MATTHEW KENDALL was shocked when a pleasure session produced this stunning 8 lb 5 oz River Thames record eel.

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The mighty wriggler is the biggest eel reported to Angler’s Mail this year and easily beats the official best recognised by the Thames Anglers Conservancy of 5 lb 2 oz.

It fell on a secret stretch in Oxfordshire with a simple link leger rig, 4 lb line straight to a size 8 hook baited with a couple of dendrobaena worms.

“I thought it was a carp”

Matthew, a graphic designer, explained: “I was intending to catch some perch, but just as the sun was starting to go down my rod was pulled round with what I initially thought was a good carp.

“Apprehensive that I would lose the fish on 4 lb line, it gave a really hard ten minute battle and I was surprised when the eel came to the surface as the way it took off down the river when I hooked it, was much like a good carp or barbel.

“I have fished the Thames around this part for a number of years and never caught or seen any signs of eels, so was amazed to see the eel surface.

“What was impressive was how thick it was. I couldn’t believe it. A fish that could easily be a double in years to come.

“It was a truly special fish and a magnificent sight and one I won’t forget in a hurry,” added the 37-year-old from Banbury.

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