Andrew Hunter 17lb 6oz Barbel

This 17lb 6oz barbel was definitely worth the wait for Andrew Hunter who had difficulty getting into a certain swim after he landed a 16lb 3oz specimen earlier in the year.

He told us “Back in the Autumn I caught a 16lb 3oz barbel from the River Lea and every man and his dog fished that stretch following the capture. It must’ve taken me a good two months to finally get back into that swim as every time I visited it, someone else was in it – but in the end it turned out to be worth the wait as I went on to catch this incredible 17lb 6oz PB barbel.

I arrived at 2:30pm and found the river to be very coloured and high up the bank, but there’s a good area of slack water in this swim which is usually only a foot deep in normal conditions, but now it was 4-5ft deep. I don’t like to feed too much bait at the time of year and just relied on a big chunk of meat on the hook and a PVA bag of chopped meat tied to the lead to draw a response. I had to wait a little while for that response which came in the shape of that classic slam round on the tip at 7pm.

As soon as it slammed round though the tip sprang back and I thought I’d lost it, but I picked up the rod, wound down the slack and it was on. It was really hit and hold stuff as there was a near bank reedbed to my right and I had to really put faith in my 12lb mainline just to hold it and steer her away. Luckily I did and soon had her in front of me before she motored all the way upstream.

The power of this barbel was immense and I knew it was in the same calibre as the 16lb 3oz fish I’d landed from here two months prior. After five minutes of going back and forth she finally slid over the net and I gazed down at another huge barbel. At first I thought it was the same fish but the markings were completely different.

Just as I was putting the fish into the sling the bailiff arrived to witness the weighing.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when the needle span round to 17lb 6oz. Considering the Lea record is 17lb 11oz it was