Warwickshire angler Noel Jones was so taken back by catching the biggest perch of the season so far, he had to sit down and roll a cigarette!

The Bidford-on-Avon angler was floatfishing on the Great Ouse when the massive 5lb 6oz perch – the biggest taken from any English river other than the Thames – snaffled his lobworm hook bait.

The fish was witnessed by the Buckingham DAA bailiff and treasurer and weighed on club scales, so there is no doubt about the weight.

It was a fish you only dream about,” the 55-year-old told Angler’s Mail. “I put it in a keepnet, sat down, rolled a fag, had a smoke and composed myself, and was still stunned when I set off to get help with the photos. Afer 45 years of fishing, it’s great that there are still fish in our rivers to stun me.”

 Normally perch are at their heaviest at the back end of the season, and experts have speculated that this fish could easily weigh in at a British record 6lb come late February.