The best ever start to a season for big barbel?


by Aidan Bordiuk |
Published on

The start to the 2024 coarse fishing season on our rivers has been nothing short of phenomenal, with huge barbel captures being recorded all over the country, with venues like the Trent and Severn producing numerous fish over 15lb.

One of the most impressive reports was from angler Callum Pemberton who caught a 16lb 8oz barbel, 16lb 6oz barbel along with numerous other fish, including two fish that weighed 15lb+ too. Fishing from midnight, Callum baited up the swim with a mixture of groundbait, hempseed and various pellets and saw steady action throughout his 48 hours session.

Feeder tactics were best, using the same mix he fed the swim with initially, with the fish so well tuned into his bait he actually came across a fish he had caught 3 years previously at a slightly better weight of 15lb 6oz.

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Callum with his best fish if the session weighing 16lb 8oz.
Callum with his best fish if the session weighing 16lb 8oz.

Kes Keary decided to head to the River Trent and began fishing from midnight on the 16th with the aim of catching some of its resident barbel, but action was slow, with the river seemingly devoid of life until dawn broke.

"The first few hours fishing were quite underwhelming, as they often are on the opening of the season. It is as if the fish know what is going on," Kes explained to us.

"I decided to apply some more of my trusty 18mm Barnes Black Barrels into the swim to get some extra scent into the swim, with the hope of instigating some fish into feeding."

"I received what I thought was another liner but the reel burst into life and I connected with my first barbel of the season."

The fish ended up smashing Kes's PB when the scales read 16lb 12oz. He was using straight lead tactics with a PVA bag of pellets attached to the hook to entice the fish into the area around his hookbait.

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A cracking start to the season for Kes.
A cracking start to the season for Kes.

Another angler who smashed his PB was Andy Waters, he landed a superb, scale-perfect barbel weighing 14lb 1oz.

"The morning after the river was rising fast and a barrage of debris consistently wiped both my rods out," he told us.

"A combination of this and a lack of activity made me decide to move to a day ticket stretch upstream a few miles, on arrival it appeared the debris had already filtered through and there were several barbel splashing out in the flow."

Andy landed a 9lb fish and as he was returning it to the water his other rod screamed off, with the fish hanging deep he knew it was a completely different beast.

The setup used to tame the fish consisted of 15lb mainline, 4oz korum river feeders , 4ft of OMC fluorocarbon to a size 10 korda Krank hook. Bait was pellets, hemp groundbait and krill dumbells for hookbait.

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Andy Waters with his superb PB barbel.
Andy Waters with his superb PB barbel.

Fishing is second session o the season, Jay Elliott landed a very impressive barbel falling just short of 15lb. After having success on his first trip out, Jay targeted a similar area hoping the barbel were still holding up, and he was proven right.

"I had two big nods on the rod tip and decided to lift on the third, striking straight into what felt like a breeze block anchored to the bottom of the riverbed," he said.

"The old gal put up a terrific fight, lightning speed bolts for freedom coupled with heavy thumping lunges, she definitely meant business."

"Once she surrendered and rolled over, her huge mouth broke the surface exposing the trailing Insecto Cocoon boilie I had caught her on."

"Sadly on inspection it was noted she'd sustained some previous damage to her dorsal and more recently to her tail which was treated with propolis."

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Jay Elliott with a tremendous barbel.
Jay Elliott with a tremendous barbel.

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