THE day after returning from a fishing trip to Uganda, Gary Newman headed straight out for a barbel session and was rewarded for his dedication by landing one of the biggest fish of the season weighing a mighty 20lb 2oz.
The Korda TV Production Manager had just got back to his Buckinghamshire home after a 20-day Nile perch fishing trip in East Africa when, after checking the forecast, he realised conditions were spot-on for barbel… even though it was nearly 30C colder than on his far-flung expedition!
He wasted no time in making some boilies, loading the car and fighting his way around the M25 until he reached a stretch of the Thames that he’d only just started fishing.
With the river running high and coloured, Gary secured a swim that offered a deep area just over the marginal shelf. He cast out his homemade boilie hookbaits and in the early hours of the morning, his rod steadily pulled round. Immediately he could feel the fish had made the sanctuary of a snag.
“I gave it some slack three or four times, and finally felt the line ping free,” he said.
“It still felt like there was a big branch on the line, but when it came to the surface, I realised it was no branch. All the weight was down to a very large barbel!”
The fish fought hard for a few more minutes before finally succumbing to the pressure of Gary’s rod.
“It was only when it went over the net rim that I got a look at the depth and width – it was huge. I had a fair idea that it might be my target fish, but even so, I couldn’t quite believe it when the scales went past the 20lb mark. It smashed my previous PB of 16lb 11oz from the River Kennet.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have caught it on only my fourth session on this stretch,” Gary added.