There’s something about flowing water that I love, whether it’s the relatively unknown fish stocks or the peace and quiet of the countryside, I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I couldn’t wait to get back on the river.

My target venue for the start of the season was a private stretch of the River Trent, a river that holds huge fish of all species! I visited the river the week prior to the season opening to put some bait in and clear a swim. This I hoped, would increase my chances come opening night!

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to report from opening night. A bream 20minutes after casting in was all the action for me. I spent more time behind the camera, photographing an awesome river carp for a friend!

The next week I was back and having baited up before I left, I was much more confident.

The same rigs were cast out, a simple rig comprising a 2ft 15lb Power Braid hooklength, a size 6 Xpert Power hook and a 15mm Code Red boilie.

At midday, the reel burst into life as a fish powered off. After a hard fight a fish was netted, clearly a large barbel! We weighed the fish at 12lb on the nose, took some pictures and released the fish back into the flow. This was the only fish of the session, but I packed up happy, having kicked off the season with such an awesome barbel.

The next week flew by, and after a busy week at work, I was soon back on the river. The swim had now seen a reasonable amount of bait for three weeks – hopefully, the fish would be switching onto the bait.

I started by feeding around 50 Code Red 15mm Boilies just upstream of where I was fishing. These baits had been coated in Code Red oil and then given a good coating of Krill Flavour Shaker. By doing this a few days prior to the session, the Krill powder dries onto the baits and they really stink!

Normally this stretch produces the fish after dark, but another bite during the day bucked the trend yet again.

It wasn’t long before a very heavy weight was making its way upstream and towards a big underwater snag. I applied as much pressure as I dared trying my hardest to turn the fish. I knew if the fish reached the snag it would be game over. Thankfully the fish turned coming into the deep margins and after a couple of short fast runs, it lodged its head into a weedbed only 10 yards out. I was reluctant to give the fish any slack, instead, keeping the pressure on the fish I changed the angle of the line – it popped out of the weed! After a very quick scramble down the bank, I bundled a very long barbel into the net. I looked down at the fish that was clearly bigger than any barbel I had caught before. I left the fish resting while I gathered myself and set up the camera for some self-takes.

On the scales, the fish went straight past my previous PB and settled on 13lb 5oz. A spectacular fish, completely scale perfect.

I returned the fish and cast back out ready for dark. Early the following morning I had another violent take, ripping the rod out of the rear rest, the spool spinning as the rod was jammed against the front bankstick.

This fish fought hard, shaking its head all the way to the net, before being slid into the waiting net. This fish weighed 10lb 9oz, my third barbel and third double of the season so far.

Let’s hope this run of big fish continues!