Incredible week for specimen fish!

Huge River Thames barbel that looks set to challenge the British record heads up another superb week of catches as the river season draws to a close.  

The impressive 19lb 15oz specimen was just one of a jaw-dropping array of big fish to hit the bank, with massive zander, chub, dace and perch also taken. Here’s a round-up of the week’s best catches...

Ryan Pevy - 19lb 15oz thames barbel

When Ryan Pevy headed out to go fishing he had no idea he was about to bank one of the biggest barbel of the season - this 19lb 15oz beast! 

The Bucks-based rod was fishing a night session on his local River Thames when he received a powerful take just before midnight. 

He told Angling Times: “The fight was incredible – the fish just kept hugging the riverbed and taking line.”

Ryan’s new personal best fell to double hair-rigged 8mm garlic pellets, fished alongside a 3oz open ended swimfeeder loaded with mixed pellets and hemp.

The near-20lb giant is the latest in a string of huge Thames barbel to hit the bank this season, and could easily challenge the 21lb 1oz British record for the species later this year.

Top Tip: “When fishing for barbel in cold water scale down your hookbait from 14mm to 8mm, with small pellets in the feeder.”

Ryan Pevy 19lb 15oz barbel.jpg

Ian Jones  - 17lb 2oz zander, River Trent 

After losing five zander to hookpulls during a previous trip, Angling Times News Editor Ian Jones returned and enacted revenge in fine style by catching this superb 17lb 2oz specimen. 

The 27-year-old targeted an area of deep, slack water on a stretch of the tidal River Trent and received a tentative bite 30 minutes after casting out.

“The rod-tip knocked twice and that was enough for me to strike,” Ian said. 

“Straight away I knew it was a big fish as it stayed deep before surfacing, at which point it thrashed the water to a foam. In the net I couldn’t believe the sheer size of the fish – it eclipsed my previous personal best for the species by nearly 10lb.”

Ian used a 1.5lb test curve Daiwa Powermesh rod coupled with 10lb mainline and a braided wire trace. A small dead roach was the successful hookbait. 

Top Tip: “Make sure you use an adequate hook size and don’t be afraid to use a barbless version.”

Ian Jones 17lb 2oz zander.jpg

Rob Innes - 1lb 1oz 2dr dace, Local River 

Unsure whether his local river still held big dace, Rob Innes trotted maggots in an attempt to catch one and was rewarded with this pristine 1lb 1oz 2dr specimen.

The 37-year-old said: “The river used to hold a good number of big dace but their numbers have been decimated. I felt with regular baiting with corn, maggots and particles I might still be able to locate a few, and so it proved. 

“I had some real bigguns, topped by this 1lb 1oz 2dr gnarly, battle-scarred, old warrior.”

Top Tip: “When fishing for big dace always have a change bait of corn or worms, which often winkle out the bigger fish.”

Rob Innes 1lb 1oz 2dr dace.jpg

Robert Horwood  - 8lb 4oz chub, River Thames

A small piece of luncheon meat has accounted for the biggest reported chub of the season, weighing 8lb 4oz. 

It was banked by Robert Horwood from the Cookham stretch of the River Thames and eclipsed his previous chub best by over 2lb.

“The river was fining down and moving quite quickly, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to fish for chub,” he said. “I used a size 10 hook baited with a small piece of meat. It was my only bite of the session and obliterated my PB.”

Top Tip: “Luncheon meat is an excellent change-bait for chub, especially if they see a lot of pellets and boilies on the river you fish.”

Robert Horwood 8lb 4oz chub.jpg

Andy Cheetham - 4lb 14oz perch, Midlands River 

Targeting an area of slack water on the edge of a fast run proved pivotal to the capture of this 4lb 14oz perch for Andy Cheetham.

The Perchfishers press officer hit the headlines last week with a 4lb 9oz stripey but switched to a different river to tempt his latest specimen. It proved to be an expensive trip for Andy too, as he fed 300 lobworms to keep the perch in his swim.

He said: “As the light faded I had a positive bite and hooked a hard fighting perch. It hugged the bottom in the flow but I got its head up and eventually netted what was a lovely fat fish.”

Andy used a cage feeder loaded with chopped worm and a size 4 hook tipped with three half lobs. 

Top Tip: “Once you’ve found perch in your swim make sure you introduce plenty of bait to keep them there.” 

Andrew Cheetham 4lb 14oz perch.jpg