HERE it is - the biggest barbel of the year so far. And the prospects look bright for some mega weight fish at the back-end of the river season.

Craig Lander has landed the biggest barbel of the year and showed why Nottinghamshire’s River Trent is now being rated the best venue in the UK.

The 27-year-old angler landed the 18 lb 14 oz giant Trent barbel to easily better his previous biggest barbel of 14 lb 12 oz.

And then a few days later he followed it up with a 16 lb 8 oz beast!

Nottingham-based Craig said: “I didn’t even think it was possible to beat my old best by 4 lb 2 oz. Never in a million years did I ever think anything like this was possible, still in shock.

“I started off around 7.40pm and after an 8 lb ‘splasher’ it went dead so I decided to move the Vortex Baits’s Enzyme Active Squid Liver rod for the last cast into the margin.

“Within half hour of recasting boom, the rod was bending over and taking line. As I started to play the fish could tell it was a really heavy lump on the end of my line.”

Biggest barbel captor lands in river

Craig revealed: “Struggling to pull it upstream the fish darted down my inside line, I moved further and further down the bank as the fish took line.

“Then the unthinkable happened. Bang! Before I knew it I was on my ar*e and straight in. It was cold, let me tell you!

“I handed my rod over to my good friend Jay Elliott so we could get the fish netted.

“As soon as I netted it I knew it was huge, I couldn’t believe it had stayed on the hook as it was only just nicked in the lip.

“I was shaking uncontrollably and just over the moon, still not believing my luck.

“And then a few days later I had the 16 lb 8 oz fish on CKO boilie chops and pellet,”  added Craig.

The next five months of the river fishing season look really bright for the nation’s biggest  barbel to hit new highs.

There could even be a new British record, over the 21 lb 1 oz target, as was predicted to Angler’s Mail at the start of the 2017/18 term.

CAUGHT A BIG FISH OR GOT SOME NEWS? Email photos and details exclusively to: anglersmail@timeinc.com – you could star in the weekly Angler’s Mail print magazine.