Friday, 25 July 2014

Man vs mink (new eel p.b)

After catching my target perch on the previous couple of outings I decided to renew my eel campaign. During my 3 eel sessions this season I haven't managed to bank one yet, although I have caught some nice fish, the 'snigs' have remained elusive.

I decided on a change of venue for my latest session, the lower stretches of my local river. The reason for the change of venue was simply that it is 5 minutes from my front door to the riverbank and I have caught plenty of eels (bootlaces) there in the past.

I was on the riverbank by 2030hrs and had 4 rods in the river soon after, the rods were setup as follows -

Rod 1 - Dyson rig set to fish 2ft from the bottom (right margin)
Rod 2 - J.S rig with ledger stem fished mid-river
Rod 3 - J.S rig with ledger stem and block end feeder filled with chopped worm, fished mid-river
Rod 4 - J.S rig over a bed of dead maggots (left margin)

I took roach and sand eel dead baits and also had plenty of worms to use.

Baits in the water, sit back and relax
I didn't have to wait too long for my first run, just after dark the backbiter on the 2nd rod lit up and line was peeling from the spool. Eagerly I was at the rod within a second, I took up the slack and struck into thin air ! The next run came to the 3rd rod, again line was peeling from the spool, I waited slightly longer before striking but again I struck into thin air !

Just before midnight I had a run on the left hand margin rod, I hurried to the rod took up the slack and struck. I felt the kick of a fish then things went solid, I was snagged. As I was reeling in a large branch it started fighting back! I brought it to the surface and I could see the white underside of an eel on the end of the line but the line was also wrapped around a branch. After a bit of a tussle I netted the eel and managed to untangle the line from the branch. On checking the net it was obvious that this was a definite p.b. I quickly unclipped the trace, weighted the eel, took a quick photo with the phone and placed the eel into a sack which was staked in the margin.

The margin rod was baited and recast, just as I was settling down on my chair the 2nd rod went again. I rushed over to the rod and in the excitement I managed to slip into the river, I quickly dropped the rod and grabbed the vegetation (nettles) to pull myself onto the bank, needless to say when I eventually got control of the rod the eel was well gone.

Spot the mink 
After a few choice words I sorted myself out and once again I had 4 baits in the water. I was sitting back enjoying the peaceful surrounding when the bushes starting to rustle, this went on for a while. It sounded like two or more animals were fighting/mating. Initally I thought they were rats, then then noise they started making made me think they were cats, something ran from the bushes and entered the water, otters? Eventually I realised they were mink.

Spot the mink (2)
The mink were extremely active and didn't seem concerned by my presence, I think the scent of my dead baits and the eel in the sack sent them into a bit of a frenzy. A mink tried to attack the sack, shining a torch on them even throwing stones didn't seem to deter them. In the end I had to keep my head torch on the brightest setting and use a storm pole to keep them away from my gear and the sack.

After a good 45 minutes they finally got the message and left me alone. Needless to say I didn't get any more takes whilst all this was going on. I had a final take at around 0410hrs, which again was missed. I took a few photos of my new p.b eel and released it back into the warm water.

The first of the year.
A new p.b 2lb 7oz

Pleased with the first eel of the year and also a new p.b, I was shattered so I headed home to get a few hours sleep.


  1. Well done on your pb Darren, it brings back memories of my younger days fishing for eels on the Llynfi river. Tight lines, Mark

    1. Thanks Mark, hoping for a few more before the summer ends