Why can't I catch the big one's..- by Andrew Rose

          Over the last few years, since being back with the NAC, I have seen some massive eels recorded. Since restarting my eel fishing career I’ve caught some good specimens, but nothing that I would call huge. The fact is that unless I take up full time fishing I probably never will. More time on the bankside would help me establish whether I’m wasting my bloody time, and hone some already tried and tested tactics to suit the waters I’m fishing.


          Sadly, at the moment I am a weekend fisherman only, as I have to look after my son from 12 noon to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. These are perfect babysitting hours for me, but don’t tell the ex, otherwise that would soon change!
          Come Friday night the weather looks reallyiffy and the pressure is rising. There’s a full moon and all the eel omens are against me; howeverif Idon’t go fishing now, I’ll never go. I’m not one for comparing myself to others; I just want to enjoy the fishing.SoI’m there and I’m in my favourite spot.


         This season I’ve decided to go for 4 rods. While this gives you another bait in the water, it can also create other problems, quite apart from the fact that the heavens had now decided to open with the worst rain I’ve ever seen. It was raining even worse inside my Fox Evolution (nice one, Duffy!)


         I had a dilemma. I could fish 3 rods in front of me, and the 4th about 10 yards up the bank. Not a problem? It is if you are into an eel on your snide rod and your net is sitting with the other 3, with no chance of getting to the net because of the bank layout! The only other option I had was to beach it on the soft, somewhat mashy bankside vegetation. The eel’s head is out of the water- definitely a 4 lb.+. My hand moves halfway up the rod to give me better control. I apply some more pressure. Pop! That was the end of that. 4 ft. of 15lb. line, 18 inch 20 lb. Amnesia, 28lb wire- so what gave up? The Amnesia, but not on the knot. Gutted! This season is not going according to plan.


         After sulking for a few days, I reassessed the situation and checking and rechecking every piece of tackle I owned, I was safe in the knowledge that nothing could possibly go wrong (don’t kid yourself, Andrew)


         I headed for the other end of the lake and somewhat uncharted waters. I spommed out 3 pints of sweaty, old maggots in various locations; saving some to chuck in on my snide margin rod. This time the net would be somewhere nearby. With time to kill, I started to write this very article.
          12.05 am and believe it or not I’ve just caught a 6lb 5oz eel! I’m going to have to step up my tackle as that was the hardest fighting eel I’ve ever caught and it felt like an age at the net. I knew it was big and kept maximum pressure on with only 4 ft. of line and the 18 inch Amnesia (which had already let me down once) on the 28lb wire. I was bricking it. I got the eel in the net, unceremoniously, and put it on the mat the hung up my rod on the bivvy. I pulled the line to locate the eels heed. Pop! To my surprise it was the snap link 40lb that went. I had only chosen 40lb link simply because it fitted nicely into my sleeves and rig. I need to have a serious rethink, as I’ve never met such a hard fighting eel, and won’t come here again under tackled.


          I weighed and measured the eel, and had a few beers (which for anyone who knows me is a bad thing) and just had a feeling about the night not being over. I am a cocky fisherman, and every time I go fishing I expect to catch, and am disappointed when I don’t. Take the Upper Tamar fish-in. I only had one run and was told to leave it, but in my heart I knew I had to strike even if it was just 5 minutes in!         

          At 2.00 am I got another run on the same rod, same bait, same hook, and same place. This time the reward was 6lb 1oz to complete my P.B brace of eels. I called my dad, after I’d calmed down a bit and he came over in the morning to take pictures. I distinctly remember telling him, “Dad, it’ll be a long time before you see a brace of eels that big again!”


Famous last words, eh? Funny thing is I should have been conger fishing that weekend instead.

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