WHEN game angling guide Rob Waddington latched into a heavy fish during a session at Rutland Water last week, the last thing he expected to see on the other end was this huge eel, weighing in at a mighty 7lb 8oz
The professional fishing coach took the impressive predator on a sinking fly while casting from the bank at the vast 3,000-acre East Midlands venue. He had already been ‘bitten off’ by another big fish just minutes before doing battle with the surprise catch.
Rob told Angling Times: “I knew they were large eels in Rutland, which you’d occasionally see in the rocks, but this is the first one I’ve caught. We’d had a successful day with good sport from the trout on buzzers, then the wind got up and I decided to try a sinking line and a cat’s whisker booby, slowly drawn through the depths. On my first cast I had a savage take, while retrieving the fly up from the shelf, from what felt like a huge fish. I got smashed and the 12.5lb leader had been bitten off cleanly.”
Having tied on a new fly, Rob’s next cast produced another powerful bite followed by a long, slow run which took his reel down to the backing.
"I hoped it was a big brown trout, as there have been some good ones caught recently,” he said,
"but the fight was different and I thought it could be a big pike, which I’ve had to over 20lb from Ruitland on the fly rod. When it came to the net, I couldn't believe it was a huge eel!"
It’s not the first time that the Anglian Water-owned venue has produced a specimen eel, with a giant fish estimated by its captor to weigh well in excess of the British record having been caught almost a year ago to the day.
Rutland Water fishery manager John Marshall said: “Rob’s catch is a bit unusual but it doesn’t surprise me. Going back 30 years or so there were a lot of eels in there and some of them where huge. Sometimes they’d get stuck in the inlet pipe at the dam and they’d be as thick as your arm!”
*Rob’s Rutland Fly Fishing Adventures offers guiding and coaching at the reservoir and can be contacted through www.rutlandflyfishing.co.uk