Many years ago I spend two/three nights a week searching for huge eels. Time is somewhat more restricted now but each season I do head out for the odd night under the stars in search of this fascinating species. This year I was able to get a couple of guest sessions with my mate Chris Petter on a boating lake that was one of my main venues years ago and the one that produced my personal best of 7lb 1oz that still stands today. The lake unfortunately went through a couple of algae blooms that wiped out most of the fish stock including the eels, yet a couple of accidental captures in recent years told us that a few had survived. Time to investigate!
The first night Chris managed to put a four pounder on the bank along with a couple of terrapins! My night past without a touch. The following week we were back, fishing a different area that was once reliable. Chris failed to get a touch but I received five runs before midnight, the first three were disappointingly missed, yet the other two saw eels of 3lb 8oz and a proper one weighing 5lb 2oz. Our tactics were simple with J.S eel rigs presenting small rudd heads on barbless size 4 Nash Fang X hooks and 20lb Combilink hook lengths, 1.5oz leads, 12lb Bullet mainline and 3lb Pursuit rods.
A few days later saw myself targeting a different species, tench, on a new water known to be rock hard but potentially able to produce a double. Baiting up at dusk with a pint of maggot I dropped helicopter rigs over the top and relaxed to see what the night would bring. When dawn broke without even a bleep I wasn’t that surprised as gravel pit tench are usually morning feeders and I had the best six hours to come. Casting maggot feeders every hour from 4am finally bought a bite at 7.30am in the shape of one of the biggest tench I have ever caught, 9lb 9oz! This was the start of a hectic three hours in which four sevens and a six graced my net. All the fish were taken on 10ft 1.75lb t/c Scopes, 10lb Bullet mainline and maggot feeder helicopter rigs presenting three red maggots on size 14 hooks and 7lb hook lengths.