THE River Trent cemented its place as the 2019-20 season's best river for specimen fish.

Garth Sykes smashed his PB twice when he first took a 15 lb 10 oz sample and then this 18 lb 3 oz Trent monster (pictured above) from the Nottinghamshire mecca.

The 37-year-old car sprayer said: “After chatting to a few lads for an hour at the Barbel Society stretch at Sutton, I headed off for a back breaking walk to my swim.

“The river looked awesome, well up and chocolate brown in colour and the south-westerly was warm enough but getting stronger by the minute.

“I managed to find two spots in a reasonably slack section but still needed 8 oz to hold bottom due to the volume of water pushing through.

“I introduced about 40 boilies upstream and fished a size 8 hook on a combi link with one of my home-made 20 mm Mainline Link/Activ-8 boilies on each rod.

“About an hour later my downstream rod ripped off. I was into a very big fish but I got cut off on a rock.

“I put the rod back out and on the same spot, and 40 minutes later off the rod went again.

“I managed to slip this one into the net and the scales went round to 15 lb 10 oz, smashing my PB by over a pound. Get in!

“I then had a rough night with high winds and rain but no more action.

“The next day was quiet but I kept on introducing my bait steadily knowing that night-time was when I had my best chance to catch.

“And as darkness fell I didn’t have to wait long…

“This fish stayed low and was trying to head downstream towards a snag. But after a long fight and about three final surges, I slipped the net under her.

“When I saw 18 lb 3 oz my legs started shaking and I spent the rest if the night pinching myself,”  added Garth, from Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Garth’s river catch starred in Angler’s Mail magazine’s Fish of the Week pages, just before the UK entered its lockdown period due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rivers are closed to coarse fishing in England and Wales until June 16th, regardless of when all other venues open.

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