Just two hours before the end of a tricky week-long session in France, Dave Smith hooked into this giant mirror weighing 86lb 7oz.
“I felt like a Derby winner with four cameras clicking away as I held it up,” said the 53-year-old tackle-shop worker.
“I’d only had a 33lb 8oz common during the week and I’d describe the fishing as moderate to difficult. The bite came at 7.15am on the last morning and we were due to pack up at 9am.”
The Foster’s of Birmingham staff member, who was fishing with a group of friends at Island Lake, 70 miles south of Paris, said: “I was in the little cabin in my swim making tea and toast when I heard ‘beep, beep, beep’ on my sounder box and saw the left-hand rod ripping off.
“I took to the boat and after a 20-minute battle it rolled into the net. I’ve had a couple of sixties before and I thought it was probably a similar size – until I went to lift it!”
Dave, from Water Orton, Warwickshire, fished on the edge of a gravel patch about 40 yards out and baited with 100 MCF Hartford Mix boilies per day. He fished matching hookbaits on blowback rigs tied with size 4 hooks and 4oz leads.
He added: “I think I’m still in a trance!”