Adam Bessimeh 16lb 4oz Barbel

“After a strong 30 minute battle in the dark she was mine!

Adam Bassimeh has fallen victim to the signal crayfish on several occasions, whittling down his hookbaits to a crumb before a barbel has a chance to find it but a slight change has helped him catch the ‘greatest fish of his life so far’!

Adam told us “During my latest session, a slight rig tweak and a change of hookbaits paid off in style and helped me catch the greatest fish of my life so far. After a successful season of chub fishing on the Kennet last year, I decided to renew my ticket and have a proper go for the barbel.

My first few trips of the season were mostly short evening sessions and although I managed 3 small barbel on running rigs with 16mm boilies at bait, I felt I was only scratching the surface. Unless I had a bite, most of the time was spent watching my tips dance about as the crayfish slowly dragged my rigs away from their baited areas. They were damaging my chances and after a couple of blanks sessions, I decided enough was enough and I needed to do something about it.

I discovered that Sticky Baits made harder hookbaits so I got a pot of the 20mm versions and planned another evening trip to put them to use. Alongside the new boilies I also decided to swap my free running rigs over to a 2oz bolt rig set up with long braided hooklengths. I hoped that this would make it harder for the cray to move them out of position whilst still fishing with a good presentation whilst waiting for a barbel to turn up.

That night I got down to the river for about 8pm and fed a handful of boilies to a spot on my right hand margin and another to a far bank tree. I cast both of my rigs on top of these spots and sat back watching the tips. The tell-tale taps revealed the crayfish had returned, although my rigs stayed put as I knew it would take them a while to chew through those 20mm baits!

I don’t think 5 minutes had passed before my near margin rod rook off and I battled with what turned out to be a 7lb barbel. My previous PB was only 6lb 7oz so I was happy with that but I had no time to enjoy it as my other rod screamed off just seconds after slipping it back.

I struck into what felt like a snag at first before peeling of 30 yards of line from my spool as it headed downstream. Luckily there were no obstacles on my bank so I could follow the fish down river and stay in contact with it. After a strong 30 minute battle in the dark she was mine! I kept staring at it and couldn’t quite believe what I’d just caught from this tiny, shallow stretch of river.

On the scales she read 16lb 4oz meaning I had smashed my pb out of the park and had caught 2 new pb’s in one evening, what a session! Ok, my new rigs and hookbaits didn’t exactly keep the crays away but they certainly thwarted them long enough for the barbel to arrive.”