Gudgeon are not the only species to have had troubled existence on the River Wandle in South West London. The Wandle has been heavily polluted in the past but this remarkable chalkstream is highly fertile and does produce surprisingly big barbel, chub and carp despite it being very shallow and narrow.
Wandle regular Ashley Bennett thinks he smashed the current gudgeon record of 5 oz caught by D. Hull in the River Nadder in Wiltshire way back in 1990 with this fish, estimated from 6-9 oz.
‘Absolutely massive’ gudgeon
The 35-year-old, from Morden, said: “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the UK record for gudgeon will be broken on the Wandle, and today I’m pretty sure I broke it!
“I took my two boys after school to see if they could sit still for longer than five minutes. So I set the quivertip up and was fishing on red maggots, instantly I had a take and it was a small dace – they loved it!
“Next cast I hooked a fish and when I saw it come up in the water I instantly thought it was a baby barbel, until little man netted for me and on closer inspection I see the biggest gudgeon I’ve ever seen, this thing was absolutely massive.
“The boys couldn’t quite work out why I was going crazy! To them I’m guessing it was a small fish.
“I’m gutted I never had scales or something to keep this beauty in, because I would of got someone down to officially weigh it, but I’m pretty sure I just smashed the UK record!
“Friends have said they estimate it to be between 6-9 oz by counting the scales between the dorsal and anal fins, how true this is I don’t know but it was a total monster,” added Ashley, who runs the Facebook group Fishing The River Wandle.
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