16/06/15 – Current One of my favourite species to fish for during the short summer nights is the mighty eel or Anguilla Anguilla to the biologists. I have been fishing for eels on my local water now for over three years and have had some mixed success with fish to just under 6lb falling to my rods however, I know a fish over 8lb was landed last season from this venue. Having this information encouraged me to continue my campaign on the water but to take a different approach to the years before in the hope of catching a giant.
Simple tactics seemed the best approach and I opted to fish long hooklinks of 50lb Korda Armo snag leader tied directly to a size 10 super specialist hook. Many Eel fisherman use large hooks but in my experience smaller hooks are more efficient when it comes to hooking capability. Eels have small mouths and it only makes sense to use a smaller hook. It is also essential when fishing for Eels to allow the fish to take the bait with minimum resistance. To achieve this I open the bale arms of the reels and slack my main line however I always try and strike on the first run to avoid deep hooking a fish. Eels vital organs are located at the front of the body and they can be damaged easily by swallowed hook. In a situation where an Eel has been deep hooked it is best practice to cut the line a close to the Eels mouth as is possible because trying to remove it may cause more damage to the fish. The hook will not take long for the fish to break down and fall out. My baiting tactics were conventional and I choose to fish dead maggots and lobworms on the hook.
My campaign began on the 16th June 2015 and I decided to target the eels on one of the less popular lakes on the complex that receives a lot attention then my usual hunting ground. Fish to over 8lb have been reported and a confirmed 8lb 6oz fish really concreted my decision to fish this lake specifically for the Eels. The first night I drew a blank but was still confident of catching a few fish. During the day I switched species and fished for the tench because I had booked off the whole week off and It seemed pointless going home during the day and not fishing.
On the second night I had a couple of takes that resulted in missed bites and frustrated me until I eventually hooked the culprit. A few beeps indicated a fish had taken the bait and I carefully felt the line to confirm he was still on the end. Feeling a slight pull I lifted into the fish and was flat rodded immediately. I instantly knew it was an Eel from the signature head banging and pure power of the fish but after thirty seconds the fish was off. I was gutted to say the least and was absolutely certain that I had lost a PB eel and definitely one over the 7lb mark. Following this fish I blanked the next twelve nights and become increasingly frustrated but the blanks only urged me to get down the lake more and catch my intended quarry.
Eventually after fishing most swims of the 20 acre pit I settled into a snaggy corner which produced two Eel but of only 2-3lb. The next swim along produced two more Eels of 3lb and 3lb 8oz and although the weight was increasing these were not the stamp of fish I was after.