GUIDED fishing is increasingly popular these days, but few can claim to have caught a better fish while under the eye of an expert than Mickey Palmer – who landed this 8lb 1oz eel on a trip last week.
The remarkable specimen measured 1.2m long and was so thick around the middle that neither he nor his guide Charlie Coppolo could get their hand around it. It was landed from a two-acre lake at Mill Barn Fishery in Essex, where Mickey won a day out with Charlie after bidding in a charity fishing auction for a little girl with a life-debilitating disease.
“I’ve not caught big eels before, so I wasn’t sure how big it was as I played it,” said Kent rod Mickey. “It came on the first cast, and I was amazed at the sheer size of it. Charlie’s phone only had one per cent battery left, so we had to be quick with the pictures!”
Small roach sections fished on size 4 hooks and short, 80lb braided hooklinks got the bite. As it turned out, Charlie was grateful he’d decided on such powerful gear.
“I like to use heavy tackle for eels, as they can really pull, and when I saw the rod hoop over and line peel from the drag, I knew we’d hooked a proper one,” he said.
“Once it was in the net, I guessed it would weigh around 5lb, so when the scales read 8lb 1oz I assumed they were off. However, we checked on a second set and got exactly the same weight. It was only then that I properly looked at the fish and realised how thick it was, not to mention its length. My hand didn’t even make it halfway around it.”
He added: “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous, because for me it would be the fish of 10,000 lifetimes.
“But my jealousy is greatly outweighed by seeing how much Mickey enjoyed the capture, and knowing I’d helped create an unforgettable moment in his angling life.”