A rumour of the presence of large eels in a Kent gravel pit was all the incentive that Mark Boyle needed to have a go for the species – and his efforts were duly rewarded with this 8lb specimen.
Seven years ago the Sidcup-based stockbroker caught his previous biggest eel of 6lb 2oz but while struggling for bites from the resident carp he was chasing in the tricky venue he decided to dust off an old barbel rod and try and find out for himself whether there was any truth behind the claims.
“I certainly wouldn’t class myself as an expert on the species, so I went about catching one the only way I knew how – a link leger rig with an air-injected lobworm hookbait tipped with a piece of fake corn. I fished this over two pints of live and dead maggots down the marginal shelf of a large silty bay,” explained 30-year-old Mark.
His tactics proved effective when he received a take out of the blue at 1am. “I can only describe what followed as the ‘ruck of a lifetime.’ On its initial run it stripped over 30 yards of line off the reel and for the first five minutes I assumed I’d hooked a carp. When it flashed under the light of my headtorch I was met with the sight of a huge eel and I had to endure a further 10 nerve-wracking minutes before I netted it.
“Thankfully, it behaved itself on the bank and I was blown away when the scales settled on 8lb as there is every chance that this fish would be around 80-years-old. I’m certainly going to be having a few more sessions after the eels, because if the rumours are to be believed there are even bigger to be had in the venue.”
Mark got the fish to the bank with a size 6 Solar 101 hook attached to a four inch 15lb Avid Captive coated braid hooklink with the outer coating stripped off and a 2oz bomb on a 15lb Amnesia link.