BARBEL ace Phil Smith reached a unique landmark when he notched a double-figure barbel from his 30th different UK river with this 10 lb 12 oz sample.

Phil, who has been one of the country’s most successful all-round specimen hunters for many years, caught his historic barbel from the River Arrow in Worcestershire.

Coventry, West Midlands-based Phil explained: “This year I was looking to try the Witham, Kentish Stour and Wandle. But one of the problems is that many of the rivers that offer a reasonable chance of success are getting further and further away and with many trips often needed it gets difficult and expensive.

“I had tried the River Arrow, a tributary of the Warwickshire Avon, about five years ago for a couple of seasons without success in fact I only met one angler who claimed to have caught a double.

“With plenty of fish in the 4-7 lb range and a best of 9 lb 12 oz I gave up for pastures new.

“This season, since the river was only 28 miles away, I decided to try again and a trip to Alcester Tackle soon got me on the trail again.

“One club Trades and Labour AC allowed night fishing. Nights are not essential, but as the evenings draw in, it can be useful to be able to stay on until 10 pm or so, plus the barbel often put in an appearance in those first few hours of dark.

“Upon arrival I used one of Christophe Pelhate’s modified Spomb bait droppers to put out 1 kg of pellets plus ten 14 mm Pandemic boilies broken in half.

“I decided I would pack up at 10 pm but with only minutes to go the rod took off and I was in action. Coming to the net I could see he was big, but how big?

“With the scales zeroed and a slight tremor I lifted up to see a reading of 10 lb 12 oz – I had done it,” he concluded.

PHIL’S FAB 30 BARBEL RIVERS

Great Ouse 17 lb 1 oz

Derbyshire Derwent 16 lb 12 oz

Kennet 15 lb 5 oz

Dove 15 lb 5 oz

Anker 15 lb 4 oz

Ivel 15 lb 3 oz

Lea 14 lb 10 oz

Nene 14 lb 6 oz

Warwickshire Avon 14 lb 10 oz

Thames 13 lb 14 oz

Trent 13 lb 11 oz

Bristol Avon 13 lb 8 oz

Severn 13 lb 1 oz

Hampshire Avon 12 lb 12 oz

St Patricks Stream 12 lb 10 oz

Goyt 12 lb 6 oz

Thame 12 lb 3 oz

Swale 12 lb 2 oz

Dorset Stour 11 lb 15 oz

Taff 11 lb 13 oz

Loddon 11 lb 12 oz

Teme 11 lb 6 oz

Soar 11 lb 1 oz

Mole 10 lb 14 oz

Arrow 10 lb 12 oz

Wey 10 lb 12 oz

Ribble 10 lb 5 oz

Itchen 10 lb 3 oz

Colne 10 lb 2 oz

Wye 10 lb

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