Predator fishing legend Neville Fickling ended a 29-year quest to beat his zander personal best with this magnificent 16lb 8oz fish.
The former pike British record-holder had been targeting a stretch of the Trent in a bid to locate the river’s elusive zander population, but his last nine sessions had failed to produce a single bite.
But this time it was a different story for the 62-year-old, who struck gold when the huge zander took a legered rudd deadbait fished in a swim up to 15ft deep.
“It’s taken a lot of time and hard work to finally beat my personal best, but I’ve enjoyed every session because it’s the thrill of the challenge that keeps me motivated, even
after all these years,” Neville told Angling Times.
“I’ve been fishing the Trent for zander for 10 years and had a few to 11lb, but nothing close to my 15lb 15oz fish from the Fens in 1986.”
The owner of Lucebaits and The Tackle Shop in Gainsborough, Lincs, used a simple rig comprising a 50lb braided mainline, a 5oz gripper lead and a 40lb wire trace furnished with a pair of size 6 trebles.
“It’s been really hard going on the river and I thought this was going to be my tenth blank session, but as soon as it got dark I had a three-pounder, followed by what felt more like a catfish than a zander,” Neville continued.
“When I catch a big fish like this I’m obviously over the moon, but I have to say it’s the journey that I enjoy the most.
“I’m doubtful that I’ll have a bigger zander than this, but the Trent truly is capable of very special things.”