PETE READING had a real shock at the end of his river season when he smashed the Hampshire Avon record with this 19 lb 11 oz stunner.

Pete, a highly respected expert on Hampshire Avon barbel, was amazed by his historic capture.

It underlines a lurking potential still in this great river, which has held the British barbel and chub records in the past.

The 65-year-old retired science teacher told Angler’s Mail: “It was taken from a little-fished private stretch of the river, and beats my previous PB from the Avon of 15 lb 14 oz by a good amount, and my Dorset Stour PB of 16 lb 8 oz.

“It took a lump of a home-made paste wrapped around a matching boilie that I have been using for a couple of years, and which has accounted for 26 double-figure fish from the river for me this season.

“This is a historic fish for the river, and a friend who came and witnessed it for me was as stunned as I was by the weight – it is a truly huge fish for the river.

“I would have been more than happy with a 17-pounder!”

Hampshire Avon barbel potential

Pete added: “It was a surprise to see the leap in weight from the previous 16 lb 15 oz river record, but 18 lb-plus fish have been rumoured but not advertised recently.

“I am certain this fish and a few others could go to 20 lb in next few years, and Avon fish have been growing steadily in recent years, with 15 and 16 lb fish ever more common.

“Much of the upper and middle river is unfished and big fish can grow naturally in isolation, but do roam great distances and pop up in surprising places,” revealed Poole, Dorset-based Pete.

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