Steven Birt 20lb 7oz Barbel.JPG

by Angling Times |

The second biggest barbel of the season has been landed from a weirpool on the River Thames - weighing in at a colossal 20lb 7oz.

Berkshire based angler, Steven Birt (49), was the captor of the recent giant - a fish that shattered his personal best of 16lb 12oz.

He told Angling Times the full story, he said:

“I have been fishing this area with luncheon meat hookbaits for around 4 weeks with not much to show for my efforts, but on this session, I switched to fishing glugged 18mm boilies topped with a 12mm pop-up.

“Attached to the hookbait was a PVA bag of mixed pellets and I used a standard running lead set-up and fished the same rig on two rods.

“I’m a bailiff on the stretch, so I know the swims quite well. Knew there was a good chance of catching a barbel in this slack next to a weirpool, and with the river up slightly, there was an even greater chance.

“The rods remained motionless for a couple of hours, as I had started fishing just before it got dark.

“I needed ‘to spend a penny’ and as I was peeing I heard a splashing noise. Turned my back to see my tri-pod had fallen over and my rods submerged in the near bank flood water.

“I stopped peeing and ran over to the tri-pod and picked it up, but it was clear I had a take on my left-hand rod.

“Fished quite a tight clutch, so I was lucky my rod wasn’t taken into the river. I used snag ears with my alarms so that definitely helped me.

“I couldn’t believe I had this bite when my back was turned! Convinced the barbel are watching you!

“It was strange because I thought I was snagged. There was a big bend in my rod but not much movement – thought I was attached to the bottom… then the bottom started moving.

“It was just a proper heavy lump and a slow sensation during the fight. I’ve caught 13lbers that have put up better fights – that’s for sure, so this barbel really got the adrenaline going as I knew it was going to be a proper monster.

“When you’re fishing the Thames there’s always the chance of potential British record.

“The fight lasted around 5-10 minutes but it felt like a lifetime. I had snags to my left which the barbel normally go for but I managed to keep this barbel under control and just like that, it was in the net.

“The first thing I noticed was the depth of it – it was like a pig.

“I weighed it and just watched the needle on the scales go past the 16lb, 17lb, 18lb, 19lb and 20lb marks –I just stood there shaking.

“Another angler in the next peg came round to verify the weight on his scales too.

“I’d achieved my angling dream – when you think of dreams in fishing this is the ultimate achievement for a barbel angler.

“It’s one of the biggest barbel in the country and potentially could be the new record one day.

“I might have to take up golf now, I just don’t know how I’ll ever beat this fish!

“I do know of three 20 pounders that live in this stretch of the Thames, so I guess I do have something else to chase.

“For me the Thames will produce the next record. The Trent is giving the Thames a good run for its money but it doesn’t quite have those consistent numbers of 20 pounders yet.”

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us