Jim Mathews came within six and a half ounces of breaking the British crucian record when he caught this superb 4lb 2oz 8dr specimen from a Surrey club lake.
The impressive fish came on the 31-year-old’s first session of his second season on the venue but the first night of the trip saw him ‘plagued’ by the numerous small tench that the lake holds.
Fearing that the tench might be pushing the crucians out the Essex-based all-rounder reduced the amount of bait he was putting out in a bid to entice his quarry in.
“The morning screamed ‘good conditions’ – overcast with light drizzle, and the pressure and light levels were perfect,” he told Angling Times.
After landing back-to-back fish of 2lb 10oz he received another fast take. “The fish stripped line off the spool like an angry male tench. I had it under control fairly quickly and when it surface 10yds out I could see it was a big framed fish. I had one hairy moment when I had to apply some pressure to steer it away from a marginal snag, but after that it came in relatively easily and as I glided it over the net and looked down I knew I had a proper specimen waiting for me.”
Jim tempted his new personal best with a fake caster on size 16 Drennan Wide Gape Specialist hook in conjunction with a 24 Guru in-line Method Feeder packed with groundbait laced with small pellets, casters and liquid additives.
“I was overwhelmed by the catch – as a boy growing up mad on fishing, I would never have dreamt that I could one day catch a fish so close to a British record. It’s a fish of a lifetime,” he added.
The current British crucian record is jointly held by Angling Times columnist Martin Bowler, Phil Smith and Joshua Blavins with fish of 4lb 9oz.