Raise a glass to 51lb Stella from Essex Manor

An imitation beetle suspended eight inches below the surface in 25ft water was the downfall of this 51lb 6oz mirror.

The fish, known as Stella, fell to Kev Atkinson who had moved swims twice before finding fish near the surface at the Essex Manor.

He explained: “The sun got up a bit and the quick rise in temperature saw the fish in the upper layers in around 25ft of water. I took no time in tying up a zig using a Nash Beetle Bug, which had been soaking in Tadpole Juice, and fished it eight inches below the surface.

“An hour went by and I was starting to contemplate the fish’s next move when I had a single beep. That was all I needed and lifted into what instantly felt a good fish, then she started charging across the surface at a rate of knots displacing a colossal amount of water. At this point I had an idea what fish it might be. She then charged into my left-hand margin under some bushes and it all went solid.

“Without thinking I jumped in the water and walked down the margin. I managed to get the line off a couple of branches and she charged straight at me. It was then that my suspicion was confirmed, it was Stella, no doubt about it!”

After the big mirror charged into a thick clump of submerged reeds, everything went solid again.

Kev continued: “At this point my knees were shaking uncontrollably, I felt sick and I had almost resigned myself to the fact I was going to lose her.

“Thankfully the 12lb Nash Zig Flo hooklink material is seriously tough and with a bit of steady pressure I managed to pull her head up and out of the reeds, slowly leading her into my net after a 20-minute showdown. I cannot describe the feeling of catching such an awesome fish, especially considering the battle I had to endure!”

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