is Ian the UK’s most prolific river angler?

I have fished for barbel on more than 20 different rivers, but the Trent is head and shoulders above all the others.” 

The words of Macclesfield angler Ian Potts... and he should know! Since June 16, Ian has racked up an impressive 184 barbel from the river, 51 of which were in double figures.  

A substantial chunk of that tally was taken on a recent eight-day trip taking in three different Trent locations. 

He took 37 barbel to a 17lb 1oz personal best, along with one weighing 15lb 6oz, four 12-pounders, three ‘thirteens’ and two carp – the bigger of which went 19lb 8oz. 

Ian Potts 15lb 6oz barbel.jpg

The 43-year-old told Angling Times: “I’ve fished more than 20 rivers in the 30 years I’ve been an angler, but so far 2019 on the Trent has surpassed all others.

“This success I attribute to a lot more people fishing it this year who have introduced more bait, but I’ve seen plenty of natural food in the river too. As a result, the barbel are gorging themselves and so far I’ve not had a trip where I’ve blanked.”

‘Dedicated’ is certainly a word that best describes Ian, as each week he commits his Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to go barbel fishing.  

To give himself the best chance of catching, he reckons that staying active and being well-equipped are two vital factors. 

“I’ve seen many Trent barbel anglers sit there and wait for a bite, but I love to remain active and outwit the fish,” he added.

“In a typical session I’ll Spomb a gallon of particles and a kilo of boilies into my swim to help hold the barbel for as long as possible.

“If I’m not getting a bite I’ll unpack another rod and roll luncheon meat through the swim to try to make something work. 

“This tactic helped me catch my new personal best, but I went through 26 tins of Spam in four days to get that fish!

“I also go through 200m of PVA bags a month, as I believe using big feeders only scares the fish out of your peg.”

Helping other anglers improve their barbel bests is something Ian is keen to do, and he has recently set up a guiding service for River Trent venues.

Ian Potts 19lb 8oz mirror carp.jpg

He added: “I don’t much care if I catch a two-pounder or a 20- pounder, I just love the buzz of catching a barbel, and seeing that same elation on another angler’s face is great.”