A day-ticket angler is this week nursing his aching limbs after enduring a momentous four-hour tug-of-war with one of the largest coarse fish ever landed in the UK.
When Ben Elms cast his boilie hookbait into the depths of his local Galley Hill Fishery in Waltham Abbey, he was hoping for a bite or two from the resident carp.
The 19-year-old, from Walthamstow in London, had heard numerous stories that in the past the venue also held a mysterious uncaught monster fish, which had smashed rods and broken angler’s hearts…but dismissed the stories as angling myth.
He was forced to change his mind by the end of the afternoon, however, after he finally managed to bank a monster 80lb catfish measuring 5ft long – but not before a bystander was forced to dive into the water and wrestle it ashore.
“It didn’t take me long to realise that I was attached to the mystery fish that everyone else seems to have hooked and lost.
When the first hour passed I thought I’d lose it at any minute because I was powerless and couldn’t get any control over it,” said Ben, who tempted the huge fish with a Method feeder and a pop-up boilie combination attached to 10lb mainline.
By the time the 5ft long catfish was ready for the net, a weary Ben realised that his new personal best wouldn’t fit in his 42-inch landing net, so he had to call on his girlfriend’s father Gary Spong to wade in and lift the giant on to the bank.
“When word got around the lake about what I had attached to the other end, everyone gathered in my swim, which made it all the more exciting. People were offering to help me, but I was adamant that I was going to land it myself.
“I hooked the fish at 12.15pm and eventually landed it at 4.15pm, by which time I was truly drained. I’ve ran mini marathons before and they were nowhere near as tiring as this!” he added.