"If I hadn’t broken around 20 hooklinks on the snags I would have smashed the river record out of sight,” said match fishing ace Paul Goulding, following an amazing contest on the Trent.
As it was, Paul still came agonisingly close to the five-hour target when he banked a catch weighing 177lb 7oz.
He was fishing a swim that he described as being ‘four feet deep with five feet of fish’ during a contest on the famous waterway at Holme Marsh.
The classic combination of a groundbait feeder teamed with a worm hookbait saw him hook a fish on his very first cast, and from the on the Daiwa Dons angler from Worksop never looked back.
“I knew I was on the right peg, especially when I netted 10 bream in as many casts. I was even getting bites before the feeder had a chance to hit the deck,” Paul told Angling Times.
“It was absolutely incredible. This guy carrying a deck chair came up and parked himself behind me. He told me he fishes the river all the time, and he said ‘you don’t mind if I sit behind you, do you?’
“I said ‘not at all, but can you do me a favour and go and borrow another net off of someone… and he kindly did just that.”
But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Paul, as an underwater snag cost the loss of what he estimates to be more than 20 fish
Had he landed those he would have smashed the current five-hour River Trent record that stands at 192lb 8oz and was taken by Mick Vials in August last year.
Despite the frustration,Paul stuck with his trusty feeder rig in throughout the match in order to keep the bites coming.
It consisted of a 6lb Daiwa mainline, a 4lb hooklink and a size 14 Drennan Super Spade.
A feeder packed with groundbait and chopped worms with a single dendrobaena on the hook saw him land more than 50 bream in the incredible catch, which is his biggest ever from a river.
“There’s no doubt in my mind I would have had over 250lb if I hadn’t had to contend with that snag, but how can you complain about a day’s fishing like that?” Paul continued.
“The guy who sat behind me who I talked about earlier said he’d never seen anything like it before, and I speak for both of us when I say that neither of us probably ever will again.”