Category Archives: Specimen

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 Drennan 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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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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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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Hectic Pike Season Continues

Dutch angler, Hans Moolenaar is certainly having a predator season to remember, landing countless big pike from a variety of locations.


After a great start to his pike season targetting shallow waters, he could not resist moving into the deeper areas, following the huge roach shoals that the pike inevitably feed on.

“Although the temperatures were and are still high, a lot of pike are already hunting for the roach that are packed in tight shoals near the marginal slopes. Fishing in depths of 20 to 30 feet continued to bring plenty of action, with big pike landed from several locations.”

Hans likes to present his dead baits on a trace made from E-Sox Super Trace and Size 4 Extra Strong Trebles held in place using Slim Crimps and finished off with red
E-Sox Crimp Sleeves for added visual attraction. This is then fished with a simple semi-fixed lead arrangement on 35lb Piker Braided Reel Line.

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Wild Wye Grayling

Martin Bowler visit’s the glorious Upper River Wye in pursuit of the lady of the stream in this week’s Angling Times column.


Armed with a 14ft Acolyte Plus and minimal tackle, Martin wanders down the River Wye in search of grayling.

With plenty of useful tips and advice, Martin’s column is definitely worth a read and with the River Wye in its full Autumn glory, why not give it a go yourself!

Pick up a copy of Angling Times from shops now or download a copy on Apple and Android devices.

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Big Avon Dace

Matthew Tann managed to land several big dace on his latest session to the Hampshire Avon including this impressive brace of fish going 14oz and 1lb. 


Matthew arrived at the river to find it was carrying a little extra water and a nice tinge of colour. He set up his trusty 13ft Acolyte Plus float rod with a simple trotting rig incorporating a 3.2g Loafer float a strung out shotting pattern with a size 16 Wide Gape Specialist hook.

“I chose to fish just upstream of a small footbridge and run my float down into a slight depression underneath. A spot I had hoped would hold a few dace due to the increased water level and colour.

“The sport was frantic from the off, with small roach, dace and the odd chublet before latching into the bigger dace. All fooled by a steady stream of red and white maggots and the odd pouch of hemp,” explained Matthew.

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Barbel Falls To Homemade Boilie

Former Drennan Cup holder, Jamie Cartwright reaped the rewards on his latest evening session on the River Nene landing this impressive 14lb 7oz barbel.


Jamie with his 14lb 7oz River Nene barbel

This is the first fish of Jamie’s Autumn Barbel campaign and was taken after 5 short evening sessions.

The fish fell to a large homemade boilie wrapped in matching paste presented on a size 6 ESP D-7 hook which was tied to 3 feet of 20lb ESP Two-Tone with the inch nearest the hook stripped back. A 2oz Gripper style lead was also plugged with paste and was free running on the 15lb ESP Syncro mainline.

“I was really glad to be using my Drennan 2lb Specialist Power Barbel rod and such a strong robust line as the fish put up an incredible fight, probably the best I can remember from a Barbel, in a swim that had an unseen snag. I could feel the line grating on something midway through the fight, but fortunately everything held, despite the fish repeatedly powering away from the waiting net. It was only after the fight when I checked my mainline did I see how scuffed and chaffed the line was, I was really lucky to land that fish.”

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A Great Start On The Ouse

This impressive 3lb 6oz perch was the highlight of Jamie Cartwright’s first trip to a new stretch of the River Ouse.

jamie-cartwright-3.6-perchThe former Drennan Cup holder explained:

“The fish fell to link legered lobworms, presented on a size 4 Wide Gape Specialist hook tied directly on to 5lb mainline. I fed my way through nearly 100 lobworms and over a pint of maggots during the short afternoon trip.

“All the fish were quite small framed but incredibly dense and muscular and put up a tremendous fight on my 1.25lb Series 7 Specialist Avon/Quiver rod. The lack of flow meant I could get away with just a 1oz slow taper glass quiver tip. I’d always recommend carrying a selection of quiver tips so you can change them depending on conditions to ensure you are using the lightest you can get away with.”

Click here to view our full range of feeder tips

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Perch On The Acolyte Pole

Martin Bowler puts his Acolyte Carp pole to the test in this week’s Angling Times targeting perch on running water.


Martin shows just how effective a pole can be for perch when fishing tight to features such as bridges. Despite the huge drop shotting craze, Martin believes this needn’t be your automatic choice of approach.

“The use of a pole not only ensures pin-point accuracy but also allows you to impart movement into the bait by lifting and dropping the bait through the water column, hopefully inducing a take from a hungry perch.”

The 20th October issue of Angling Times is in the shops now and also available for download on Apple and Android devices.

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E-Sox Tackle Lands Dutch Pike

Hans Moolenaar has made a great start to the pike season, landing a string of fish from a large windswept stillwater.


“The key is to locate the shoals of roach. Once you have found the bait fish, pike will not be far away. And not only that, it is important to not fish to far away from the bank. On this venue, there is a small slope and down from that a small gully parallel to the bank. Too many anglers overlook the margins, thinking they have to fish in the middle of he water”

Hans likes to present his mackerel dead baits on a trace made from E-Sox Super Trace and Size 4 Extra Strong Trebles held in place using Slim Crimps and finished off with red
E-Sox Crimp Sleeves for added visual attraction. This is then fished with a simple semi-fixed lead arrangement on 35lb Piker Braided Reel Line.

“It’s important to make sure that the mackerel dead bait lays exactly in the right spot, I use a bait boat with a built-in depth finder, despite only fishing 25 yards out. Another advantage of using a bait boat is that I can make use of lighter rods as I do not have to cast a heavy lead and bait.”

Hans managed to produce 7 takes applying this tactic within a couple of short afternoon sessions from an otherwise notoriously hard water.

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