Alan Storey this month became the first angler in history to bank 4lb roach from both a stillwater and a river when he slipped his net under a fish just 2oz off the British record.
The 66-year-old hit the jackpot at a southern chalkstream in his home county of Dorset when the giant redfin picked up his feeder fished maggot hookbait, presented on a 3ft hooklink of 2lb fluorocarbon and a size 20 hook.
Amazingly, the fish only equals Alan’s best for the species, as he landed a fish of the same weight from an undisclosed lake nine years ago. However, it’s the second-largest roach ever landed from a river – only Ray Clarke’s 4lb 3oz British record from the Dorset Stour in November 1990 beats it.
“To begin with I set up the float rod, but the wind was too strong and so I soon switched to a light quivertip instead.
“I cast out at midday but after about 45 minutes I had just a few dace to show for my efforts. That all changed when I had a couple of taps on the tip, followed by a slow pull round. I struck, and from the way the weight on the other end was holding in the current and thumping away down deep, I knew it was a very good fish.
“I tried to stay calm but then it surfaced and that’s when my bodily functions started to wobble! All the usual worries about the small hook and fine hooklink started to race through my head. Once I’d landed it, I was scared to look in the net!”
After a quick call to his son and a local tackle shop owner to witness the catch and help with the weighing, Alan finally allowed himself a proper look at his prize.
“It’s hard to believe roach grow this big.
"I thought about how it couldn’t have grown that large without being a crafty old bugger!
“After we weighed it on a set of freshly-calibrated match scales and took the photos I packed up and went home for a large glass of wine. I wouldn’t have been able to hold my rod for shaking anyway!” he added.