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Fish you have seen that have blown you away but never caught

Mark Swaby

Senior Member
Following on from the Holy grail thread I wonder if anyone has seen fish that blew your mind but you never caught. Fishing the Bristol Avon at Chippenham free stretch with Barbel gear many years ago I spotted a solitary Roach well over 3lb. I had some 2lb line on me so tired on a hooklength a single swan shot for weight. I flicked a piece of sandwich flake in front of it down the edge. This monster Roach swum over to the flake ,up ended right on it,nose to the bait, then in slow motion backed away never to be seen again. I also saw a chub below the town bypass bridge that freaked me out. I thought it was a carp it was that big, how big, 9lb plus, when the record was an upper 8lb . A local RAF lad Andy was fishing up in the town and he recognised the look on my face,he knew I had seen her, she was a well known uncaught monster. I also lost a chub on the Stour at the net that was probably a British record, I never saw that one again. I found out recently In Terry Lampard's book that the fish was moved the following summer below a weir onto a private section. There must be some uncaught/lost fish monster stories out there
 

Graham Elliott

Senior Member
Mark.

On the Trent, near a pub, I spotted a chub, sharing surface food with a couple of carp.

The three of us all agreed it was at least 9lb. A Sideways turn of the fish told me it wasn't a grass carp, my first thought.

In one of my books and also in Barbel Fisher magazine an article.
" I saw her again today"
Tells of my acquaintance with a massive barbel on the River Loddon.

A good pal, now departed, six months later had one ( almost certainly her ) at over 19lb a 1/4mile away

He never published or announced the capture, then some way over the river record.

I have the picture as a reminder of him and the fish.
 

Richard Turner

Active Member
Back in the early 1980s while trout fishing at Grafham in early September, i saw 4 enormous trout well into double figures. We had been dapping with daddy long legs earlier in the day and had some success. Unfortunately, the wind had died completely and there was a flat calm. We tried casting a fly to the fish but couldn't get the boat near eniugh to them to cover them before they moved away further up Savages Creek. Boy did we pray for a breeze! When some breeze came up several hours later, we did drift across the area but no sign of them.
 

Richard Garbett

Senior Member
In about 1992, I was fishing a very large eddy of the River Severn. After several good Barbel hooked and landed on the meat, I had one of around 7lb taken by an extremely large Pike. It had hold of the Barbel across the middle and it didn't let go for a good 10 minutes. Even got its head near the net on one occasion before we parted company.
I revisited that eddy every weekend with the Pike gear for a month or so, but never saw that fish again.🙁
 

Stuart Wright

Senior Member
As a very young lad growing up in Malmesbury on the Bristol Avon, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of my time next to the river - if I wasn’t fishing, I was just exploring! On one of those exploring days I found a smallish shoal of spawning roach, so obviously went in for closer examination. On arrival at the waters edge, I found a big, old and fairly tatty-looking fish, which at the time I assumed had been injured, but looking back now it was most likely exhausted/ on it’s last legs following the ordeal. Anyway, I sat with it for ages constantly righting it in the water as it kept rolling belly-up, in the hope of helping it to recover - after all, it was the biggest roach I’d ever seen I wanted to return the next day with my rod to try and catch it!! 😂

Anyway, after 30 mins or so it eventually mustered enough energy to produce a couple of kicks and make it’s way back out into the flow. At the time I was pleased thinking that i’d done a great job. In hindsight, I think the poor thing almost certainly drifted away and didn’t see out the day.

At that time I didn’t have the experience to know what I was looking at/ holding, but looking back now I can say with absolute certainly that that roach was well in excess of 3lb! It was HUGE!

Alas, never saw it again. Dead of alive.
 

Terry Simner

Senior Member
In about 1992, I was fishing a very large eddy of the River Severn. After several good Barbel hooked and landed on the meat, I had one of around 7lb taken by an extremely large Pike. It had hold of the Barbel across the middle and it didn't let go for a good 10 minutes. Even got its head near the net on one occasion before we parted company.
I revisited that eddy every weekend with the Pike gear for a month or so, but never saw that fish again.🙁
Ah, but I guess you didn't use a 7lb barbel for livebait on your return. I reckon that's what Mrs Esox wanted :D
 

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member
I have a video I took on my phone of a chub off a bridge at the mill stream at offord taking bread during closed season. It took every piece I threw down and was easily a high 8 maybe more. Never heard of one actually getting caught that size so she cleared off. Here’s some screen shots off the video. Biggest chub I’ve ever seen in my life.
sorry about the poor quality.

so here she’s poking her nose out as the bread is right in front of her

912D386E-60F0-4B13-A167-57F79BB0EA19.jpeg

Smash!!! As she takes both bits in one hit
41E36637-94DB-4371-AB88-D165FDBE050C.jpeg


straight under cover ready for the next lot
4E4350CD-A46C-41F6-89BC-0DF02266C3BA.jpeg


would love to catch that fish. It would destroy my 7lb pb which oddly came off the same stream
 

Richard Garbett

Senior Member
I have a video I took on my phone of a chub off a bridge at the mill stream at offord taking bread during closed season. It took every piece I threw down and was easily a high 8 maybe more. Never heard of one actually getting caught that size so she cleared off. Here’s some screen shots off the video. Biggest chub I’ve ever seen in my life.
sorry about the poor quality.

so here she’s poking her nose out as the bread is right in front of her

View attachment 10176
Smash!!! As she takes both bits in one hit View attachment 10174

straight under cover ready for the next lot
View attachment 10175

would love to catch that fish. It would destroy my 7lb pb which oddly came off the same stream
That's making my knees quiver just from the photo.... It would beat my PB by many pounds!
 

Paul Matthews

Super Moderator
Staff member
Following on from the Holy grail thread I wonder if anyone has seen fish that blew your mind but you never caught. Fishing the Bristol Avon at Chippenham free stretch with Barbel gear many years ago I spotted a solitary Roach well over 3lb. I had some 2lb line on me so tired on a hooklength a single swan shot for weight. I flicked a piece of sandwich flake in front of it down the edge. This monster Roach swum over to the flake ,up ended right on it,nose to the bait, then in slow motion backed away never to be seen again. I also saw a chub below the town bypass bridge that freaked me out. I thought it was a carp it was that big, how big, 9lb plus, when the record was an upper 8lb . A local RAF lad Andy was fishing up in the town and he recognised the look on my face,he knew I had seen her, she was a well known uncaught monster. I also lost a chub on the Stour at the net that was probably a British record, I never saw that one again. I found out recently In Terry Lampard's book that the fish was moved the following summer below a weir onto a private section. There must be some uncaught/lost fish monster stories out there
Mark, there was a Perch down there 10-15 years ago that was absolutely mind blowing !! Had it on several times when it took roach and dace, never managed to hook it by design......... The weir to Mortimers Wood was a very prolific stretch for many species back in the day, sadly it is now a shadow of its former self :(
 
It was an eel for me; was watching a bunch of upper 20lb carp feeding under some bushes on a large gravel pit in Cambridgeshire, when I saw part of an eel on the edge of the clearing. could only see about 2ft of it, and didn’t see the end of its fins, it was as round as my arm. Looked like a branch, stunning thing to see in the water.

the carp Angler’s I was with didn’t notice it :rolleyes:
 

Joe Winstanley

Senior Member
About 10 years ago on the Wandle I saw a chub that really blew me away.

On a mates wedding day, the groom, his best man and myself decided to have a couple of hours at dawn on the Wandle on a sunny morning in late June. We had a couple of small chub each around the 3lb mark, and the session did the trick as we all had a good laugh (despite being pretty hungover) and it provided the groom with the necessary distraction he needed. They packed up and headed off, but I decided to have another as it was better than hanging around the hotel before it was time to get back on it again. I didn't get another touch after that, after packing up and walking back up the stretch I stopped and peered over some railings to watch a small school of chub I'd place in the 3lb category and started to drip feed in the remnants of the loaf that had been hastily procured from the hotel kitchen that morning. After about 10-15 mins a chub slowly emerged from a gap within the streamer weed that was at least twice the size of anything else in the swim. It was at least 6lb, if not over 6.5lb. And she looked absolutely pristine mint, as though it had never been caught before. I watched her for about 5 mins as she sat there lying doggo taking everything in - clearly a very , before she got spooked by the sound of a delivery van dropping something off on the nearby high street.

I know in itself a 6lb + chub isn't anything special, but to see one in the middle of south London, yards from a busy main road on a bustling Saturday morning that really blew me away. For me it was so unexpected.
 

Terry Simner

Senior Member
Like @Danny Browne above, it was an eel for me too. I'd been tench fishing an estate lake since dawn one June in the early 90's. By lunchtime I'd got about a dozen in my keepnet when I decided to pack up. I waded out maybe 5 yards to the edge of the reed line and released those gorgeous 'teddy-eyed' creatures one by one. When the net was empty I shook it out and turned to go back to the bank. In almost crystal clear water I spotted a dark head sticking out of the reeds, so, taking the bank-stick (that had held keepnet in place) I prodded it gently in an attempt to encourage it out into deeper waters. Out it swam, oh so slowly, and slightly towards me .....an ENORMOUS f'in eel! Now I don't scare easily but the next second I found myself up the bank, wet to the waist. I presumed it was water sprayed up from the lake as I legged it out of the water ...but there was a suspicious patch around my crotch area :D :D :D N.b.. I've caught conger, but that was a BIG eel.
 

Joe Winstanley

Senior Member
You must be joking Joe. To me 6lb is an enormous chub. Yes I’ve caught the very odd few that would be bigger but imo anything over 5 is a very special fish indeed. 6 + would be a fish of a lifetime as they don’t come round often at all........or at least not to me 😜
Yes you are quite right Richard, it was poorly worded, I meant in the context of being blown away and in reference to other rivers like the Stour etc.
 

Paul Richardson

Senior Member
When I lived in the East Riding I fished exclusively for pike for many years.
I remember well is was March 16th, first day of the close season, and I was dog walking along a very small intimate drain that had provided me with some good pike to 18lb
I stopped on a cattle bridge that straddled the drain and through sheer luck and a fair bit of intuition spotted something unusual under a weed raft
As I squinted the biggest pike I have ever seen slowly emerged from under the raft in about 3-4 ft of clear water and I was stood right above her so could not only have a really good look at the length but also the width of her
Certainly a big 20 and possibly the magical 30 which in such a small drain just looked completely incongruous
I have never been more tempted to poach and did run back and got my rod but actually bottled it vowing to pursue it the next season
I did this unsuccessfully for a few seasons
and often wonder about that fish
Funny I don’t regret not poaching- many lads I fished with would have pursued it whatever
 

Nicholas Cole

Senior Member
On a stinking hot day in the mid 1980s at Sywell Res my mate decided to put an anchored crust out to try to temp one of the surface cruising tench.

He wandered 25 yards up the bank where there were a few fish showing and flicked out a bait before returning to our tench peg for a rod rest. By the time he got back to his rod the crust was gone and he was into a fish that had jaged itself. He callied for a net, so I wandered up and paddled out into the crystal clear water ready to administer the net.

The fish swam lazily past us from left to right and revealed itself to be a modest common. And as it turned, we both saw the big rubbery lips of a chub. A big chub.

Now coming towards the net, mouth open, it was clearly in a different class to the 4lbers I'd seen before. 6ft to go 4ft, 2ft.... and then the hook pulled. Despite a desperate lunge with the net all was lost and the chub sank away before turning and making its way back out into the lake.

How big was it? I've asked myself that question a lot. 6lb? No, bigger. 7lb? possibly and certainly of specimen size for the 1980s. I've seen chub to 6.3 since. and would say that stillwater sample was much bigger.

We had plenty of good tench that trip but never went back.
 
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