This incredible 10lb 2oz eel is just 1lb short of the current British record for the species.
It was banked by 55-year-old engineer Tony Arbery, who spent 48 hours at an undisclosed southern stillwater with lobworm hookbaits.
Tony’s father Len, who won the Drennan Cup back in 1990, told Angling Times: “During a 48-hour session last weekend, Tony caught an eel weighing in at a truly impressive 10lb 2oz – around 90 per cent of the 11lb 2oz British record.
“It was accurately weighed on a set of Reuben Heaton Specimen dial balance scales. It measured 46 .5ins, and its girth was 11.5ins.
“When he can get time off work, Tony has been concentrating on eels this year, having previously caught five from the water to a creditable
6lb 12oz – his previous best.”
The first two eels Tony caught from the water were accidental captures made while he was targeting the tench.
But after losing a decent eel at the net he took advice from an eel specialist friend and increased the strength of his line, hooklink and hook, as well using a light carp rod.
To handle the potential fight with a big eel, Tony stepped up to a Jack Hilton carp rod coupled with a Mitchell 350 reel and 12lb Drennan Super Specialist monofilament.
His terminal tackle consisted of a simple running link-leger outfit incorporating a 25lb braided hooklink tied to a size 4 E-S-P Cryogen Gripper hook.
“Tony’s Delkim alarm alerted him to the monster eel at around 7pm,” Len added.
“He sat close to his rods to lessen the risk of deep-hooking, and struck into his prize before the bobbin had reached the butt ring, which is when all hell was let loose.
The eel fought so hard that Tony initially thought he’d hooked into one of the water’s rare big carp.
“He reckons this specimen eel is by far the best catch of his 50-year angling career, and a highlight he will never, never forget,” said Len. “He told me he’s still shaking with excitement!”