|The long standing record from the Royalty|
Times have now changed however. A combination of high protein baits, climate change and many other factors have resulted in barbel of huge proportions. The late 90s saw the Great Ouse phenomena explode culminating in the current barbel record of 21lb 1oz. Add to this that the current list of river records shows us that almost half of the rivers listed have fish weighing in excess of 15lb. The Internet is awash with pictures of doubles on an almost daily basis so is it really that difficult? Should the benchmark be moved to reflect how barbel angling has evolved in recent decades?
Let's be honest with ourselves - barbel are not a difficult fish to catch. Finding a stretch of river with a population is probably the hardest part as once they are found they are not the most tackle aware of species. Of course, they have days when they refuse to play ball but we are kidding ourselves if we believe there's a high level of skill required, especially when compared with catching other, more finicky species. For most people, casting a likely hookbait over a bed of shop bought pellet or boilies is all it takes to get amongst some fish. Mix in the fact we live in a world where barbel are larger than they ever have been then catching a double is merely a percentage game. Rivers like the Trent afford anglers the privilege of camping on the bank for a few days pretty safe in the knowledge that their perseverance is likely to result in a hefty fish sooner or later. If you don't believe me then a look on Facebook will display an almost endless conveyor belt of fish over 10lb. So with all this in mind is 10lb really the symbolic figure it once was or is it time for a dose of reality?