ONE of the nation's most successful specimen anglers was celebrating a fantastic moment before the lockdown...

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Veteran big fish ace Phil Smith bagged this 3 lb 9 oz roach, making it four venues from where he has tempted redfins of over 3 lb.

Phil landed his latest giant from Oxfordshire’s Linear Fisheries complex just before the coronavirus shutdown hit UK angling. 

Phil said: “It is my second largest roach, behind my PB of 3 lb 13 oz 8 dr, and the fourth different water from where I have managed to exceed the magical 3 lb mark.

“I was fishing with my mate, casting my rigs to a long distance, while he was fishing closer in.

“When he started catching and I wasn’t, I decided to come into about 25 yards from the bank, and then started hooking roach of around 12 oz.

“I was just landing my fifth at about 5.30pm when the other rod shot off, resulting in the lovely giant specimen.

“I fished a helicopter rig with 6 lb main line, a 4 lb hook link and a size 16 baited two flavoured maggots.

“It was a great ending before I went into self-isolation, and I doubt that I will be out again until June 16,” added the 75-year-old from Coventry, West Midlands.

Other fine catches by Phil Smith

Phil caught a 3 lb 1 oz redfin from Lochnaw, in Scotland, one of four 3 lb-plus specimens shared with three other anglers during an amazing week.

Phil also banked a 3 lb 7 oz sample in a brace with his 3 lb 13 oz 8 dr PB from Oxfordshire’s Willow Pool, on the Linch Hill complex, which at the time was the biggest roach brace ever landed.

He’s also had one of 3 lb 4 oz from Suffolk’s Homersfield Lake.

Phil has been successful with a wide array of coarse species over the decades.

His many achievements include winning Angler’s Mail magazine’s annual big fish award, and catching big barbel right around the country.

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