The longest-standing coarse fish record in the UK was rocked this week following the capture of a massive double-figure eel from a day-ticket stillwater.
Witnesses joked that the 10lb 2oz giant banked by George Howie from Kidderminster’s Shatterford Lakes was Œlike a conger eel’ after the Scottish angler caught it by accident on a 21mm halibut pellet intended for carp.
The fish falls just 1lb shy of the 11lb 2oz British record eel caught from
Kingfisher Lake in Hampshire by Steve Terry in 1978, and experts from the National Anguilla Club believe that it is one of only eight 10lb-plus examples of the species caught in the past 100 years.
Glasgow-based George (47) was fishing Eric’s Lake during a week-long session at the Worcestershire complex and was targeting an island shelf with Method feeder tactics when he received a screaming Œone-tone’ run at 2.30am. After a long and spirited battle, George managed to net the impressive specimen.
He and his friends then struggled to contain the giant snig, which kept crawling out of the weigh sling and, with fish welfare a priority, George released it after weighing it twice on Fox Digital scales and taking a few rushed pictures.
“I’d just landed a 17lb 14oz catfish and was surprised to get another take.
The fish tore off and I was convinced that it was a carp. I only realised what it was in the light of the headtorch. I’ve caught eels to 4lb 8oz before but this thing was several leagues above!” said George.
Shatterford Lakes doesn’t have a history of producing big eels, but venue boss Ivan Norman told Angling Times that a 6lb fish was caught a few years ago and a similarly-sized specimen was also found dead after choking on an 8oz perch.
However, one of the country’s most successful eel anglers, Barry McConnell, admits that he isn’t at all surprised by the capture.
“Extra large eels can turn up anywhere - in fact, I look for places where people say there are none! The only criteria for a big eel venue is that they can get access to running water and I’m told that Shatterford is spring-fed. I often hear of huge eels falling to carp anglers and if as many people fished for eels as they did for carp, we’d have broken the record years ago,” said Barry, of the National Anguilla Club.