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.
“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.”
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.