Andrew Hodgson 19lb 4oz barbel

“I managed to turn the fish it came flying up to the surface..”

Pre-baiting certainly paid off for Andrew Hodgson when he landed this 19lb 4oz barbel from the River Thames!

He told us “The capture of the barbel started when a friend of mine caught his first ever barbel from a stretch of the River Thames that I had been taking him to in hope of catching his first barbel. We was successful in that when he landed one weighing in at 13lb!

This told me the fish were on the move due to a change in the weather and light cycle, with a storm due and lots of rain coming over the UK the following weekend I decided something had to be done. I normally work alone but luckily for me the following week of my friends capture, I was working with a work colleague for the week and he lives just ten minutes from this stretch of the river. With this in mind so I headed to the river before meeting my work colleague at his house in the mornings and would bait up a few swims with about a dozen to twenty krill active boilies. The water is very deep right under you rod tips so I baited up with in the margins, once I’d finished work and dropped my work colleague off, I would go back to the river and bait up the same swims once again. I carried this out Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then on Thursday me and my good friend who caught his first barbel out on the Sunday had just gone headed down to the river.

It was a very quiet night bite wise with just a 7lb chub caught by my friend and a few large bream for myself. Then at two o’clock in the morning my rod tip just started to bend very slowly, as soon as picked the rod up the fish took off, the fight was incredible and half a dozen times it would dive for snags along the margins forcing me to lock up and try to turn it. Once the fish broke the surface and we could see how big it was my heart started racing.

Straight away I knew I was going to beat my current personal best thames barbel but I didn’t realize it was going to be that big. The fish dived again a few times trying to head for snags so at this point I was a nervous wreck as all I wanted was to land the fish. My friend had the net ready in the water ready as I was trying to stop it heading for snags again, I managed to turn the fish it came flying up to the surface and tried to head for snags to the left of me but fortunately for me that’s where my friend was waiting with the net in the water and it flew straight into the net. The fish still had plenty of fight in it and I feel very lucky we netted it when we did, I was so relieved to finally see this massive barbel in the net. I unhooked the fish in the net whilst in the water and rested it while we got all the mats ready ect. When I lifted the barbel up out the water then I realized it was very big barbel indeed, we weighed the fish three times to be sure of the weight.”