The big-fish world has been set buzzing this week, following the capture of yet another huge perch from Hanningfield Reservoir in Essex.
Weighing 5lb 5oz, the fish is the third 5lb-plus perch caught from the venue this month, leading many to believe that the 870 acre water will soon produce a new British record stripey.
The potential for a fish capable of bettering Neill Stephens’ 6lb 2oz so far ‘unofficial’ record fish caught earlier this year is certainly there. The biggest of the perch landed at Hanningfield in the last few weeks was weighed at a staggering 5lb 15oz – a weight which equals the current official record.
However, according to staff at Essex and Suffolk Water which runs the reservoir, this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Sightings of a number of truly massive perch have been reported. Some of these have been estimated to be approaching an unbelievable 7lb.
“I’ve seen giant perch in there with my own eyes. Some of them looked well over 6lb, maybe even 7lb, so I’m certain that there’s a record waiting to be caught,” Leisure Operations Manager for the reservoir, Don Coe, told Angling Times.
“We changed the rules on the reservoir around three years ago to allow more methods to be used, not just artificial flies. Since then we’re seeing a lot more big perch being caught, especially on lures like this latest fish.”
Also well aware of Hanningfield’s potential for big perch is founder of the Perchfishers group, Steve Burke.
“I fished Hanningfield years ago for the trout and always thought it had great potential for big perch,” said Steve.
“These fish thrive on neglect and they’ll have been largely undisturbed by anglers to grow, perhaps, to record sizes.
“As far as the water producing a 7lb fish goes it’s not beyond the realms of possibility, especially after seeing these three 5lb fish being caught in such a short period. It’s a very exciting time for big perch.”