“I’ve been secretly targeting an area of the River Aire after hearing of a really big fish caught by a carp angler. It’s not what I’d call a typical barbel environment, with deep, steady swims that are near-impossible to access, but I knew I just had to catch that fish.
“With time in short supply, the fishing was soul-destroying, catching nothing near the monster I had my sights on. But then the rain started to fall, and with every drop, my confidence grew. I changed my approach of feeding hemp, pellets and chopped boilies to just feeding larger boilies, in the hope of establishing a feeding area for one big fish.
“At 4am one wet, cold morning, my tip bounced back and, as I struck, I knew I was into something good. It gave me a few worrying moments, snagging me up solid in the weed, but with steady pressure all came good.
“At 13lb 12oz, the fish isn’t just my Yorkshire PB from a river I’ve fished every year since the 1970s, but also a new record for the Aire, something I’m chuffed to bits with.”