‘on cloud nine’ after boating this new personal best 31lb 8oz pike during a session afloat on a large Fenland gravel pit. 

Fishing alongside boat partner Matt Rand on the 100-acre venue, the pair caught more than 30 pike during an action-packed day, all of which fell to lure tactics.

Lewis Porter.jpg

Lewis, who lives in Lincolnshire and works for tackle giant Fox, said: “When the fish hit the lure everything just went solid. To be honest I thought I had hooked a snag…but then it started moving! 

“After a few minutes it rose up in the water next to the boat and Matt said ‘That’s the biggest pike I’ve ever seen’, which certainly got my knees knocking. We didn’t see the fish again for 10minutes as it proceeded to pull the boat around, and I was a bag of nerves the whole time because I was using a lure with only one set of trebles. Thankfully everything held firm and we soon had the beast in the net.” 

Lewis used a 14cm-long Fox Rage Pro Shad Natural Classic lure in Super Natural Perch colours to tempt the huge predator, which beat his old personal best by 20z. 

Another piker celebrating a pb this week is Stewart McCandlish, who slipped his net under a huge 36lb 2oz fish five hours into a day session on an undisclosed venue in the Lake District. 

The 26-year-old, from Sedbergh in Cumbria, legered a popped-up herring at 40yds to beat his old best for the species by more than 17lb. He mounted his baits on size 6 trebles and a 40lb wire trace.

Stewart McCandlish.jpg

barbel go on the munch... big time!

The remarkable recent run of huge barbel catches shows no signs of stopping as specimen anglers continue to cash in on one of the best autumns ever for the species.

Once again the Rivers Thames and Trent have dominated proceedings, with three 16lb-plus fish landed from the bang-in-form waterways.

On the former, Robin Cave upped his personal best by almost 4lb with a 16lb 12oz cracker from his only bite of the session. He primed a swim for two consecutive nights before fishing, introducing a mix of 6mm halibut pellets and 20mm Frank N’ Indian boilies.

Robin Cave 16lb 12oz barbel copy.jpg

“I cast out at 4.30pm and at 8pm the rod smashed over. Straight away it felt very different to any barbel that I’d caught before – the power it had was immense and it just wouldn’t give up!” said Robin, who used a 20mm boilie wrapped in matching paste, with a PVA mesh bag of crumbed boilies and pellets nicked on to the hook.  

Big boilies were also the successful hookbait for Stuart Taylor’s 16lb 12oz barbel, this time from the middle reaches of the River Trent.

Stuart Taylor 16.12 Trent barbel.jpg

The Manchester rod had already banked nine barbel to 13lb 7oz in his two-night session when one of his two rods ripped off not long before he was due to head for home. Interestingly, all his bites up to that point had come on his other rod, which he had placed slightly downstream, carrying a feeder packed with pellets.

Stuart said: “The rod that accounted for the big one was fished straight in front of me on straight lead tactics and a hair-rigged 24mm Hydra-K boilie wrapped in paste. As it neared the time for me to leave, it ripped off for the first time in two days! A very powerful fight followed, and after 20 minutes I netted her… with an aching arm and shoulder!”

Another angler to enjoy Trent barbel success this week was Ian Potts, from Macclesfield. The Vortex-Baits sponsored rod was targeting a stretch of the middle Trent where he landed a
16lb 3oz barbel on an Enzyme Active Squid Liver boilie, presented on a straight lead set-up with small PVA bags of loosefeed. Ian returned to bank another heavyweight of 15lb 1oz just a few days later.

Ian Potts 16lb 3oz Trent Barbel.jpg

Finally, down on the River Lea in Hertfordshire, Mike Staines beat his pb by more than 1lb with a fine fish of 16lb 8oz from the King’s Weir stretch. 

Mike (68), from nearby Cheshunt, used a semi-fixed bolt rig and a 12mm pellet hookbait, and beat his fish using a centrepin reel loaded with 12lb line.

Mike Staines.jpg

2lb 1oz roach from a river

Former Angling Times reporter Jake Benson has been in fine form, highlighted in the capture of this very special river roach of 2lb 1oz (above).

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Jake targeted a Midlands river not traditionally known for the species after spotting a small group of redfins there in the summer.

Recalling the capture of his new personal best Jake said: “To catch it the proper way, on trotting gear, from a river, made the capture far more special.”

The fish was caught on the stick float with a double caster hookbait presented alongside a decent helping of hemp.


17lb 2oz zed sets bury hill record

The Old Lake at Bury Hill has had its zander record smashed with a monster 17lb 2oz fish.

The big zed was caught by Angling Trust Building Bridges Project Officer and venue regular Janusz Kansik, during an evening session at the Surrey venue with his father.

The fish is believed to be one of three big zander stocked into the Old Lake from the nearby Temple Lake in 2016 - all of which weighed around 16lb at the time. This is the first reported capture of one of these elusive beasts.

Janusz said: “The zander was 78cm long and weighed 7.8kg, a great looking and very strong fish At first I thought it was a carp, but when I saw it just by the edge of the bank, my legs started to shake.”

Bury Hill record zander.jpg

“fishing must change to survive” claim experts

Trendy’, ‘cool’ and ‘sexy’ aren’t words usually associated with the public image of angling. However, experts believe this needs to change quickly if we are to secure a safe future for our sport, Angling Times can reveal.

hooked into the biggest grayling of the day.jpg

The news comes out of a specially organised ‘think tank’ at Solihull’s Barston Lakes, where leading figures from the sport’s governing bodies and concerned anglers met to formulate a plan to reverse the current decline in rod licence sales.

Their ideas would be used to contribute to the forthcoming National Angling Strategy – an initiative designed to increase participation in angling over the next few years. 

Adam Browning, of the Angling Trust, and the Environment Agency’s Tom Sherwood pitched the Strategy after statistics revealed an 11.5 per cent decline in rod licence sales.

They told the audience: “Angling is an asset of immense significance, generating £1.4 billion for the British economy every year, as well as supporting 27,000 full time equivalent jobs. 

“After the sharp decline in rod licence sales it’s essential that we act to present angling to a new audience.”

Most agreed that to the uninitiated, the public image of fishing is a negative one – typically a middle-aged man sat on a riverbank, in the rain, catching nothing.

Carp Team England manager and TV presenter, Rob Hughes, strongly believes it’s this image which needs to change quickly to attract new anglers.

He told us: “We need to make fishing trendy and sexy to disprove the stereotypical image of a boring and lonely angler on the bank. 

“Using digital media to convey this is pivotal to its success, and by making exciting and engaging content we can introduce the public to angling in a different light.”

As an example of the potential impact of  of online angling promotion, it was revealed that an image of David Beckham fishing with his sons generated the most interest of any angling-based social media post in years, quickly amassing over two million ‘likes’.

Sarah Collins, CEO of Get Hooked On Fishing, endorsed Rob’s idea.

She said: “When I first walked into a tackle shop I found it an uncomfortable place where I was looked upon in an unfriendly light. 

“For angling to appeal to a wider audience we must give it a fun, safe, family-friendly image. Without this people are put off before they’ve even wet a line.”

One of the greatest river perch hauls ever!

A phenomenal haul of specimen river perch topped by a monster of 4lb 4oz has been taken by specialist James Champkin.

Brace Shot - 4lb 4oz & 3lb 8oz.jpg

The arrival of colder weather seems to have spurred the nation’s sergeants into a feeding frenzy, and this latest catch is further proof that now is the perfect time to target one of the country’s most sought-after coarse fish

James, who works for the Angling Trust, took advantage of the sudden cold snap to bank nine perch over the 3lb mark, including the four-pounder, from a stretch of the River Lea in Hertfordshire.

Over three short trips, none of them more than a couple of hours long, the Leighton Buzzard angler used worm and maggot tactics to fool all nine stripeys, in what turned out to be a fishing fortnight to remember for the 25-year-old. 

James said: “I’ve managed to find perch in a new area of the river to me so far this winter, and the results have been amazing.

“All fell to a quivertipped lobworm while I sprayed red maggots over the top to attract small prey fish. The pace of the fishing at times was frantic, with bites coming from the moment the worm hit the riverbed.”

James tempted his fish on 1lb tc Avon rods with ultra-fine, 0.5oz fibreglass quivertips to encourage positive bites from the perch. 

Completing the set-up was 6lb mainline and 4.4lb fluorocarbon hooklengths connected to size 8 wide-gape hooks. Two SSG shot were mounted on a short length of line to form a running link-leger.

“Despite what many people say, I’ve found that big perch often give very positive bites when you use a fine tip, slowly pulling the quiver right round,” James added.

“If you do receive a very delicate bite it inevitably results in a pike! 

“I’d actually caught a jack pike earlier that morning and as soon as I hooked the big perch I just thought it had to be another pike, such was its weight and power. 

“It powered off and I had to really give it some stick – expecting a pike to pop up I wasn’t too concerned about losing it, but suddenly I saw a flash of black stripes and I started to play it a bit more carefully!

“At 4lb 4oz it was just 1oz short of my personal best but no matter – what a perch it was!”

4lb 4oz - Best Photo 3.jpg

John Wilson's greatest catches through the years.

John Wilson, who passed away at his home in Thailand earlier this month, enjoyed some outstanding moments during his 60-plus years as an angler.

Here are some of the highlights, in his own words… Extracts taken from ‘Sixty Years a Fisherman’, published in 2008 by G2 Publishing and available via Amazon in Kindle format


Young Wilson, who must have been six or seven at the time, spent his pocket money on some size 20 hooks to nylon, 10 yards of green flax linen line and a small tin of ‘gentles’, as maggots were commonly called in those days. I also invested in a brightly-coloured ‘Day-Glo’ bobber float.

Few of the fish we caught in those days, though we didn’t realise it at the time, had the physical strength to pull such bulbous floats under. Hence the term ‘bobber floats’ I suppose, because all they ever did was ‘bob’.  

A cheap and noisy ‘clicker’ (centrepin) reel was fixed with insulating tape to my designer ‘garden cane’ rod which Dad furnished with rod rings made from safety pins.

With this outfit I happily caught tiddlers from Whitewebbs Park Brook in North Enfield and the New River, which then flowed swiftly, sweet and pure right through Enfield and around the town park.  



My regular fishing mate, Doug, and I fancied fishing further afield from our local River Lea – where we would stand a chance of catching really big roach and bream. We answered an advertisement in Angling Times and had a week’s fishing holiday at the Watch House Inn in Bungay, Suffolk, which was just a short walk from the then magical River Waveney. 

We joined the Bungay Cherry Tree AC which controlled much of the fishing and, employing simple trotting tactics, caught mountains of quality roach from the main river and the many streams using stewed wheat. Even the tiniest drainage dykes were so full of roach it was staggering, and there and then I vowed one day to live among the roach-rich rivers of Norfolk and Suffolk. Ironically that reason for living in East Anglia no longer exists, thanks to cormorants, abstraction and farming policies. From the deep and swirling Falcon weir pool in the centre of Bungay I even caught my first-ever 2lb roach, also on a grain of stewed wheat. 

As its massive head-shaking shape came up through the clear water I just couldn’t believe roach grew that huge. I can still picture it now, lying on the landing net, immensely deep in the flank, with shimmering scales etched in silvery blue and fins of red. All 2lb 2oz of it. It made a 15-year-old a roach angler for life.



IN my late teens in the early 1960s I used to relish all-night bream bashing sessions on the middle reaches of the Great Ouse. They averaged perhaps 2lb-3lb with the odd 2lb-plus hybrid for good measure. 

By legering bread paste or flake, eels were avoided and in favourable conditions bites could be expected consistently throughout the night, following heavy groundbaiting with mashed bread and bran. 

The St Neots to Little Paxton beat was my favourite, particularly St Neots Common where a flood dyke joined the main stream. 


Remember 1976 and that heatwave? No sophisticated electronic bite alarms and boilies, thermal one-pieces and two-man bivvies, no carbon, boron or Kevlar wrapped rods, although I did atest fish that year with one of the first prototype carbon trotting rods ever produced. But we did have one precious asset which for the most part is not there today: roach in our rivers. Personally, I would much prefer to go back to those days of less gadgetry when you could trot a swim that actually had roach in it.

My diary book started in January 1976 with a mountainous glut of incredibly large roach, because the clear-flowing upper reaches of Norfolk and Suffolk rivers were as prolific with quality roach then as they are barren today. My diary entries for 4 January 1976 – despite a severe overnight frost and snow showers – included roach of 2lb 9oz and
2lb 10½oz from the Wensum at Taverham in the ‘rushes’ stretch. Both came long trotting.

On January 5 I caught a roach of 2lb 2½oz plus a string of others over 1lb. On January 7 I achieved a huge bag including five over 2lb, the best being 2lb 13oz. The next day I got a roach of 2lb 3oz followed, on January 11, by fish of 2lb 1oz and a 2lb 7oz. Then I caught a 2lb 4oz roach on January 12. Many of these came in very short sessions fitted in before I had to set off to open the shop. It was fairy-tale fishing. It was just too good – unreal almost.



Cauvery River, India. No sooner had I feathered the bait down to the bottom following a long-cast from halfway along the straight, where a huge slab of rock hung out over the river, than there came an arm-wrenching pull, which almost had me off balance and into the swirling water. Instinctively I knew immediately that this fish was big, very big. I had never before felt such awesome power and I immediately started to worry that it might zoom off downriver and over the rapids, a situation I would have been powerless to stop. 

1980s a.jpg

Fortunately, it spent the best part of the hour-long battle under my own bank, within a huge undercut, where current force over countless years had carved out a veritable underwater cavern. Try as I might, I could not prise the unseen monster from its lair and out into open water. I was at a complete loss, using up most of my own energy and powerless to stop the line shredding each time the mahseer lunged with its huge tail and bored further into the undercut. My arms were aching, my wrists were aching and my stomach was extremely painful where the rod butt dug in. I never believed that a close-range struggle could be so tiring, and every so often I had to ease off the pressure to relieve the pressure on my own spine – I obviously wasn’t as fit as I had thought.

By now Andy and Bola were also crouched on the rocks with cameras rolling and it was Bola who offered to climb down to water level and heave the huge mahseer on to terra firma. It was something he did with unbelievable strength and agility. That was amazing because Bola couldn’t possibly have weighed much more than the mahseer which scaled an incredible 92lb. 


During September 1994 I was to make one of my finest catches ever by landing no fewer than nine double-figure bream in one session from a 13 foot deep swim in a secluded 25 acre Norfolk still water I call the ‘forgotten lake’. I marked an area in the middle of the lake with a buoy and heavily prebaited it for the two previous evenings with a mixture of stewed wheat, casters, maggots, chopped lobworms and brown breadcrumbs. 

I was confident of some action and arranged for the video cameras to be there. A thick mist hugged the lake from dawn until late morning which, although it restricted our filming early on, encouraged the shoal of bream to continue feeding far longer than they would normally have done. 

This resulted in my enjoying unprecedented sport using a sliding float rig baited with a lob tail. Initially I had started with two 13 foot float rods but quickly put one away as bites were happening within a short time of the lob tail settling on the bottom. I had the choice of accumulating the largest catch of huge bream ever recorded, or taking the time whilst fishing to go through baits and explain in detail my sliding float arrangement with all the inevitable waiting around (when I could have been catching) that filming demands. Frankly I reckon I could have caught 20 or even 30 of those ravenous bream.



Fraser River, Canada. On our first move downriver I immediately connected with something very large, which treated us to a couple of classical ‘polaris’ style leaps. After a wonderful battle lasting around 15 minutes a sturgeon came alongside the boat and was ready to be photographed, all six and a half feet, and 160lbs of it. Fred and I then accounted for another biggy, perhaps 20lbs larger.

Later on that afternoon, I finally banged into a real whopper sturgeon which put up an incredible scrap for over half an hour and which measured eight foot two inches long. Fred estimated it at least 300lb, and being my largest freshwater fish ever I was ecstatic. 


13lb 5oz fish tops haul of pit bream

Ian Hannaby finished his bream campaign in style with this impressive 13lb 5oz specimen. Targeting an East Midlands gravel pit, Ian fished 60yds out and used 10mm boilies in chocolate orange and shellfish flavour as bait.

To get the bream feeding, Ian introduced a mix of crumbed boilies, maggots and pellets. The mix proved to be very successful, because Ian landed another six fish to double figures alongside the big specimen. 


Seven pound chub just keep coming!

Late autumn’s incredible run of big chub shows no signs of abating with the capture of three seven-pounders topped by a fish of 7lb 14oz.

This one was banked by West Sussex angler Alex Warren, who made the most of rising water temperatures and overcast conditions to hook into the fine specimen. 

Alex Warren 7lb 14oz chub.jpg

Targeting the famous Railway Pool on Hampshire’s Royalty Fishery, Alex used a bait dropper to introduce an enticing mix of hemp and casters soaked in CSL liquid before casting his maggot feeder rig over the top.

This incorporated a size 16 Drennan Plus hook mounted with four red grubs.

He told Angling Times: “After landing a couple of 3lb-plus fish early in the day, I knew it would take a while to regain the confidence of other fish in the area – so I rested the swim and baited little and often to draw them out from the shadows.

“Early in the afternoon, I had a thumping bite and felt a heavy fish make for the deeper water under the bridge. 

“After a few tense moments and a few brutal runs aimed at bankside snags, I scooped up my prize. The Royalty bailiff arrived just in time to witness the scales reading 7lb 14oz!”

The River Trent played host to the next big chub capture in the form of a 7lb 5oz beauty for Brett Longthorne. 

The 3 Foot Twitch Baits-backed angler continued his run of fine form on the waterway when he landed six chub over 5lb on 10mm 3FT Baits SG1 dumbells tipped with fake corn.

Brett Longthorne 7lb 5oz chub.jpg

He said: “I started fishing for barbel, but the chub soon turned up and I started to receive lots of knocks. I then switched to smaller hooks, baits and shorter hooklinks and finally managed to hook into some fish. 

“They were all over 5lb, but the 7lb 5oz fish was truly special.”

Patric Kyte rounded off the three specimen chub catches when he hooked into a 7lb beauty on the Great Ouse in Bedfordshire. 

Patric Kyte 7lb chub.jpg

Patric had planned to fish the Trent for chub but due to having to help his son, whose car had broken down, he cut the trip short and headed to the Ouse, which was much closer to home. 

It was a decision that was to pay off in spades when the seven-pounder devoured his paste offering. “When I got it to the net I was surprised at how heavy it was,” he added. 

“I called my dad down who weighed it and took some photos,” he said.

One of the best eel hauls ever...

40ft-deep Cambridgeshire gravel pit has accounted for one of the greatest eel hauls ever recorded, in the shape of 15 fish to a best of 5lb 2oz.

The phenomenal catch was accumulated in a single night session by Airfield Lakes Fishery owner Richard Wilby, who fished triple lobworm hookbaits to tempt the big ‘snigs’ into a feed. 

When Angling Times spoke to Richard about the catch he explained that he targeted the venue only after he discovered a carp angler had caught an eel by mistake, and so he decided to target them himself.

He added: “It was a dream session where my hunch paid off. The two-hour drive to get to a lake I had never seen before was well worth it.

“Overall I banked 15 eels in a spell from 7.30pm to 3am.

Rich Wilby 5lb 2oz eel.jpg

“The action was crazy and all witnessed by my mate Adam Holmes, who was carp fishing a couple of swims away – I had to keep borrowing his net as I had a few double runs. 

“Most of the eels were big, over 3lb in fact – but I had a couple of fours, then a whacker of 5lb 2oz.”

Richard’s rigs incorporated 15lb mainline with a simple running rig and a 3oz lead. On the business end he used 20lb wire traces attached to size 6 barbless hooks, to which he tied PVA bags containing blood meal, micro halibut pellets and dead maggots.

“Large eels like this are increasingly rare, and it was a privilege to see them and fish a water where the population is still high,” Richard added.

Stillwaters come to life with specimen roach.

One of the greatest big roach catches of modern times has been taken, including a trio of three pounders, as Britain’s favourite species switches on in style.

Leading the way in a remarkable five-fish haul by Bristol-based specimen angler Vinnie Durn was an impressive 3lb 8oz redfin, the second-biggest roach of the season.

Vinnie Durn 3lb 8oz roach.jpg

Incredibly, the 37-year-old builder backed it up with two other fish each weighing 3lb, and a pair at 2lb 8oz apiece, from an undisclosed southern gravel pit.

Vinnie said: “All five were caught fishing 60 yards behind a raised gravel bar using fake sweetcorn hookbaits to avoid the crayfish, as there are hundreds in this lake! 

“I fished the rigs over a big bed of groundbait, hemp and sweetcorn – and all were caught through the night and the following morning from the tightly fished area!”

It wasn’t the only water which saw specimen roach go on the feed as Oxfordshire’s Linear Fisheries also hit form, highlighted by Nick Goode’s 2lb 14oz specimen this week.

Nick Goode 2lb 14oz.jpg

He took the fish from the popular Brasenose 2, which is far better known as a carp water.

Many consider the capture of such big roach from large stillwaters to be down to the prevalence of carp anglers’ baits and that’s just what Alan Rio used to bag a 2lb 12oz roach from another undisclosed venue.

Alan Rio 2lb 12oz.jpg

The Woking, Surrey, rod used scaled-down carp rigs consisting of a Drennan feeder fished helicopter-style down to a 4lb hooklink and a 8mm boilie. 

Alan said: “The recent mild days are perfect for roach fishing.”

Specimen roach expert Phil Spinks also got among the fish when three of his tutorial clients all bagged 2lb-plus specimens from Homersfield Lake in Norfolk.

Angling Direct-backed Phil said “The hardest aspect of catching big gravel pit roach is singling out the better fish. The roach fishing has been tricky of late, so seeing my three guests catch personal bests was great.

“I spent the first day teaching my first client Richard how to approach gravel pit roach fishing, then a couple of evenings later I received a phone call from him saying he had caught a fish
of 3lb 1oz!

“My next guests, Matthew and Chris Baynes, also did well. Matthew had a new personal best of 2lb 9oz and Chris a fin-perfect 2lb 10oz fish.”

Phil Spinks (4) Chris and Matthew.jpg

To round off an incredible week for stillwater roach, Dale Morris amassed an estimated 15lb net of roach all over 1lb and capped them off with a 1lb 10oz fish.

Dale Morris haul.jpg

Dale’s memorable catch also came from a carp water, this time in the north of the country. He fished a light carp set-up and fed corn, casters, pellets and hemp.

New bait lands double figure barbel

Alfie Naylor and Brian Skoyles have enjoyed some incredible barbel sport of late whilst testing a new bait from Nutrabaits, which is designed specifically for the species. Using the River Trent as the location for testing, the pair recently filmed a session to remember.

Alfie described the session to Angling Times.

He said: “The Plan was to introduce a bit of the bait and alternate between one of us fishing whilst the other filmed.

“The action began quickly, and Brian landed a Barbel around 8/9lb early on in the session. 

“We got the rod back in position and it was soon my turn…It wasn’t long before we had another take. 

“This one was a totally different fight to the first fish, as the barbel stayed very deep in the main flow.

“I knew it was a better fish, but as always when playing a hard fighting barbel, it’s a tense time as you pray the hook doesn't come out.

“We finally got the barbel in the net and I remember turning to Brian and saying, “Wow this is lump.”

“We both stood there staring into the net with massive grins on our faces at this impressive barbel weighing 13lb 15oz.

“Next it was Brian’s turn.

“The wind was becoming increasingly powerful, making filming very difficult, however this didn’t deter the fish and Brian caught another Barbel of about 9lb.

“For the next hour or so we had some lunch and a couple more brews whilst the rods sat motionless.

“Suddenly, the left hand rod ripped off again as line was taken at an alarming rate but unfortunately we lost this one due to hook pull.

“The wind was getting much worse by this point and with that in mind we were about to call it a day then the rod hooped over with an absolutely amazing bite and once again it was my turn.

“The fight was very similar to my first, staying deep plodding around pretty much taking me wherever it wanted.

“I managed to finally get the fish under control and slipped it into my net. 

“We stood in amazement, another immaculate double weighing 12lb 9oz.

“This one was a very aggressive fish that stuck its dorsal fin up the whole time we were taking the pictures.

“It was an amazing sight of the beautiful creature.”

To watch the short film of Alfie and Brian’s recent session on the Trent see the video below.

giant river perch heads bumper week for species

STRING of big perch catches rounds off the incredible flurry of specimen fish to be reported to Angling Times this week.

Topping these captures was a 4lb 6oz sergeant caught by England Youth International and Sensas Mark One squad member Josh Newman.

Josh Newman 4lb 6oz.jpg

The 15-year-old latched into the giant while pleasure fishing with worm on the pole on a stretch of the River Glen near Spalding. 

Josh told Angling Times: “I was stunned when it surfaced but not surprised, as I’ve had perch up to 3lb 8oz here in the past. I am confident that 5lb-plus perch are in the river.”

Martin Paget has also been getting among these hungry predators, and on a recent session landed a 4lb 1oz fish from a tributary of the River Thames. 

Martin Paget 4lb 1oz.jpg

Martin said: “The fish put up a great fight, which made me think I had hooked a pike.” 

The chunky Thames stripey was caught on a light running leger set-up, combining 5lb mainline tied to a size 8 Drennan Super Specialist hook and lobworm as bait. 

The Great Ouse is another river with a reputation for large perch, and it certainly lived up to that when Phil Mapp caught a 4lb cracker from the Linford Lakes stretch of the river. 

Phil Mapp.jpg

Recalling a truly memorable session, Phil said: “It was definitely a day I’ll never forget. 

“I leaned into the fish which then came up, displaying an amazing tail-walk before darting beneath overhanging branches.

“I managed to slip the net under it eventually and could tell it was big due to the shoulders on it.”

Phil’s clonking fish also fell to lobworms presented on a touch-leger rig.

It was yet another river that provided a surprise for George Gorst when he backed up a personal-best Trent barbel with a new perch pb just 48 hours later. 

George Gorst 3.13.jpg

The fish weighed 3lb 13oz and was caught from a section of the River Ribble near Preston.

Nash star Alan Blair rounded off the fantastic week of big perch catches when he landed an amazing haul from Cornwall’s Upper Tamar Lake. 

His catch totalled nine perch with five over the 3lb mark – the largest being a 3lb 9oz specimen.

Better known as a carp bagging machine than a specimen perch fisher, Alan borrowed some carp tactics and tempted small baitfish into the swim with Nashbait Spod Cloud groundbait. 

Alan Blair perch haul Upper Tamar.jpg

Seven heaven for nation’s chub anglers

Specimen chub are hard on the feed, with several anglers reporting fish over 7lb from UK rivers.

The pick of the bunch was taken by Adam Spiller, who took a pair of 7lb-plus fish from the River Thames. The bigger one weighed in at a whopping 7lb 14oz, with the other going 7lb 1oz.

He landed the winsome twosome while targeting the river’s carp, for which he had laid down a carpet of Link boilies, maize and tiger nuts. 

This banquet, however, proved irresistible to the pair of monster chub, which fell to 15mm Milky Toffee pop-ups presented on snowman rigs consisting of size 5 Fox Curve Short hooks and 25lb Coretex braid. 

This set-up accounted for a smaller chub of 5lb 3oz in the same session before the two larger fish arrived. 

The keen carp angler told Angling Times: “The second chub was caught less than two minutes after I’d released the first.”

Thames regular Neil Wayte continued his fine season on the river when he caught a clonking 7lb 11oz chub from beneath an overhanging willow tree. 

Neil Wayte 7lb 11oz.jpg

He said: “The bait had only been in the water for three minutes before a typical first cast chub bite. It’s my third ‘seven’ this season from the Thames.”

Neil’s fish was caught on a big lump of crust fished on a 4ins hooklink alongside a feeder filled with liquidised bread.

Leighton McDonnell used a slightly more exotic hookbait for his chub fishing, which paid off when he caught a 7lb 1oz fish from a stretch of the Great Ouse on a piece of Szechuan Shredded Beef Paste. Leighton told Angling Times about his unique hookbait.

He said: “It’s very smelly bait and it even attracted an otter into the swim that I had been feeding. It then tried to get on to the bank with me for seconds!”

32lb pike pb chews on a turbo smelt

Carl Hill landed this massive 32lb pike during a two-day boat fishing session on Chew Valley Lake near Bristol.

Despite choosing a prime time of year for the species – the reservoir is open to predator fishing on selective days in October and November – fishing was initially slow for the Leicester angler.

However, casting Turbo Smelts tight against the weed line prompted a savage take. This is Carl’s new personal best for the species, and is his third pike over the 30lb mark. 

32lb pike.jpg

Monster roach are on the feed

One of the UK’s greatest hauls of specimen roach has been taken – a trio of three-pounders to 3lb 3oz backed by seven fish over the 2lb mark! 

Mark Woodage 3lb 3oz.jpg

The sensational catch was made by Mark Woodage just a few days after taking another stunning roach haul: “I originally planned to fish the Hampshire Avon, but I decided to try the southern stillwater I’ve been targeting instead. The conditions were awful, with bright sun and cold winds, but I managed to catch seven roach, six over 2lb and the biggest 2lb 14oz. A few days later I returned with my angling buddy Jim Innes, when conditions were much better. 

“I fed hemp and maggots around 65 yards out in a clear silty area and had the 3lb 3oz roach, alongside another of 3lb 1oz, one of 3lb, and seven other 2lb roach. Jim also landed a personal best-fish of 2lb 14oz.

Mark continued: “I’ve had more blanks than I care to remember here. It’s been hard going, but the rewards have been incredible.”

Mark Woodage catch pic.jpg

Mark caught his fish on helicopter rigs incorporating a Drennan Feeder Bomb filled with maggots and hemp. His hooklinks were made up of 5lb Drennan Supplex fluorocarbon and size 18 Drennan Wide Gape hooks. He used Drennan Avon/Quiver rods for the roach to cushion the fight.

Darryn Stolworthy also got in on the roach action, landing a 2lb 10oz fish from a Norfolk water. Braving the savage wind and rain, Darryn cast a maggot feeder to tempt the fish along with another specimen of 2lb 3oz. 

Big barbel landed from across the country.

A colossal 19lb 11oz barbel has topped another fantastic week for the species, which saw dozens of specimens banked from numerous rivers across the country. 

Paul Faint Thames barbel 19lb 11oz.jpg

The record-nudging fish fell to Essex angler Paul Faint when it took a liking to a couple of hair-rigged 10mm pellets fished on an undisclosed stretch of the River Thames. 

Speaking to Angling Times, Paul described the effort it took to catch such a specimen from a very difficult stretch of the waterway. 

He said: “Despite it being cold I decided to try an overnight session on a stretch of the Thames that is notoriously hard for barbel. I had a gut feeling that there could be a real chance of a huge fish. 

“I’ve done about 20 overnighters in the past two years on this bit of water with only one 8lb barbel to show for it – but I just knew there was bigger fish somewhere there for the taking.”

Paul, who receives a third weekly Drennan Cup award for his catch, fed four pints of hemp and a pint of 4mm pellets to a line of clean gravel in the middle of the river, knowing that this would offer his best chance of a bite. 

It was a decision that proved fruitful roughly three hours into his session, when the huge fish took off with his bait.

“When I struck at the bite the fish tore off 20 yards of line and made for an overhanging tree. I slowly pumped the reel to try and get it back out,” Paul added, “and luckily I succeeded.

“After a 10-minute battle the barbel crossed the net cord, and after it was carefully weighed and witnessed by a friend I rested it and returned it to the water.

“This was the only bite of a night that was bitterly cold, but it was well worth the effort.”

On the right is the pick of the week’s other big-barbel...

1) A trip to the APG Fisheries stretch of the River Trent at Gunthorpe paid off in spades for George Gorst when he slipped the net under this 17lb 2oz monster. 

George Gorst 17lb 2oz Trent Barbel.jpg

The Manchester angler usually spends three or four sessions a year fishing Gunthorpe for barbel, but struck gold on his first visit of 2018 to the prolific venue.

He told Angling Times: “The first 24 hours was quiet, so a mate and I decided to put more bait in – and around midnight my rod sprang into action.

“My initial thoughts were that it wasn’t that big a fish, but when I got it a few rodlengths out it started taking line and began to plod around as the bigger ones tend to do. 

“I couldn’t believe it when the scales read 17lb 2oz – it beat my old personal best by over 4lb!”

George caught the large barbel alongside two 11-pounders by fishing NBD Pro Sushi boilies snowman-style attached to 4ft combi rigs with a running 4oz lead.

2) Despite an unfavourable north-easterly wind, clear water and freezing temperatures, top Trent man Brett Longthorne managed to slip the net under this 16lb 2oz personal-best barbel.

Brett Longthorne 16lb 2oz barbel.jpg

To draw the fish into his swim the 3FT-backed angler fed a bed of garlic hemp alongside a scattering of 3 Foot Twitch SG1 10mm boilies. 

He said: “I wasn’t expecting any bites due to the poor conditions. The rods went out at 2.30am on a high tide and the downstream rod soon flew off! 

“After a solid fight, I slipped the net under a big barbel. She went 16lb 2oz and was yet another another PB!”

3) The River Dearne barbel record was rocked this week with the capture of this 14lb 2oz beauty. 

Adam Lau 14lb 2oz River Dearne Barbel.jpg

It fell to 24-year-old Adam Lau from Barnsley, who targeted a section of the South Yorkshire river with Dynamite Baits Tigernut boilies fished on a running rig. 

He told Angling Times: “I baited up my swim with hemp and a few crushed boilies before fishing, then cast out just before dark.

“The bite bent the rod double and the fish tried its best to get under some near-bank trees – but after half-an-hour and a lot of side strain I managed to get the fish out and into the net.”

4) Heavy rain didn’t dampen Stephane Van Langenberg’s spirits as he fished on to catch this mighty 12lb 6oz barbel from the River Lea. The 30-year-old business development manager from Enfield told Angling Times: “When it surfaced I couldn’t believe how big it looked.  It was a proud moment.”

Stephen Van Lamberg 12lb 6oz barbel.jpg

Stephane’s big Lea bertie was caught on meat presented on a simple running leger over a spot he had been feeding throughout the session with a bait dropper.

5) Barbel don’t come much better looking than this 14lb 7oz fish caught by Simon Asbury from the Derbyshire Derwent.

Fishing in the aftermath of strong winds caused by Storm Callum, Simon used a 12mm Sticky Baits Krill Dumbbell to tempt the specimen, which fought hard in the fast-running current.

Simon Asbury 14lb 7oz barbel.jpg