England’s rivers returned to form with a bang this week after the biggest perch and chub ever to come from running water graced anglers’ nets.
After weeks of low rainfall and poor fishing conditions, fortunes were turned on their head with monster perch of 5lb 6oz and chub of 8lb 14oz being taken from the Great Ouse and River Lea respectively.
First to strike gold was Noel Jones, who headed to a Buckingham and District AA stretch of the Ouse to bank a perch he ‘could have only dreamed of catching’ on floatfished lobworms.
The 55-year-old, from Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, told Angling Times how he came to slip his net under the largest perch to be taken from a river since Martin Bowler’s Ouse giant of 5lb 5oz, caught in February 2006.
“On Friday night I fell asleep on the settee, and woke up too late to collect worms from my local cricket pitch. The next day I stopped off at the tackle shop to buy 50 lobworms – which turned out to be the best investment I ever made!”
After failing to catch in his first swim, Noel moved to a new spot and, choosing to ‘lay on’ in mid-river, took a perch of 3lb on his first cast. Half an hour later his float slid away again, and Noel knew instantly he was into a different stamp of fish altogether.
“When I went to lift it up the bank in the landing net I was shocked – it was huge! I knew it must weigh over my pb perch of 4lb 12oz. I regularly get asked why I make the 120-mile round trip to fish the Ouse – the answer is simple – the river can make your dreams come true,” said Noel, who used a Drennan loafter float and 5lb Drennan Floatfish line straight through to a size 4 hook.
Meanwhile, over on the River Lea in Hertfordshire, Gareth Spurgeon caught the biggest-ever authenticated river chub – a massive 8lb 14oz specimen – during an overnight session on the Relief Channel at Fishers Green.
The Watford-based 37-year-old hooked the pristine specimen on a liver and garlic boilie wrapped in a slice of white bread shortly after recasting both his rods at 5am. The fish obliterated the Ford employee’s previous 6lb 15oz personal best for the species.
“I’ve been struggling on the lakes all summer after carp, so decided to have my first session on the river as part of my ongoing campaign to catch a 7lb chub,” said Gareth.
“I never ever expected to catch a fish like this, especially on my first night back on running water.”
The stunned specimen angler described the remarkable fish as a ‘breezeblock’ and insisted that it was ‘young and scale-perfect’.
“There’s no reason this fish couldn’t set a new British record towards the back end of the season – it still had plenty of fattening up to do,” said a delighted Gareth.
He beat the fish with the help of 8lb Sufix Excelon mainline, a 12ins 15lb Heavy Skin hooklength and a size 6 Korda Wide Gape hook.