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Britain’s barbel anglers ended 2018 in style with another week of huge river fish topped by the biggest Trent specimen reported this season weighing 18lb 8oz.
That incredible fish was caught by Matt Hughes during an overnight session on a pressured stretch of the river.
Recalled Matt: “I decided to take advantage of the warm spell in between the frosts and arrived at the river just after dark.
“Unfortunately my desired swim was taken so I headed off downstream away from the angling pressure. At around 1.30am my right-hand rod doubled over with a fish that once I’d lifted into it I knew was bigger than my previous best of 16lb 12oz.”
Matt tempted the Trent big girl on a hair-rigged boilie presented alongside a mesh bag of pellets soaked in salmon oil.
The River Lea in Essex has produced some monster specimens of all species already this season, but now has potentially had its barbel record smashed with a 17lb 11oz fish caught by Robert Dowsett.
The barbel, which is yet to be ratified, would beat the river’s best by 3oz. It was caught from the Waltham Abbey area.
An over-the-moon Robert told Angling Times: “After a frosty morning and low temperatures throughout the day, conditions were not ideal. A friend I was speaking to was surprised to hear that I was even fishing. The effort proved worthwhile, though, as at around 6.30pm I hooked into my new personal best, which gave a great account of itself.”
Pete Hutton also made the effort to target barbel and tackled the strong flow of the tidal Trent with a 6oz lead to land a specimen of 16lb 8oz. Pete’s two-night session resulted in four other double-figure bertties and some big bream, all falling to Nutrabaits Trigga boilies.