Biggest eel of the season caught from Colne Valley

The quest to land a double figure eel has led to the capture of the biggest specimen of the season so far.

Weighing 8lb 14oz the fish was banked by respected eel expert Steve Ricketts from the same Colne Valley water that last year produced a 9lb 10oz specimen for the London-based rod.

The result of a targeted campaign which had already seen the 49-year-old land fish to over 7lb this spring, the specimen came at first light on the second day, and from the off Steve knew it was a good fish.

“I’d just woken up and was standing outside my bivvy when I had a very slow take,” Steve told AT. “When I struck the fish shot off, stripping a load of line. All I could do was hang on so I knew it was a big eel.”

At 46 inches long with an 11inch girth the eel is the highlight of a number of huge specimens landed this month, and a capture Steve puts down to a tried-and-tested formula.

“I always fish four-day sessions because eels have three-day digestive systems, so if they’re there they will feed at some point over that time frame.

“I bait heavily with dead maggots on the first day. If there are eels in the area I’d expect to catch on day two or three. And if I’ve had nothing by day four I’ll pack up and go home because there probably aren’t any fish there to catch.

“My aim is to catch a 10lb eel this year, and if I’m going to do it, this approach will be the key.”

Steve’s eel fell to air-injected lobworm fished 12 inches off the bottom on a low resistance leger setup, featuring an abrasion resistant Kryston Ton-Up hooklink, 40lb PowerPro braid mainline and a 3oz lead on a low resistance run ring.