SPECIMEN ace Kim Whiley had been having a wonderful season before it got even better with this 8 lb 2 oz PB eel.
The giant eel comes after tench to double-figures, a PB bream of 15 lb 14 oz and carp to 30 lb 3 oz earlier this year.
Kim, 64, tempted the giant eel on legered worm from a Lea Valley pit.
Cheshunt, Hertfordshire-based Kim said: “The fishing had been going better than I could have imagined, but the one species that I had been hoping would make a guest appearance had eluded me so far.
“In fact just the day before the capture I’d been discussing this with friends, knowing the water had done a couple of 6 lb eels some years in the past, and they were incredibly rare captures.
“Having done some serious eel fishing in the past I knew as soon as I hooked this fish it was a big one.
“And fighting as hard as it was, my mind was racing with the thought of just how big it could be?”
Giant eel struggles to fit net
Kim continued: “In the beam of my headlight I could not believe the sheer size of this amazing creature and knew I was going to have trouble getting it into my 36 inch net which seemed incredibly small.
“But after several nerve wracking attempts where I could see the size 12 hook luckily in her lip, and not deeper, she was safely landed.
“What immediately struck me was the incredible girth of this eel and knowing it would obliterate my previous PB eel of 6 lb 8 oz I weighed her straight away.
“After a second weighing to double check there was no mistake I settled on a mind blowing 8 lb 4 oz.
“I was stunned to say the least. And even though it was the middle of the night, I rang my good friend Ade Sproga, waking his wife Zoe in the process. I knew he would want to see this fish.
“Upon his arrival, we set about the not so simple task of accurately measuring her at 45 inch length by 10.75 inch girth.
“I’ve been fortunate in my angling life to have caught good specimens.
“These include pike to 35 lb, chub 8 lb 11 oz, roach and rudd to 3 lb and many others.
“But this giant eel, without doubt, tops the lot.
“Seeing her gracefully weave her way through the willow roots upon her release will remain with me forever,” added Kim.
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