Anguilla anguilla

Current British record: 11lb 2oz (1978) Master S Terry, Kingfisher Lake, Nr Ringwood, Hants


This snake-like species is like no other. Its long and muscular body allows it to seek out areas that no other fish can enter. This species is a well travelled fish as it spends a percentage of its life at sea where it will breed, completing the cycle of life.


The common Eel will rarely reach 5lb in weight but in the right conditions there have been cases of around 7lb. The largest UK specimen is at 11lb 2oz. Reports show that it can take up to twenty years to reach the weight of just one pound and a staggering 40 years to reach three pounds in weight.


The average size of an adult Eel rarely exceeds 100cm in length.


The Eel is the Godfather of the fish world, this species is capable of living to the ripe old age of 40 years.


Technically, you will find Eels anywhere. Eels will spend the majority of their life in still waters until they get the urge to seek out the life at sea, wriggling over land, Eels will seek out rivers with an aim to connect to the ocean. Eels are bottom dwellers and can be found in tight areas of debris as their sleek body allows them to enter areas where others cannot.


Eels are solitary movers and will spend a lot of their time under rocks or in crevices. Eels are dependant on environmental conditions, temperature, tides and lunar phases - all have an effect to the Eels behaviour pattern.


An Eels shopping list will include invertebrates such as insect larvae and small fish. When travelling over land, Eels have been known to eat worms along the way. Eels are more aggressive with their feeding at night, an angler will have better luck when the moon is out within the warmer months. Lobworms and stinky dead baits are a favoured bait when hunting an Eel.


Eels are known to be sexually mature between the ages of 8 and 15 years. Eels take a long time to grow and can take up to twenty years to become just 1lb in weight.


Eels will start to move toward the Sargasso Sea between August and December. During their adventure across the ocean, female Eels will not eat and only concentrate on producing up to 17000 eggs, ready to take their part in the circle of life. The eggs will rest within the Sargassum Seaweed and once they have hatched it can take up to four years before they can return to a local lake near you.


All information is from a variety of sources, if you think we have missed something? Email with your update.

See you on the bank.

The Fishing UK Team!

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