WELCOME to the Wednesday blog – each week filled by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focussing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing, including latest tackle.

There will be something for everyone – pleasure fishing, carp fishing, match fishing, specialist fishing or anything else.

This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by deputy editor Paul Dennis.

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TO claim, or not to claim. That is the question. Have you ever caught what could have been a record fish, if only you had claimed it? Or perhaps even put one back that you subsequently discovered was bigger than the existing record? We would really like to know.

There must be many anglers who have caught record fish and not submitted a claim, mainly because they were unaware that they actually had a record within their grasp.

I’ve actually had three potential records, all different species, and in only one instance did I not realize that the fish was a record, simply because I didn’t know that there was a record for it. In my defence, on that occasion I don’t think there actually was a record at the time.

It’s no joke – I once landed a giant ‘stickie’ that could easily have eaten this one!

The fish was a stickleback, the current best being a 3 drm ‘bruiser’’. Now, Craig Birchall easily beat that with a 5 drm specimen, but was prevented from claiming the record by the owner of the venue that he caught it from. But the ‘stickie’ that I landed, more years ago than I care to remember, was easily more than double that size. It was at least 4 in. long, jet black, and could have been pushing up to 1 oz in weight, such was its girth. In retrospect it would have been interesting to have weighed that freak of nature. But claim a record? No.

Second in the list was a bleak that was so big that I netted it. I caught it from a back water of the River Trent and, until I removed it from the landing net I thought I’d caught a decent dace of 8 oz or more. Obviously, size for size, bleak weigh differently to dace, not having quite the body mass, but it was a very big framed fish. In that respect it reminded me of some of the gudgeon that used to turn up in the tiny River Mease – but that’s another story!

Again, I didn’t weigh it, one reason being that it came amongst a mixed catch that contained several big bleak, all of which had record potential, but none as big as that ridiculously proportioned fish. The other reason was that other local anglers had mentioned catching monster bleak from the backwater, so it didn’t really seem important. The average size of them was, I am sure, comfortably above the current 4 oz 9 drm record.

A bleak the size of a herring came as a real shock when I fished a cut-off on the River Trent.

Like so many of the mini species records, the afore mentioned are held by Denis Flack, as is my hattrick species.

I remember doing some film work with top video maker Bob Roberts and asked him if he would like to see a record fish caught. Naturally Bob was intrigued, and I was lucky to be able to oblige by catching a bitterling almost straight away.

I knew that the record, at that time, was vacant, meaning that the fish that I had just landed was indeed a record had I wished to claim it, but somehow it just didn’t seem right. It was pretty obvious that the record would potentially be very short lived, so all of the messing about with paperwork, not to mention scales checks, was more trouble than it was worth.

With that in mind I have total respect for anglers who DO claim records for mini species, but I can also see why anglers decide against it, even when bigger species such as bream, barbel or chub are involved.

It’s nice to catch big fish of any species, and I can understand the arguments for recording ultimate weights as a matter of record, but it isn’t why I go fishing.

I really am happy to ‘leave only footprints’.

Finally, in this week’s Mail we have some great tips as usual.

Punched bread – several ‘disks’ fished on a hair-rig – is a winning method demonstrated by ace photographer and angling all-rounder Brian Gay.

Bread is one of the cheapest baits around, and my word is it effective. I’ve had some great catches on bread over the years, usually on rivers, but in this week’s issue of Angler’s Mail we have a brilliant masterclass on a bread technique for catching stillwater carp. Top snapper Brian Gay shows how it’s done. It’s a method sure to boost your catches and even provide those vital bonus fish in matches.





Read the full stories Paul comments on here, plus loads of great stuff, in this week’s Angler’s Mail mag. A big value £1.80.




Tench – in cold conditions Chris Ponsford accepted the challenge to catch some tench and really came up trumps. Excellent angling and some great tips on how to get to grips with a species that is just starting to wake up.

My top tip for ultra early tench? Pick a venue with a hard gravel bottom. I’ve caught tench from this type of water right through the winter, often in freezing conditions. Leave the silty estate type lakes until it really warms up.




Canoeists – great to see Fish Legal shoot a ‘stalking horse’ intended to give open access to canoeists. In my opinion they are the waterway’s equivalent of cyclists, showing scant respect for laws or the bought and paid for rights of others, and usually portraying themselves as the victims.




FORMER decathlete and TV angling presenter Dean Macey joined Gary Newman, the weekly Angling Adventures star in Angler’s Mail, for a memorable session in France.

The carp they caught were big…VERY BIG. And there are some great carp fishing tips too. Click below to watch the trailer.

Follow the full feature in Angler’s Mail magazine – issue cover dated April 16 and 23.







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