Huge Barbel For Dean

For most river anglers it’s been a tough season. Almost every week the rivers have received extra water due to the unusually wet summer we have had, and I’m not totally convinced the fish have dealt with it that well.
But we pay our money and we take our chances and on my last trip to the wonderful River Kennet I managed to strike it lucky. It’s a 220-mile round trip from door to door, which is one hell of a long way for an afternoon session after work. However, living in Essex means that the Kennet, in my opinion, gives me the best chance of bagging a very big barbel and by big, I mean over the 12lb mark.
The stretch I targeted has not seen much pressure over the last few weeks as its been fishing really hard, so I was pleased to see that I was the only one on the venue on my arrival, leaving me free to rove around as and when I pleased.
The first two swims at the bottom of the stretch that I fished felt totally dead, so instead of working my way up to the weir pool gradually, I decided to just go the whole hog and shot straight up there in the hope of dropping on a fish or two with only a couple of hours of light left.
On my very first cast in a swim with more pacey and oxygenated water pushing through it, the tip did that unmistakable three-foot twitch that we all love to see so much. As I gently lifted into it (there’s no need to strike the fish’s head off) I knew instantly that it was a very good fish. It held station for a good few minutes before starting to head upstream in the powerful flow but stayed clear of all the potential disasters. My size 12 Wide Gape, 10lb IQ2 hook link and 10lb Drag Line held fast and did their job in style and soon after I was looking down at a very big-framed fish resting in my battered old net.
Surprisingly, she only went 12lb 13oz on the scales and looked very empty as if she had only recently spawned with her vent still well open, but I was still made up and the 110-mile trip home felt so much easier than the last.