Category Archives: Specimen

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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River Itchen Barbel Record Broken!

Portsmouth-based angler, Simon Daley set his sights on landing a fish of 14lb but was blown away after landing a huge fish of 15lb 10oz and setting a new river record in the process.


Simon with his prized catch, a new river record barbel of 15lb 10oz.

Here’s what Simon had to say about the capture:

“I’ve been targeting the barbel on the river for a few years now and have done reasonably well, having had fish to 13lb 4oz in previous years, I’d set myself a target of 14lb, which I thought was a realistic target for the venue. After having a fair few blanks at the start of the season I thought I would have to up the hours I was putting in, and it came good with a PB of 15lb 10 which exceeded my expectations. I didn’t think the river had the potential to produce such a fish .strong tackle was in order due to various snags 12lb mainline and a 15lb anchor braid hook link size 8 hook and a large

“After having a fair few blanks at the start of the season, I thought I would have to up the hours I was putting in, and it all came good in the end with a new personal best of 15lb 10oz, which exceeded my expectations! I didn’t think the river had the potential to produce such a fish. Strong tackle was in order due to various snags, so I opted for 12lb mainline and a 15lb ESP Anchor Braid hooklength to a size 8 ESP Cryogen Gripper hook and a large boilie wrapped in paste.

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Best Of Both

Specialist angler, Ryan Hayden recently joined Martin Bowler on a trip to a lake in Dorset to target big roach and bream.


A brace shot of Ryan holding a 2lb Plus roach and a double figure bream caught during a frantic feeding spell.

Ryan started the session by introducing a large bed of pellets via the use of a Spomb to a clear area in the weed at around 50 yards. It wasn’t long before the area began to colour up as feeding fish disturbed the silt in search of food.

The double figure bream took turns with the roach that day and numerous specimens of both species were landed by Ryan.

Ryan used a simple paternoster feeder rig with an Oval Groundbait Feeder filled with crushed pellet and fishmeal groundbait along with a Supplex hooklink and a hair rigged 10mm boilie or pellet as a hookbait on a size 12 Wide Gape Specialist hook.

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New Video: Lift Method

Martin Bowler joins Steve Rowley on a local gravel pit to talk through Steve’s lift method set up for targeting big tench and bream in the margins.


Watch the full video here.

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Tinge Of Colour Spurs Roach Into Feeding

Southampton-based angler, Matthew Fernandez made the most of his limited time to land this impressive net of roach.


Matthew had previously spotted a shoal of roach whilst walking his local river and when he eventually had time to return, they were obliging and fed confidently thanks to a tinge of colour from overnight rainfall.

“I ended the session with thirteen roach, the majority being over 1lb. I used my 13ft Drennan Acolyte Plus rod coupled with a centrepin loaded with 3lb 2oz Float Fish. Setup wise, I used a 2BB stick float and a size 18 Super Specialist hook baited with a single maggot. I fed the swim with of maggots for half an hour before making my first trot, which helped massively and gained their confidence.”

Click here for more information on the 13ft Acolyte Plus Float rod.

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Big Roach

cfa-october-2016-cover-webDrennan’s Ryan Hayden visits a very special lake in search of huge roach in this month’s issue of Coarse Fishing Answers.

Over the duration of the session, Ryan landed numerous 2lb plus roach by adopting a very different approach to those usually associated with roach fishing.

To find out exactly how Ryan tackled this very weedy carp lake for roach, grab a copy from your local newsagent now. Also available for download on Apple and Android devices.

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