Biggest perch caught from a UK river

This stunning perch, which tipped the scales at 5lb 6oz, is the biggest authenticated specimen ever caught from a UK river.

The historic fish was caught by perch angling specialist Kevin Woodthorpe while exploring the middle reaches of the River Thames ­ a water fast emerging as arguably the nation¹s finest fishery for the species.

In a capture that beats Martin Bowler¹s previous UK river best ­ a Great Ouse specimen caught in the winter of 2006 which weighed 5lb 4oz ­ the Andover, Hants-based magazine printer searched for eight hours and tried a dozen different swims before making the hook-up of a lifetime.

It was a floatfished roach that proved to be the perfect bait for the 40-year-old, who has now made history by banking 5lb specimens from two different rivers and netting 19 perch over the 4lb mark.

"After covering so much ground we were on the verge of giving up, but I¹m one of those anglers who can never quit and I had a feeling that something special might happen," said the Perchfishers member.

"I moved to a spot that hadn¹t ever produced any big fish for me in the past, but was a great little slack area that screamed perch. A short while later my friend Steve Aley and I were stood quivering in the boat, looking at the biggest perch we¹d ever seen."

"I have some great waters like Throop on the Dorset Stour right on my doorstep, but I make the 130-mile round trip to the Thames because it¹s the best and most exciting river in the country and it holds bigger fish than this, believe me," he insisted.

Kevin¹s capture falls just 9oz short of the current British record that was banked by Les Brown from a stillwater in Crowborough, Sussex in 2006. It also beats Kevin¹s previous Thames pb of 4lb 12oz.

He beat the fish with the help of a simple float set-up that suspended his small live roach around 6ins off the bottom.

In the same week the river¹s record-breaking potential was highlighted even further by Paul Tuckwell, who trotted two lobworms to bank a huge 5lb 3oz specimen.

It was a tidal stretch that produced the new personal best for the angler from Twickenham, Middlesex, who employed a simple float rig made up from 3lb line and a size 8 hook.