Category Archives: Specimen

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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3lb Ouse Perch For Jamie

Former Drennan Cup winner, Jamie Cartwright had to wait until the light had completely gone for his first bite of the session. But, he wasn’t complaining when he slipped the net under this impressive 3lb perch from the River Great Ouse.


“It’s my first 3lb perch of the winter and from a new stretch, which is a good sign. It made me wait until it was dark before deciding that my lobworm hookbait looked too tasty to ignore!”

Jamie uses his Matchpro Medium Feeder Combo 11ft 6in/12ft 6in rod for targeting perch on the river. He uses a simple link leger setup with just enough shot to hold bottom with a size 6 B983 hook tied directly to the mainline, baited with a lobworm and tipped with a single red maggot to stop the worm masking the hook point.

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Trent Barbel For Simon

Durham-based angler Simon Ashton has recently been targeting the River Trent for barbel and with great success.


Simon with his new personal best barbel of 12lb 5oz.

Simon was rewarded on his very first session with a new personal best barbel of 12lb 5oz which beat his long-standing best from his local River Wear. Since that session, Simon has been back for more and has landed numerous others up to 11lb 5oz.

“I have been using my 12ft 2lb Distance Tench & Bream rods which are great for casting big leads and feeders across the river. On my reels I have been using 15lb ESP Syncro XT Loaded, this offers great abrasion resistance and strength, a must for fishing such big and powerful rivers. My hooklink choice has been 4ft of 15lb gravel braid with a single 8mm pellet presented on a size 14 Specimen Plus hook.”

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Success On The Hampshire Avon

Swindon based angler Mark Woodage has been enjoying some great success on the Hampshire Avon during recent months, but it’s not been easy as Mark explains.


The Hampshire Avon is new territory for me, one of the first obstacles was obvious, I’d need to overcome it’s the crystal clear water. It’s fantastic to be able to watch the barbel at close quarters, but on the other side of the coin, they can see you and your tackle too! To help overcome this I’ve been using the weed as best possible to lay my line in and then by sitting well upstream of my rig to lower the angle of the line. It is so important to have a main line that not only sinks well but is strong and abrasion resistant. ESP Syncro Loaded XT fits the bill perfectly.

As I have been fishing a relatively small bait in the form of 2 West Country BaitsElips pellets superglued to the hair I have been using a size 11 Super Specialist Barbel hook. I have used this range of hooks since their launch, and with great success so I had no reason to change. This has been fished in conjunction with 6 inches of Gravel Braid, tied to a small swivel which is then covered in tungsten putty. Above this, four Float Stops, two either side fix a coated lead in place. This enables the length of the hook link to be adjusted. Completing the set up is a back lead which is fixed between a single float stop and 6 ply PVA string. This enables the lead to stay in position when being cast but allows the back lead to move in the event of a hooked fish getting caught up in weed.

I’ve been very lucky so far this season, landing several fish, including two in excess of 14lb with the best going 14lb 4oz.

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Trio Of Two’s For Ryan

Drennan’s Ryan Hayden landed three two-pound perch on a short session on the canal over the weekend using simple lure tactics.


A brace of two-pound canal perch for Ryan Hayden.

Ryan used a simple light lure fishing outfit consisting of E-Sox 7ft 6in Dropshot rod coupled with a Series 7 Float reel loaded with 8lb low diameter braid and an 8lb E-Sox Dropshot Fluorocarbon Leader.

“After I had spent an hour working this section of the canal without a single touch using natural coloured lures, I switched over to a brighter lure in the form of an Orange Flash Holographic Dropshot Lure. The very next cast, I received a take, just down the boat channel in the deeper water, the rod hooped over and I was into the first perch of the session”

Two more perch of similar size soon followed for Ryan as he made his way back along the canal. “It was a great end to a short morning session, despite the heavy rain and wind,” he added.

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17lb 8oz Nene Barbel

Martin Gray set a new personal best after landing a huge barbel from the River Nene near Peterborough.


Martin Gray holding his new personal best barbel.

After moving into his fifth swim of the day, Martin baited the central channel with a few boilies before making his first cast. Using a double 12mm boilie hookbait mounted on a hair tied to a size 6 wide gape hook and 20lb Anchor Braid.

“The bite was a really tentative one, met with solid resistance. The fish then moved off upstream, and from experience, I knew that I was hooked into something special. After catching a glimpse of it I had to dip the rod under the water to allow a huge raft of streamer weed to pass over without snagging the line. That’s when the panic set in. Knowing that I was attached to what looked like a huge fish any mistake could cost me dearly. 

“Thankfully, moments later the fish slid over the eagerly awaiting landing net. The scales settled on 17lb 8oz. I had finally beaten my old personal best! After 5 years of trying to up my PB, I had finally done it. I was completely overwhelmed, to say the least!”

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Only Bite Of Session Yields 4lb Crucian

Southampton-based angler, Matthew Fernandez only received a single bite on his latest crucian session, but it was definitely worth the wait. 


“I moved swims three times before deciding on an area I felt confident in. I baited a small area at 50 yards with a few spombs of Active mix, Krill pellets, maggots and caster before casting two 35g In-Line Flat Method Feeders over the top.

He used short 3″ Micro Braid hooklinks with a size 16 Wide Gape Specialist hook, baited with a single Buoyant Caster.

“I only had one bite during the session at around 11am just before I had to leave, but the wait was worth it when the needle spun around to 4lb, making this my third 4lb+ crucian from this particular venue.”

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