2 July 2014

Specimen Eel Campaign 2014


Eel fishing is relatively new to me but some of my regular blog followers will know I had some success on a large 100 acre gravel pit last year but still didn’t manage to achieve my main target of a 6lb + fish and had to settle with my PB of 5lb 10oz. This year I have planned a campaign on a water that is located in close proximity to the lake I fished last year but has not, as far as I’m aware, been fished for eels. This water is virtually untapped specimen eel territory and may hold some monster surprises. I really enjoy this type of fishing and not knowing what a water holds just adds to the excitement.

The lake is 25 acres and holds numerous features from submerged dead trees, river inlets, outlets, deep margins and shallow bays. It wasn’t hard to locate an ideal swim that could hold some eels and I decided to start my campaign with a quick overnight session fishing less than 4ft out in 10ft of water on the edge of a river outlet. This deep water seemed perfect for some big eels and the river outlet would provide a good stable food source. The lake is rarely fished and only one or two dedicated carp anglers make an appearance.


01/07/14 - I arrived at the lake after a long hard day’s work and jumped in the swim by the river outlet. I will refer to this swim for future reference as Reedy for obvious reasons (please see picture above). I turned the radio on and sat down to sort out the rods whilst listening to the Argentina vs Switzerland World Cup 2014. This was accompanied by a hot summer sun and a nice cold beer. Everything was going well until I had remembered that I had forgotten my brolly so it was to be a night spent under the stars. Whilst I was setting up the rods two small field mice kept creeping out of the reeds and up to my feet. They didn’t even spook when I moved or got close for a picture that shows how under fished some of these swims are.
I managed to get all three rods out in the tight swim tied up with long hook links of 50lb Armo Cord snag leader tied directly to a size 10 Longshank hook. I used these simple rigs in conjunction with a small 1oz lead on a snap swivel and a large looped runner ring ensuring that the line would pull through freely creating absolutely no resistance. Keeping the reel bale arms open and removing line swings is an absolute necessity to allow the eel to run freely with no pressure and to not drop the bait.
Each rod was fished with one large lobworm on the hook and I baited the swim with trout pellets soaked in a variety of liquid flavour enhancers as illustrated in the above picture. I added a few pints of dead maggots to the mix and a tin of anchovy cat food mashed to a pulp. Each of the baits was fished at the bottom of the marginal shelf in 12ft of water. The evening closed in and before long it was pitch black and with my traps set in such an inviting swim I was confident that if the lake contained eels I would catch one. It didn’t take long and at 11.30pm my rod rattled of and I struck into the unmistakable head banging and pure power of a good sized eel. The fish went 3lb 8oz and was a great start to the session. I had finally got my head down for the night when the other rod was away but this time with a slightly bigger specimen at 4lb. I was really happy with this quick overnight session and I had confirmed the presence of good sized eels in this untapped water. Now I had to catch a six and fulfil my yearly target for the species.
05/07/14 - 07/07/14 - Following the success on my first eel session of the season I planned a two night stint to try and winkle out a larger specimen. Tactics, bait, rigs and swim selection stayed the same and I settled in the “Reedy Swim” for the night. At 11pm my left hand rod fished the closest to the river outlet ripped into action but I could tell I hadn’t hooked an eel but something different. It turned out to be a male tench around 4lb and it was in perfect condition. That night I received a take on the middle rod that resulted in a 4lb 8oz eel (pictured left) and my biggest from this particular venue. During the day I walked the lake and studied the swims in preparation for my tench campaign on the venue until the evening drew in and It was time to get back to eel fishing.
On the final night I managed one bootlace eel of approximately 2lb and another 4lb fish that may well have been the same one I caught prior to this trip. I am planning another few nights for these incredible fish this week before I jump on the tench and have a swim that could hold the fish I’m looking for. I will keep you posted, tight lines.