MARK SALT finished off a gruelling eight-night eel campaign with the biggest snake of the season at 8 lb 1 oz.

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The environment officer for eel group, the National Anguilla Club, was on a Middlesex syndicate water and thought his chances would improve with a change in the weather.

Mark told the Mail: “The big eel came on the last of an eight night effort, just fishing at night and packing up each day.

“I had caught two eels of 4 lb 8 oz and 4 lb 10 oz in previous nights, and suffered a few blanks, and cold ones at that,” added Mark, who is retired and comes from High Cross, Hertfordshire.

Conditions turn spot-on for big eels

Mark continued: “The last night was perfect to my mind; rapidly falling pressure from a sustained high pressure period, overcast, dark and, thankfully, warm at last and my first night without thermal underwear!

“After hooking two pike in the small hours I had started to doubt my instincts, and then, between 2am and 3 am had two short dropped takes on different rods.

“The third take, at 4 am, was a little more positive, taking about 6 inches of line, and I allowed the fish to hook itself against the rod as usual as I use a circle hook, so no strike required.

“At 48 inches long and a 10.25 inch girth this is the longest eel I have caught.

“This is my second 8 lb eel from this water, my previous weighed 8 lb 2 oz, and my PB.

“The 8 lb 1 oz eel is a different fish, as it is considerably longer with very distinct markings and a split tail,” added Mark.

Mark hair-rigged five broken lobworms with a 45 lb Quicksilver Gold trace. This was suspended 12 inch off bottom using a Dyson rig over dead maggots and chopped lobworm. He used Barry McConnell’s Rollovers bite indicators.

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