IAN SPARROW didn’t let fallen trees caused by a big storm stop him bagging this PB 17 lb 4 oz barbel in a fantastic haul.

This giant was not the only specimen to come Ian’s way as he braved the elements for a true big barbel bonanza.

The fish came from Ian’s favourite stretch of the River Trent at Collingham, in Nottinghamshire, downstream of the weir.

Bassingham, Lincolnshire-based Ian, 54, said: “I regularly visit various stretches of the Collingham water.

“I concentrate on short sessions, which is a different approach from most of those who visit, who use multiple rod set-ups and bivvy-up for longer sessions.

“I called the club bailiff on Sunday and he said that a large tree had blown down on the approach road to the car park, so I had to park some distance from the river and endure a testing walk with all the equipment.

“The river was slightly coloured when I arrived, with strengthening winds and driving rain blowing straight at us.”

Big barbel come as river rises

Ian continued: “The session started with a barbel of about 7 lb after an hour, and one of 11 lb 2 oz was the next fish to hit the bank.

“Then the fishing got even better, with 14 lb 4 oz and 14 lb 8 oz barbel gracing the landing net in quick succession.

“The river started to rise, with the extra water coming in. The wind and rain were stinging my face and I thought I must be mad to be out in such conditions.

“Then I noticed that my rod had hooped over, and my alarm went into meltdown.

“After a hard and dogged fight, a new personal best hit the net, weighing 16 lb 4 oz. Job done, I thought. I was well happy.

“Refilling my feeder again, I cast it out and celebrated with a cup of hot coffee, to keep me warm.

“Minutes later, the same rod wrapped over, with the alarm bursting out and line being taken from my reel.

“This fish felt heavy, and after another brutal tussle, it hit the landing net. It looked bigger than the previous fish, and weighed heavier, at 17 lb 4 oz.

“It was amazing; five doubles, and I broke my PB twice in an hour,” added Ian, who works in the crane industry.

Ian’s big barbel tactics included a 4 oz feeder to present a glugged Mistral Baits Atlantic Crab boilie. He used a long trace of 8 lb nylon tied to a size 10 hook.

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