Tackle shop boss finally nabs wily big barbel

JAMES WHILLIER struggled to catch a big barbel on the Hampshire Avon’s most famous venue on four visits… but finally nabbed it on his fifth trip at an estimated 13 lb.

Fifth time lucky – James and his big Royalty Fishery barbel.

The 44-year-old decided on a hemp and caster approach to fool the wary specimen from the Royalty Fishery.

James, who runs Baitstation in Calbourne on the Isle of Wight, explained: “I visited back in June and spotted a bruiser of a barbel patrolling Fiddlers.

“I could not fool this particular fish and rolled every imaginable bait past its nose without so much as a sniff.

“This time I came armed with hemp and caster and used a 8 lb fluoro hook length and a size 10 hook with a critically balanced triple caster hook bait.

“I finally managed to get this big girls head down feeding and midday got that classic barbel vibration up the line so without hesitation set the hook and she was on.

“This fish was a Royalty Fishery PB but not all time PB as have had fish from other venues up to 18 lb,” added James.

The biggest ever barbel caught from the Hampshire Avon stands at a mighty 19 lb 11 oz. The giant was caught by local specimen fishing ace Pete Reading late last season.

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