Darren Wilson 17lb 10oz barbel

I was in total shock when scales steadied at 17.10 new lower Trent tidal PB for me!!

Darren Wilson has been having a few set backs on recent sessions on the Lower Trent, these include getting plagued by mitten crab & small bream but on his last session he was rewarded in style with this stunning 17lb 10oz barbel.

Darren told us “The first daylight session was very quiet but a couple of small barbel & 2 bream took me through to the first night. Things improved after I baited up with non-fishmeal pellets in some slack water and after the first 24 hours I had 19 barbel, x3 lower doubles to 11.4 & some lovely condition 5-8lb class fish. Consistent baiting with non fishmeal pellets with large cage feeders was working.

Then a storm hit and it was like the lights has been turned off as the fish stopped feeding in torrential rainfall & winds up to 60mph, battering the exposed flatlands of the lower meandering tidal river.

So I reeled in and got some much needed rest! The next day was windy but with bright sunshine and I had no bites whatsoever. I continued baiting the areas at each slack water, experience tells me never give up when fish patrol miles down.

Large barbel down here have very short feeding spells!! I had taken water temps 15.8c 60f, which was a 3 degree drop from previous day. That told me the influx of drainage water was much higher at the upstream weir. So I planned to be up for 03:00am and found the water had good colour & flow rates!!

Surely this would stimulate a feeding spell? I always sit next to my rods & never sleep knowing that the huge sunken rock structure is close by. At 05:30am my alarm bleeped twice and I had a rattle on the rod tip! I struck expecting another bream but all hell let loose with the fish moving fast & deep upstream.

Then it decided to swim towards the far bank and head downstream! I thought I was attached to a river carp or rumoured sturgeon as this fish had so much power using strong ebb-tide to its advantage. This fight was going on too long, it felt 50:50, I had to get the landing net & walk downstream on flood bank as it was beginning to kite on me!

I walked 80 yards into the next clearing & close to known under water snag structures. I decided to not yield, tightened front drag tight as much as i dare and managed to get the fish high in the water column. I just knew I couldn’t let it pass to the left, further downstream! Thankfully the fish came to surface & I netted first time.

It looked decent, I started to think it was an upper 14 so I unclipped the hooklink first & rested her in landing net. She was upright & breathing straight away. It was still dark so i went back for my large floating cradle. Lots of room for a safe recovery of the large fish.

I set up the camera & selfie stick with daybreak twenty minutes away, set the unhooking area with mats plus my tripod/ scales and waited until light as it’s a very slippery flood bank so it was tentative carrying the cradle and fish back to my swim.