Red Eyed Monster - Jim Mathews

All rounder Jim Mathews had plenty to smile about when the first bite from a new tench venue, yielded this colossal 12lbs 1oz specimen. Having been concentrating on the species since the capture of a 4lbs+ crucian in May, from a lake in Surrey. The Essex all rounder had been struggling on the Kent club water. Faced with a really weedy venue, popular with carp anglers, Jim had been finding it hard going to get on the fish from his one night a week sessions.

“It’s been tough because sometimes, I could see the tench showing, but couldn’t get on them because the swims were taken. If I was lucky enough to be on showing fish, I was contending with the weed, the light stocking and the constraints of time.”

The 33-year old luck finally changed during a recent trip. Due to the weed, Jim made sure that the tackle was up to the task. A nine-inch 10lbs Korda IQ2 hook link to a piece of red foam with two maggots, attached to a Size 14 barbel hook. He placed the rig to an overhanging tree in the left-hand margin and baited with a mixture of sweet corn, plus live and dead red maggots. Spraying the spots with more maggots periodically through the session, a few bleeps was all the indication he got as the fish kited out in front of the swim. Despite a desperate final attempt to shed the hook in a snag close to the edge it was all over within a few minutes and his prize lay in his landing net.

“I can’t quite believe it. To have one huge fish in a season is amazing enough but two in two months, is unbelievable.”