Two personal bests on the trot!

A quest of almost 20 years in search of new personal bests for two of the UK’s most cherished fish ended in style as Mike Lyddon landed huge tench and crucians.

First, the Gardner-backed angler headed to a Surrey club water in an effort to top his crucian best of 4lb 3oz that had stood for two years.

Finding an old stream bed around 50 yards out, he laced it with a carpet of groundbait and cast a flatbed Method feeder over the top.

His fake caster hookbaits soon caught the attention of crucians weighing 3lb 10oz and 3lb 13oz.

A lull in sport during the night seemed to indicate he had had the best of the sport, but a sudden flurry of action reactivated the session, and he told Angling Times: “I had a bite out of nowhere and after a fairly short battle there was a huge crucian lying in the bottom of the net.”

“I knew it would be close to breaking my best and on the scales it was agonisingly close. It eventually settled on 4lb 3oz 8dr. I was delighted, but my attentions quickly turned elsewhere.”

A switch of water saw him head to a gravel pit close to his Surrey home inpursuit of his first double-figure tench. Almost 15 years had passed since his last personal best ‘tinca’ of 9lb 9oz, so he spodded out a bed of hemp, particles and maggots in an effort to settle the score during a three-day stint.

Lots of fish could be seen rolling over his baited spot and tench of 7lb 8oz and 8lb came in quick succession, before an 11lb 8oz fish decided to swallow his trio of popped-up  artificial maggots.

“I’ve been after a double-figure tench for a long time, and to finally achieve it is incredible. The fish gave a good account of itself and I was relieved to see it slide over the landing net,” said Mike.

His successful maggot feeder rig was made up of a 10lb Gardner Target Speciskin hooklink to a size 14 hook.

A hat-trick of pbs could now be on the agenda and Mike has set his sights on several new campaigns.

He concluded: “I’m going in search of a big bream and chub once the rivers reopen and I’m hopeful my run of form will continue.”