The rivers rounded off the season with a huge array of specimens and hefty hauls hitting the bank.
Thousands of anglers lined the banks of some of the best venues in the UK in the lead-up to the close at midnight on March 14, and results were nothing short of astonishing. Here’s the pick...
The River Lea in Hertfordshire delivered an 8lb 2oz chub to Essex’s Andy Birch. Home-made cheese paste was the winning bait for the specialist, who fished a simple running rig in conjunction with 8lb line and a size 4 hook.
Tom Doherty visited the Kings Weir stretch of the River Lea to finish his campaign on a high with an 8lb 1oz chub. The Essex banker tempted the specimen on a legered boilie to set a new personal best for the species.
Neil Wayte was also on the big chub trail, and he used cheese paste to fool a 7lb 5oz fish. It was his fourth Thames chub over the 7lb mark this season, and was beaten on an 8lb hooklink and a size 4 hook.
A heavy prebaiting regime has accounted for one of the biggest barbel ever taken from the River Thames – in the form of this giant 18lb specimen.
Gardner-backed Mark Casper spodded out a two kilos of corn and diced Spam along with balls of homemade fishmeal paste in the afternoon before returning to the same spot at nightfall. He used a Specialized Hookbait boilie on a 2.5oz bomb rig and a size 8 Covert Dark Talon Tip wide gape hook.
l Rudd are traditionally fish of summer, but Korum-backed Gary Knowles and Fox angler Matt Rand still managed this incredible catch from a Fenland waterway. Over two evenings the pair banked 35 rudd over 2lb to a 2lb 9oz best and around 50 more between 1lb 12oz and 1lb 15oz.
“Both days at we started at 4pm, feeding 40 loaves of mashed bread and wading through nuisance fish!” said Gary.
Rob Hall made the trip to the River Wye, where he smashed his pike personal best with this impressive 34lb 8oz fish. The predator took a float-legered half-herring deadbait over a drop-off in the riverbed around 7ft deep. It’s a fish that beats the Dudley, West Midlands angler’s previous personal best that stood at 27lb, a pike Rob caught not long ago from the same venue.
Continuing with the predator theme, the River Severn was the scene of a session to remember for Ed Matthews when he banked four double-figure zander topped by this 15lb 12oz predator. The Korum-backed angler from Staffordshire fished large roach livebaits to lure his biggest fish, which he beat on 30lb braid, a wire trace and size 2 and 4 hooks.