ROSS SARGANT came within a few ounces of the River Thames barbel record with this 18 lb 10 oz giant.

The telecommunications worker matted the specimen from an undisclosed stretch of the ‘middle Thames’.

It smashed his old personal best barbel catch of 12 lb and it was witnessed by two independent witnesses.

Billericay-based Ross, 38, does not have barbel fishing options in the area he lives, so like many big fish fans from Essex, he travels for his fish.

Ross said: “I cast into the fast flowing part of the Thames and through in some freebies and waited.

“I can honestly say I have never had a fish fight as hard and nearly had me in the river. The barbel really is the king of the river and a fish of a lifetime.

My personal best before this was 12 lb so that totally went.

“I had a bad motorcycle accident years ago and smashed myself up, shattered my leg and on crutches so been having ops ever since – fishing is the only thing I can still do that I love and is a great escape,” he added.

Ross tempted the impressive specimen on legered boilies with a size 8 hook to 12lb line with a 3 oz lead.

The Thames barbel record had been held jointly with fish of 18 lb 5 oz respectively for nearly a year until a few weeks ago when it was smashed by Garry Teer with a barbel of 19 lb 1 oz.

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