(This catch was reported before the river close season came into force on March 15th 2022)
BRAVING strong winds and high water levels resulted in this staggering 19lb 7oz River Lea record barbel for James Champkin, who revealed the huge fish wrenched his rod tip round just two minutes after he’d cast out!
The Hertfordshire specimen hunter has enjoyed a fantastic season, landing a superb 4lb 5oz rudd back in spring, but unsurprisingly he rates his new PB barbel as one of his greatest ever angling achievements.
With the river running the colour of tea and air temperatures reaching 15°C, James switched from his usual boilie hookbaits to big chunks of garlic meat, fished on size 6 hooks and coated braid hooklinks.
He targeted the stretch with roving tactics, using a 3oz running lead to hold bottom in the strong flow, and hit the jackpot in only his second swim of the day.
An ecstatic James told Angling Times: “For me, this capture represents the pinnacle of barbel fishing in England. We’re living in a golden age of big barbel, one where the specialist angler has an unrivalled choice of good venues at his disposal.
“But extracting fish of this calibre from tight, snaggy swims on small, overgrown rivers, brings a level of exhilaration that I think is hard to match.”