Two Personal Bests For Phil

Well-known big fish angler Phil Smith has had an unforgettable few months barbel fishing, beating two personal bests in the process.


Phil Smith with his biggest barbel from the Derwent at 16lb 12oz

The first fish of 16lb 12oz was caught back in September from the Derbyshire Derwent and is Phil’s second largest barbel ever caught from the Derwent and a river personal best for that river.


A new personal best from the Warwickshire Avon at 14lb 10oz.

This more recent capture at 14lb 10oz was caught from the Warwickshire Avon, and again, was a new personal best for Phil on that particular river.

Phil used his trusty 1.75 Martin Bowler Specialist Barbel rod along with 12lb ESP Syncro XT Loaded mainline and his usual size 8 Continental Boilie hook baited with a single boilie on a hair. He opted to fish a 50g swim feeder filled with mixed pellets of various sizes along with hemp, rather than a straight lead setup.

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New Article: Early Season Wye Piking

We’ve just added a great new article with E-Sox consultant Steve Rowley on early season piking on the River Wye.


Download the article (1.3Mb PDF file)

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New Video: Home International 2015

Highlights from the 2015 Home International between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, fished on Northern Ireland’s Newry Canal.


Watch the video »

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Winter Sport On The Moscow River

Sergey Kuzmin braved sub-zero temperatures in Russia last week to take this hard-earned catch of roach and skimmers.


The keen feeder angler caught tackled the Moscow River near the town of Lytkarino. Conditions were far from easy, as Sergey explains:

“When I went on the fishing trip, the weather was good, no wind, calm, but it was a little cold, about 2˚C. We tackled up and mixed our feed and were all prepared, but as soon as we began to catch, there was a heavy snow shower, the wind increased and the temperature was now –4˚C!

“It was hard to catch at long range from the strong wind, so I switched to a closer 25m zone with my favourite Drennan Matchpro Medium Feeder to try to catch at close range.

“With the fishing so hard I used bloodworm as well as red and white maggots on the hook. I started with a tail length of 80cm then reduced this to 60cm to try and hit the difficult bites. This was the first time I have fished in these conditions this year. It was instructive, but the snow was too heavy!”

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An Unforgettable Pike Brace

Steve Rowley recollects a ‘red letter day’ that will be permanently etched in his memory forever.


Steve Rowley with his 31lb 5oz gravel pit pike.

I had decided late the previous evening that I was going to do a short morning session on a gravel pit that I had rarely fished before. The pit had never really hit the mark for me. I always end up concentrating on other waters which is partly why I decided to dedicate a small piece of my time to give this water a go.

I set off just before first light and arrived by a glorious misty sunrise, with not a single ripple on the water. I stood for a few minutes working out what areas to target. Conditions were not looking great for pike fishing. Flat calm, misty, with a high-pressure, not really ideal, but I only anticipated fishing until midday, so I had nothing to lose.

I didn’t know much about this particular pit, but having done a bit of lure fishing some years earlier, I was aware that there was a deeper channel running along the far bank, a typical drainage channel used to pump the water out when the gravel was being extracted. I decided to fish two dead baits alongside the weed raft that had built up on the inside of the deeper channel, the theory being that pike might either be patrolling along the channel or were tucked under the weed rafts waiting for the abundance of roach or rudd to venture past.


A misty sunrise on the pit.

I took a few photos of the glorious misty sunrise, and then sat back to relax and have my first cuppa. Only an hour later, one of my drop-offs fell against my backrest. To say I was shocked was an understatement, as I fully expected to pull into a feisty little jack as I wound down. I was only fishing with small horse mackerel, so I knew I was in with a chance of a good hook hold, but I was greeted with an energetic first run, and my powerful E-Sox Piker rod curled over beautifully, cushioning every shake of his head.

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Commercial Perch

A short morning session on a local commercial water produced a trio of perch for Southampton based all-rounder Matthew Fernandez.


After arriving at the lake and having a quick walk around the lake, Matthew decided to drop in a swim on the end of a warm wind in a small swim which had two snags either side of it.

He then baited each area with chopped lobworm, prawn and red maggot. Using a single king prawn on one rod and a lobworm on the other. Topping up each swim with a dozen or so maggots every few minutes to keep plenty of small bait fish in the area.

“It wasn’t long before the bobbin was slowly rising up to the blank of the right hand rod and I lifted into a hard fighting perch. After a spirited fight on my Drennan Series 7 Specialist 1.25 Avon/Quiver rod she slid over the net. The scales read 2lb 8oz, a lovely fish and a great start to the morning session. I went on to catch two more perch, one at 1lb 15oz and the other at 2lb.”

Matthew used a simple running leger rig comprising of 6lb Feeder & Method Mono with a 12″ hooklink of 6lb Supplex and a size 6 Super Specilaist Barbel hook with the barb crushed down to aid unhooking.

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One, Two, Three For Drennan Oxford

A trio of Drennan Oxford men filled the frame on the Avington stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal.


Michael Denton (left) and Tony Hobbs with their framing catches.

This was a 24-peg practice open for the forthcoming Oxford Winter League and the weights were good despite the heaviest frost of the year. Tony Hobbs won the match with 13lb 11oz from Peg 1 below the lock. He had a bream and big perch on chopped worm down the middle plus over 4lb of roach. Ian Young was 2nd from Peg 3 with 8lb 8oz catch of mostly roach and Michael Denton was just behind in 3rd with another 8lb-plus catch of mostly roach.

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Drennan Rive Silverfish Festival — Result

Derek Hammond is the 2015 Drennan Rive Silverfish Festival Champion after scoring a perfect two section wins and amassing a 48lb 5oz total.


The experienced Oxfordshire matchman won his section on Python on Day One and then put in a great performance to win the match outright on Pollawyn on Day Two.

His 33lb 8oz weight from Peg 15 consisted of quality skimmers to 3lb plus a few bonus perch and barbel. He caught most of his weight on a 5m swim with double dead red maggot over groundbait and chopped worm.

The best rig was a 0.6g John Walker Special on 0.13mm line to a 0.11mm hooklength, size 18 Silverfish Pellet hook and Aqua 4–6 F1 & Silverfish Bungee. His reward was £700 and a shiny new Rive seatbox.

Second overall was Grant Albutt who also had two section wins but a slightly lower 46lb 11oz total. Jon Jowett also had maximum points and his 38lb 12oz total weight earned him third overall.

Despite the tough weather conditions it still proved to be a great event fished in good spirits with prizes awarded to all of the 84 competitors courtesy of Drennan and Rive. Thanks to Gary Barclay for organising the event and also to Clint Elliott and all of his team at White Acres Holiday Park for looking after everyone so well.

Click here to view our Facebook Photo Album from this excellent event »

Overall Top 10:
1st Derek Hammond (Drennan Oxford) 14pts (48lb 5oz)
2nd Grant Albutt (Matrix) 14 (46lb 11oz)
3rd Jon Jowett (Drennan Northwest) 14 (38lb 12oz)
4th Callum Dicks (Maver) 13 (56lb 1oz)
5th Simon Willsmore (Drennan) 13 (54lb 11oz)
6th Andy Bennett (Guru) 13 (51lb 12oz)
7th Darren Davies (Drennan) 13 (51lb 5oz)
8th Des Shipp (Preston) 13 (39lb 13oz)
9th Martin Kirk (Sensas A4) 13 (33lb 14oz)
10th Jon Arthur (Drennan) 12 (38lb 5oz)

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Drennan Rive Silverfish Festival — Day One

Gale force winds and hail storms slowed the sport down at White Acres for Day One of the Drennan Rive Silverfish Festival.


Comfortable winner on the day was Callum Dicks with 44lb 12oz of roach and skimmers from Peg 17 on the fancied High Bank of Pollawyn. The Drennan Team England ace has an excellent record on silverfish at White Acres and caught the bulk of his weight shallow with casters.

Commercial wizard Andy Bennett was 2nd out of the 84 competitors with 34lb 2oz from peg 15 in the same section.

Simon Willsmore filled 3rd spot with roach and three bonus barbel for 29lb 7oz from peg 12 on Sycamore.

These three will be red-hot favourites to win, but any of today’s 12 section winners are in with a shout. Thankfully the weather is forecast to be much kinder tomorrow!

Day 1 Individuals:
1 Callum Dicks 44–12
2 Andy Bennett 34–02
3 Simon Willsmore 29–07
4 Darren Davies 26–12
5 Dave Harpin 24–8

Day 1 Section Winners:
A Grant Albutt 22–05
B Dave Harpin 24–08
C Callum Dicks 44–12
D Kian Wardle 16–05
E Andy Dare 17–03
F Lucie Parise 14–02
G Des Shipp 21–03
H John Beesley 9–13
I Derek Hammond 14–13
J Jon Arthur 22–01
K Simon Willsmore 29–07
L Jon Jowett 25–0

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Trio Of Barbel For Theo

Terry Theobald was rewarded for his efforts recently after landing three double figure barbel during a daytime session on the River Trent.


With the River Trent being such a strong and powerful river, Theo used his Martin Bowler Specialist Rods coupled with fixed spool reels loaded with 12b Syncro XT Loaded mainline.  A strong robust line with great abrasion resistance, a must when targeting big fish on any river.

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