Dead zander 'would have smashed record'

A zander weighing more than 22lb has been found dead on the banks of the River Severn by a barbel angler.

The enormous carcass was found washed up at a stretch of the Midlands waterway near Tewkesbury early yesterday morning by Graham Payne, from Worcester.

He told Angling Times, "When I first spotted it from fifty yards away, I thought it was a sandbag or maybe even a dead sheep in the margins - it was massive! As I got closer, the wash from a passing boat moved it onto its other side, and that's when I saw the greenish back and its big beady eye. I was gobsmacked!"

"My scales were in the side pouch of my rucksack, so I quickly whipped them out, placed the weigh-hook under one of its gill plates and hoisted the fish aloft. The needle settled just above 22lb! I'm a keen all-rounder, and I knew straight away that t would have smashed the record!"

"It didn't look as though it had been dead for too long - it wasn't bloated or damaged in any way. I'm half-minded to go back and get the fish, and maybe have it set up by a taxidermist!"

The British zander record is held by James Benfield's 21lb 5oz fish, taken from a stretch of the Severn at Upper Load Lock in 2007.