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Barbel continue to break all records!

The truly remarkable year for huge barbel is continuing unabated with no fewer than five of the country's rivers producing record breaking specimens during the past month.

Newbury-based angler Paul Smyth banked the biggest ever barbel from the River Kennet which took the scales to a staggering 17lb 2oz. It beats the previous best from the river taken in 2002 by 8oz.

The fish fought for over 10 minutes after seizing a boilie offered only a few feet from the bank at first light.

The Hampshire Avon barbel record has been broken by a 15lb 7oz specimen. William Ward from Basingstoke tempted the fish with a halibut flavoured pellet during his first ever visit to the celebrated Royalty fishery above Christchurch.

The capture beats the current record from the river by 6oz.

The biggest authenticated barbel ever to be caught from the River Thames has been banked at a weight of 15lb 2oz. The huge specimen fell to Teddington, Middlesex angler Dan Cummings along a non-tidal stretch of the venue between Kingston and Staines.

He had been forced away from his usual tidal reaches down river by the major pollution in August but had been finding a move further upstream beneficial with 12 barbel to 8lb in four sessions.

With the river infested with mitten crabs he decided to make some boilies from their meat on the assumption that they were a regular part of the barbel's diet. This certainly proved to be the case for on his first trip out with the new bait during an early evening he hooked the history maker.

He offered the hook bait over a bed of halibut pellets. The previous Thames best stood at 14lb 13oz and was taken in 2003.

The River Ivel has produced its biggest ever barbel with a specimen of 14lb.

Julian Cooke from Peterborough banked the fish which topped the previous best for the river by 2lb 5oz, when he fished a stretch near Biggleswade.

The fish fell for a double halibut pellet and he commented: "The barbel took the rod off the rests and I thought it was a carp. Despite getting snagged I eventually got it in the net and I couldn't believe it when I saw the biggest barbel I've ever seen."

Nearer home a new record for the River Swale has been claimed by Boston Spa angler Robert Parsons with a fish of 13lb 4oz from a lower stretch of the river at Myton.

He hooked the specimen which is 1lb 1oz better than the previous best within 10 minutes of his first cast on a savoury spice paste bait.

The barbel is the second ever heaviest recorded in the country being exceeded only by a specimen of 13lb 9 1/2oz caught from the River Wharfe at Tadcaster three months ago.

Meanwhile the scales used to weigh the British record barbel have been certified as being 100% accurate.

Tony Gibson set a new national best when he landed a 20lb 6oz specimen from the Great Ouse below Bedford in October. It was the first time the species had topped the 20lb mark.

The Northampton angler's Avon scales were checked and found to be correct by his local weights and measures department.

The fish in question, affectionately known as `The Traveller' and easily identifiable, has been caught again three weeks ago at a slightly reduced weight of 20lb 4oz.

Captor, David Swindley from Banbury, said: "It had certainly lived up to its name as I was fishing a swim fully half a mile below where it was caught at the record weight.

"The fish is notorious for moving up and down the river."

* Some quality perch are being caught at Oak Scar Reservoir, Longwood. Small spinners with red wool attached and large float fished worms alongside the bridge wall are the successful tactics.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 25, 2004
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