Neil sets new weight record

Last week I wrote about my self-imposed challenge for this year, of landing a 2lb-plus perch. My personal best stands at a brace weighing 2lb 8oz and 2lb 6oz (caught locally) in the same session many years ago.

Big perch seem to hang around in twos and threes, so if you do manage to land a biggie, get your bait back in the water asap, as there may be another waiting to be caught.

I’ve seen big perch follow similar sized fish almost to the landing net before turning back to deeper water. You could have a gang of specimens in your swim!

With brilliant timing and just to put things into perspective, the UK perch record has just been broken with a stunning capture by Neil Stephen, who banked a massive perch from Stream Valley Lakes in East Sussex.

The fish, which was full of spawn, pulled the scales down to an amazing 6lb 2oz; the first authenticated ‘stripey’ over the 6lb mark.

Specimen hunter Neil used a waggler set-up with 4lb line straight through to a size-six baited with prawn to tempt the new record fish. He also managed to bank a ‘smaller’ perch weighing 4lb 8oz.

in the same session.

Back in 2006, I spoke to Les Brown, the previous perch record holder and he was in awe of the fish he landed at 5lb 15oz from Crowborough in Sussex, something he said he’d never forget.

What must it be like to land a ‘six’ - an amazing achievement and a milestone in angling history? It seems I have a long way to go.

Quickly moving on, now the clocks have ‘sprung’ forward, there’s plenty of daylight for after-work sessions on my local lakes.

It has to be time for carp and hopefully, a few off-the-top. There’s nothing more exciting as watching a big carp slurp down a piece of floating crust or dog biscuit. Or more likely, taking every freebie and avoiding the one with the hook!