Specimen angler's go on the hunt after incredible week

It’s been an incredible week for big fish across the UK, with huge tench, bream, rudd and pike coming to the nets of specialist anglers. 

Korum’s Dai Gribble was the first angler to strike when a trip to Oxfordshire’s prolific Linear Fishery yielded a 15lb 4oz bream and a 9lb 2oz tench.

Dai's Bream 15lb 4oz.jpg

The two-time Drennan Cup champion’s session wasn’t expected to be quite this successful – however, as Dai explained: “Originally I had planned to have a bit of a social for Mike Lyddon’s 50th birthday, but one of the lads couldn’t come – so rather than doubling up in a swim I jumped into the extra space that became available.” 

Fishing to a spot 30 yards out with a yellow Sonubaits pop-up topped with an 8mm pineapple Oozing boilie, Dai’s alarm sounded at 1.30am and a 9lb 2oz tench proved to be the culprit. 

At first light Dai then topped up his swim with micro pellets, hemp and two tins of F1 sweetcorn and fished popped-up maggots over the top – a tactic that proved irresistible to the big bream just 30 minutes later.

“It came in like a dead weight!” Dai added. “I saw it was coming in backwards then it rolled, and I knew then it was a big fish.

“There’s a handful of big bream in this lake and I knew there was always a chance of catching one.”

Bream were also the focus for specimen ace Jim Matthews, who made the most of a low pressure front in extreme conditions to bag eight fish – five of which were doubles topped by a 13lb specimen.

Adapting to the conditions was key to success, as Jim explained: “The wind had been fierce for some time and the undertow was horrific – casting too far out was threatening to pull the baits out of position. 

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“So I dropped the baits shorter and cut down on the feed rate. 

“There was no point spreading bait everywhere, and I was sure the bream might prefer the relative calm closer in.”

All Jim’s fish fell to whittled-down Atlantic Heat boilies fished over a bed of groundbait, dead maggots, bloodmeal pellets and broken boilies.

Predator fanatic Stefan Jensen also got in on the action when he landed a tremendous 38lb 2oz pike from Harelaw Dam in Scotland. 

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The big predator was banked in less than ideal circumstances, however… 

“As I struck into the fish my dog decided to do a runner,” Stefan told Angling Times.

“I had to play the pike hard so I could go and get my dog back! As soon as I bundled the fish into the net it spat the hook out, so I was lucky to land it.”

Stefan’s new personal best fell to a lamprey hookbait, and smashed the previous lake best of 34lb 12oz.

Hull-based rod Colin Hebb was the final angler to enjoy recent specimen action when he netted a rare 3lb 1oz canal rudd. 

Colin Hebb 3lb 1oz.jpg

The fish was caught on a piece of sinking bread flake, and was Colin’s reward for putting in a long campaign in pursuit of the species.

He said: “I’ve been searching my local canal for big rudd and it has taken me about a year to find them, as there is three miles of canal bank to search!”