Two big 20s for Mike as river season begins

Two big 20s for Mike as river season begins

It was a bittersweet start to the river season for Mike Haskins as he banked this 28lb 2oz mirror but saw a common of similar size escape his retainer.

The fish came from a non-tidal stretch of the River Thames in consecutive nights.

Mike arrived at his spot before sunset on the opening day and, after a handful of bream, received a one-toner a 3am.

He said: “It was a big, scale-perfect common, estimated at between 28lb and 30lb, which broke and escaped from the retainer before photos at sunrise.

Mike’s mirror safely in the net

Mike’s mirror safely in the net

“The following evening the conditions were the exactly the same. I only had one bream this time and the bite came at 5am.

“It was a very slow take, as if a huge clump of weed was taking the line down river. A good scrap under and around the boat followed, before eventually an old 28lb 2oz river warrior came to the net.”

The 28-pounder which did pose for pics!

The 28-pounder which did pose for pics!

Mike prebaited a shelf a rod length from bank a week prior to opening day with Nash Key Cray Flake, maize and mixed-size pellets doused in Key Cray Signal. He fished size 4 hooks tied to 4.5ins hooklinks on 4oz leads with pink-and-white snowman presentations.

The bite came at 5am

The bite came at 5am