Record fish for Roger at St Albans lake

AN ANGLER got the surprise of his life recently when he landed a mammoth catch at a St Albans fishing lake.

Roger Tooley, 61, from Hemel Hempstead, was fishing at the lake for the first time with his 16-year-old daughter, Jessica, when he caught a 53lb catfish.

It was the second night of their three-day day trip and Jessica, who is new to fishing, had already caught a 14lb carp and a 9lb tench.

“I had only managed to catch a small bream,” said Roger, who has been a keen fisherman all his life. “Then, at about 11.30pm, my bait alarm went off on my rod and I thought, ‘now it’s my turn’.

“The rod screamed off and started banging in the line; I thought it was a good tench. Then, after 60 yards of line, I thought it must be a nice carp.”

After an hour of struggling, Roger finally managed to get the fish to the bank.

“We could not believe our eyes,” he said. “We did not know there were catfish in the lake. My daughter dropped the landing net as she thought it was a snake!”

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Believing the find to be unusual, Roger telephoned the bailiff, Alan Moss, who came straight round and weighed the fish.

“Alan had an inkling there may be a couple of catfish in the lake and he was over the moon,” said Roger.

“It’s certainly the biggest fish I’ve ever caught. My daughter and I will remember this for the rest of our lives.”