Category Archives: Specimen

Change Of Tactic Works Magic!

Northampton based specimen angler, and former Drennan Cup Holder, Jamie Cartwright reports on a hectic session for perch on the Great Ouse.


The day started quite well, the conditions were perfect, heavy cloud cover had kept overnight temperatures up around 8 or 9 degrees and the river was carrying a hint of pace and colour after a spell of rain earlier in the week. 20-minutes after casting out my lobworm hook bait it was picked up by a stunning perch weighing 3lb 8oz. Another 20-minutes past before the 1oz Slow Taper Quiver Tip, jagged and pulled round again. The culprit this time was another bristling young perch of around 1lb 12oz, things were looking good!

Not long after taking that second fish the cloud cover cleared and the sun came out and brought an end to the feeding spell, well for the perch at least. A chunky tench had me convinced I was attached to an enormous perch, right up until it rolled over the landing net.After that I sat bite-less for an hour, mulling over my options, I could set up a float rod and try trotting a lobworm through the swim, or I could set up my 8ft 6in Esox Dropshot rod out and take the battle to the perch.

I decided to go for the more mobile approach and mounted a 4″ rubber shad mounted on a 7-gram jig head and made my first cast just beyond the area I had been baiting with the broken lobworms. Rather unpredictably the shad was nailed first cast right over the bait and a stunning perch weighing 2lb 12oz came reluctantly to the waiting net. Coughing up lobworm sections as I unhooked it. Another couple of casts and the shad was grabbed again and this fish felt slightly better than the first, and so it proved, weighing in at a chunky 3lb 4oz, a new lure caught personal best by 8oz! I should point out that I rarely use lures, mainly due to a lack of confidence in them, but my confidence now was sky high, and I was keen to make up for lost time!

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Hectic Grayling Session

All-round angler, Matthew Fernandez managed to get a few hours fishing one morning and decided to visit his local River Itchen for a spot of grayling fishing.


“I arrived at the river early in the morning for a bit of trotting, with only a few hours ahead of me I packed light. As the river was low and clear, I planned to fish quite a few swims in hope of taking a few fish from each area before they moving onto the next.

“Trotted red maggots presented on a size 16 Super Specialist hook suspended under a 3BB Alloy Stick float proved to be the winning tactic. I managed to catch from the off and ended up landing plenty of grayling from most swims, with the best just reaching 2lb that up a great fight on my 13ft Acolyte Plus float rod.”


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Rewarded With A 3lb 8oz Perch

Matthew Fernandez proved that it only takes one bite after landing his new personal best perch weighing 3lb 8oz.


“With conditions being bright and far from ideal, I knew it would be a hard day. But at dusk, I got my first bite on a king prawn fished down the edge which turned out to be a new personal best perch of 3lb 8oz, beating my previous personal best by a few ounces. 

“I used my 14ft Matchpro Ultralight float rod coupled with a centre pin reel loaded with 4lb 4oz Float Fish. Rig wise I set up a light link ledger using Float Stops to trap a small rig ring with a short length of line and two SSG shot pinched on. As I was fishing a whole king prawn I used a large size 6 barbless hook to ensure the hook point would not be masked by the bait.”

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Huge 3lb 3oz River Roach For Mike

Drennan sales representative and big fish angler Mike Davidson landed this fish of a lifetime after making a last minute decision to fish a local chalk stream.


“Recently I was lucky enough to achieve a lifetime ambition of mine by catching my first 3lb roach from a river. It weighed in at 3lb 3oz and was caught from a southern chalk stream on a short evening session.

“After a biteless hour, I switched from a bread flake hookbait over to 10mm bread punch and within 30 seconds of recasting the tip went round. Coincidence maybe, but it certainly did the trick! It beat my previous personal best roach of 2lb 14oz and one I always thought I’d struggle to beat.

“Bread punches are a great addition to a specimen hunter’s armoury and offer a great alternative to flake when fishing for roach,” he added.

Mike used his 12ft Acolyte Ultra Feeder rod with a small fixed spool reel loaded with 4lb mainline, a simple link leger setup and a 2lb Supplex Fluorocarbon hooklength with a size 12 Wide Gape Specialist hook.

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7lb 15oz Chub Tops Lee Navigation Chub Haul

Gary Norton turned his attentions to chub due to favourable conditions and was rewarded with five chub to a magnificent 7lb 15oz from a local stretch of the Lee Navigation. 


“The conditions were crying out for a chub session, so rather than sitting there blanking on the pits for carp I decided to have a go. It proved a decent call, as I am led to believe this is one of the best hauls of chub from the Lee Navigation in 10 or so years.”

Gary managed to keep the bites coming by continually loose feeding casters to gain their confidence. He fished a waggler with a 2lb 8oz hooklink and a size 18 Super Specialist hook baited with a single caster to catch all of his chub.

Gary Norton won a weekly Drennan Cup award in this week’s Angling Times for this impressive capture of big chub.

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Season’s Biggest Roach

Specialist angler, Dan Woolcott landed a huge 3lb 11oz roach from Highbridge Fishery in Norfolk recently, smashing his previous personal best in the process by a whole pound.


Dan explains: “Highbridge is a very unusual water. It’s a large clay bedded lake of 6.5-acres and is up to 35ft deep at times. It is used by a farm for irrigation purposes so the water level fluctuates enormously at times. Although it seems pretty featureless, I have managed to locate a few features during the summer when the water has been at it’s lowest. 

“There is one small shoal of around eight to ten large roach in the lake so you can imagine how pleased I was to finally catch one of my target fish from the venue. I planned to fish the venue for the weekend, but after landing the fish after just seven hours I decided to go home and celebrate.”

Dan caught his huge roach by fishing to a small ledge he had located when it was incredibly low and he baited the area with a mix of hemp, dead maggots and Scopex flavoured corn.

His helicopter rig consisted of a single grain of corn mounted directly onto a size 12 Wide Gape Specialist hook on a 5lb Fluorocarbon Fly Leader hooklink, 6lb Supplex mainline and a 30g Stainless Oval Cage Feeder.

This impressive capture earned Dan a weekly Drennan Cup Award in Angling Times.

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First-Ever ‘Two’ For Matthew

With only a couple of hours spare after work, Matthew Fernandez opted to fish an area he had previously located some big roach on the River Itchen.


“The bigger fish had always evaded me, but on this short session, I was into a few roach straight away, which was a good sign. I then hooked and lost at the net a roach easily over two-pound, my heart sunk, as I thought that was my only chance gone. But then the very next trot through the swim the float sunk in the same place and I struck into what felt like another huge roach. Thankfully, this one managed to make its way into the landing net and weighed 2lb 8oz, my first two, and a new personal best.”

Matthew used his 13ft Acolyte Plus float rod coupled with a centerpin loaded with 3lb 2oz Float Fish to which he fished a small 2BB Stick float and 2lb Supplex Fluorocarbon hooklink to a size 16 Super Specialist hook baited with two red maggots.

This impressive capture earns Matthew a weekly Drennan Cup Award in this week’s Angling Times.

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7lb 3oz Thames Chub

Swindon based angler, Mark Doherty recently had a session of a lifetime on the River Thames fishing for chub.


During the session, Mark managed to land seven chub, all over 5lb, with the biggest tipping the scales at an impressive 7lb 3oz! He used his 14ft Acolyte Plus float rod to fish a bolo float through the 5ft swim using a 4lb hooklink with a size 10 Super Specialist hook baited with bread flake.

“I couldn’t believe my luck, landing so many big chub in one session was unbelievable. Definitely one session I will never forget!”.

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Maggots Tempt Chub And Grayling

Terry ‘Theo’ Theobald recently enjoyed two days trotting down south. One day on the Dorset Stour targeting its chub and another on the River Frome fishing for grayling.


Theo with his 6lb 1oz chub caught from the Dorset Stour on trotted maggots.

“I used my all-time favourite float rod the 15ft Matchpro Ultralight with a simple trotting outfit consisting of 4lb 4oz Float Fish mainline, a large Loafer float, an olivette to get the hook bait down quickly, a size 14 swivel to stop line twist and a size 18 Super Spade Hooks To Nylon baited with a single red maggot.”

Theo landed no less than 20 grayling on the Frome to an impressive 2lb 11oz, which was backed up with two other 2lb fish and several big ones for good measure. On the Dorset Stour bites were much less frequent, only landing three chub, but with the biggest tipping the scales to 6lb 1oz it proved to be another great day.

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Big Perch For Paul Elt

Paul Elt has been having great success on a local river lately, targeting big perch using very simple tactics.


“I’ve been targeting perch recently on a local river. It’s that time of year when all the weed beds are still dying off and with a lot of leaf debris along some riverbeds bait presentation is important. I’m sure perch root around for a big lobworm but I’m far more confident with presenting a bait off the bottom, especially if the water is carrying a bit of colour.

“The best way to do this I find is by creating a buoyant bait. To do this I inject a small amount of air into the worm and present it on a size 4 Super Specialist hook which is then anchored to the bottom with a small shot. I use a simple running rig when fishing for perch, incorporating a short tag of 2lb line with an Olivette. This will pull free from the line if it gets caught up amongst the cabbages or tree roots enabling me to keep in contact with the fish.

“I like to use a light bobbin on a long drop with my favoured 12ft 1.75 Series 7 Specialist Avon/Quiver rod pointed straight at the baited area for minimum resistance. I also sit close to the rod, enabling me to hit any positive lifts on the bobbin. Regularly feeding red maggots and chopped worm over the top is also important.”

With plenty of perch to just under 3lb already landed by Paul this season, it’s definitely a great method for targeting big perch on snaggy rivers.

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