DEAN MACEY made the most of milder weather just before the latest cold snap to tempt fantastic barbel of 16 lb 2 oz and 14 lb 14 oz on consecutive days.

Dean, the star of Big Fish Off and Fishing Gurus TV series, had to wait until darkness for any signs of life in his swim, on a very low and clear from River Lea.

Despite those conditions, he knew there was a chance of a barbel, given how much the water temperature had risen after a spell of overnight frosts.

Former decathlon champ Dean, 39, revealed: “Once it got dark, from around 5.30pm onwards I was getting a few raps on my rod tip that were caused by crayfish.

“But then I had a much slower pull on the tip, which I was sure was either a fish picking up the bait and getting away with it, or a liner. But soon I had the 14-pounder.

“I never feel that confident returning to the same venue the day after catching a good fish. It always feels like I’m pushing my luck too far.

“This time however, I felt really good and there was something in my gut that told me to head to a totally different area of the river.”

Dean’s 14-pounder came before the new PB barbel (pictured top). What a mighty pair!

Boilie and slop gives Dean new PB

Dean continued: “I fished the same Hinders Barbel Bomb slop and Mainline Hybrid boilie hook bait as the day before. But this time the tip slammed round within seconds on the bait touching down.

“It wasn’t the intended barbel but a greedy pike of about 7 lb that tail-walked all over the swim!

“After the unwanted disturbance I repeated my baiting strategy and lowered the rig in place. There were quite a few crayfish in this swim so after two hours of the tip rattling around I checked the bait.

“I was surprised to see that it was mainly intact so I rewrapped the boilie with a large ball of paste and repositioned it for the remaining two hours of fishing. Again the crays attacked the paste but after an hour of so it all went quiet… and then came the 4 ft twitch!

“It felt massive right from the start and as with the 14-pounder it was stalemate for some time with me only managing to get one turn on the reel at a time,” said Dean.

Dean’s low viz hook link line.

He landed both the 14 lb 14 oz fish and 16 lb 2 oz giant on a size 10 Guru MWGB hook to a hook link tied using the new Guru Pure fluorocarbon, with 10 lb Drag-Line main line.

Dean added: “Even the morning after with no sleep at all, I was still totally buzzing like a lottery winner!

“I was more than happy with a PB of 15 lb 8 oz and to be honest, with the way most rivers are going these days I never in my wildest dreams expected to better it, so this 16 lb 2 oz barbel is a very special fish for me.”

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