Is this the prettiest linear of the year? It’s certainly a contender.
The 47lb mirror fell to Chris Beasley at the incredibly weedy Black Swan at Dinton Pastures in Berkshire.
He landed it after a nerve-wracking fight that included handlining in a mountain of weed and taking to a boat.
The 29-year-old from Thatcham said: “After two months of the lake being unfishable it was time to get back over Black Swan now the masses of floating weed and algae have settled down.”
After two blank nights, Chris considered a move for his final evening, but stayed put and was rewarded at 9am on the final day.
“The bobbin pulled up slowly, held up tight then pinged out the clip into a savage take.
“On picking up the rod I noticed I had a massive weedbed that must have drifted through in the night and nestled on top of my line.
“There was about a ton of it, and lifting the rod up was no good with the fear of getting cut off, and the fish was making powerful lunges.”
With 10ft-deep margins, Chris couldn’t wade out either, so put the rod down and handlined in the huge ball.
“Five minutes later, the weed was off the line but the fish was now down the left-hand margin under another two massive rafts of weed.”
Chris jumped into a boat to regain control, but had no idea if the fish was still hooked.
“It had probably been 10 to 15 minutes without being in direct contact with it,” he said, “Luckily, once I sorted the weed the fish came straight out of the snag, straight towards me then buried itself into yet more weed.”
Digging his landing net under the whole lot, Chris breathed a sigh of relief as the fish powered into the mesh.
Back on land, the electronic engineer realised his camera battery had died, but Gaz Fareham was summoned to take some great photographs.
“The fish hasn’t got an ounce of fat on it and must be over 4ft long,” said Chris, “That’s what dreams are made of.”