14 August 2013

Into the Unknown - Specimen Eel Campaign

17/08/13 - 19/08/13 - Eel fishing is not every ones cup of tea but is something I have been meaning try try for quite some time now. My local lakes hold some big eels and so I planned to fish two nights in the hope of picking up a fish or two. Size was irrelevant as this was my first every stint for these incredible fish and I would be happy with one.

I decided to take a simple but effective approach using a running ledger rig ensuring absolutely no resistance would be felt if an eel was to pick up the bait. The rig was tied directly to a swivel, followed by a bead and then an extra large O ring snap swivel to make sure the line passed through cleanly on a take. The end tackle comprised of a eight inch hooklink of 50lb Armo Cord and a size 8 longshank hook (size six for deadbait rod). One rod was fished with two lob worms and the other with a sprat head. I also decided to create a ground bait mix that would attract the eels into my swim. This comprised of some mashed up dog food, molasses's, sprats and some anchovy & sardine dynamite baits additive.

On my fist cast I caught a small jack pike on the rod baited with a sprat head. This concerned me and I thought I would be plagued by multiple pike. Luckily the action slowed down and night rolled in. That night I had a couple of liners and a half take but as the morning sun came up I had no fish in the net. I decided to persevere and put out some more ground bait mix  before resting the swim by popping to the shop for some beers. On my return I cast the rods out and two hours later I received an absolute screamer of a take. I picked up the middle rod baited with lob worm and could tell I was into a strong fish. As an eel hit the surface my excitement grew and I reached out for the net. The fished weighed a little over 3lb and was a cracking fish for my first ever eel. That night I received multiple takes resulting in three eels of 3lb, 3lb+ and a 2lb 6oz.
The pictures are of the 3lb eel as the larger one escaped when trying to take self pics. It slithered out of my hands as all the way to the bank. I just could not grip the fish to put it back on the mat.

23/08/13 - 26/08/13 - I had planned to fish for three days on my lake for the Tench but decided to fish one rod at night for the Eels as we have a three rod rule. I baited with a few pints of maggots and fished a standard running lead rig with five maggots directly on to the hook. On the first night at approximately 12.20am the rod rattled off and after a great scrap I landed an Eel of around 3lb. I recast and immediately had another run resulting in a fish of around 3lb. I released this fish back into its home as the previous Eel was slightly larger. I recast again and ten minutes later my Delkim was singing. This time however the fished pulled really hard and held the bottom steadily taking line with each powerful surge. I could instantly tell that this fish was larger then the others landed that night. After a great eight minute scrap I netted a large Eel that I estimated at 5lb+. I sacked the fish up and waited for morning to take some pictures.

I had no more takes that night and the morning soon arrived. The two fish weighed in at 5lb and 4lb 6oz which were two personal bests but I was slightly disappointed as I was quietly confident that the fish would go 6lb. It looked huge for its weight but a re-weigh confirmed it. I struggled with the pictures but managed to get some great snaps of the larger one that eventually relaxed and behaved for the camera. The rest of the three day session drew a blank with no runs or fish of any species. I will defiantly be putting a rod out for eels on every session when fishing for other species on this lake in hope of picking up a monster.

I managed another session for the eels during the summer whilst targeting specimen bream. On my lake there is a three rod rule in place and I decided to have one out for snakes. I landed three eels during the night with one (pictured at the bottom of the page) exceeding 5lb and was pushing the magical 6lb. The eel was also another PB. It looked a lot larger then its weight and was a spectacular fish and more then likely it has never caught before. I cannot wait for the winter to finish and to begin Eel fishing again. I began this quest under the impression it would not be the most interesting campaign but have ended it with a love for eel fishing. They are spectacular creatures that fight great and should be treated with respect.