After running around on numerous wild goose chases over the years the dream of finding a magnificent unfished spot is slowly diminishing. I know that such places do exist and have found a few, but they are rarely quite what they seem. As for the stories of uncaught monsters, well I tend to switch off when the ale takes hold and the stories begin.

How many times have I been told that these wily old fish are obviously so clever that they are able to outwit anglers year after year? Perhaps it is because they live in the equally mythical sixty foot deep hole that every lake over an acre has that makes them so difficult!

Some monsters obviously do exist, although for the most part they are only uncatchable until anglers start to seriously fish for them. I remember a huge carp that still resides in a lake not a million miles away from Heathrow Airport. I first saw that fish in about 1985, yet hardly anyone fished for it until the early nineties. It was thought impossible to catch, as the lake was sixty feet deep and contained only one fish! Since then, despite fishing being banned on the lake, it has been caught at least five times to my knowledge. It might be difficult, but it isn't uncatchable. With so many dedicated anglers on the bank these days, the more visible monsters, normally pike and carp, don't stand much of a chance. Once they start feeding on bait you know it's "game over"!

So are there no monsters left out there to be caught? Of course there are, but for anyone dreaming of stumbling across a small pond stuffed full of giant fish that are easy to catch, I think you need to get a reality check. I've seen quite a few monsters in the last few years, but most of them live in the huge gravel pits and reservoirs that are dotted around the country. It is rare to see a single angler fishing for these fish, not because the fish are difficult to catch, but because of the sheer size of the waters. Obviously, trying to single out one fish in a huge expanse is going to be a little difficult, but there is no reason why a big lake should be any more difficult than a smaller one, and in some cases they can be a lot easier.

Perhaps your best bet for a truly unknown monster these days comes from the rivers. With so few anglers fishing our larger rivers with tackle strong enough to land a really outsized fish it is no wonder that so few monsters get reported. Yet, if you mount a campaign on the lower Rivers Severn, Thames, Trent, Hull, or any one of a dozen other rivers you will not only catch fish, but stand a good chance of something really special.

If you are not too concerned about catching very much then a real outside possibility has to be the River Great Ouse. Now, a few decades ago the Ouse was officially stocked with catfish downstream of Huntingdon. The odd thirty pounder has been caught since by early season pike anglers, but what could the Ouse turn up to someone who really put the effort in? I would personally target the weir pools and reed beds where the silver fish tend to congregate. A nice big livebait, or deadbait fished at night just could prove the existence of a hidden population of cats. After all, most of the lower Ouse is almost unfished these days, and catfish aren't the most visible of fish.

Yes, when I retire that is where I will probably end up. Seeing out my days after a fish of mythical proportions from right under people's noses. I might be wasting my time but who knows? It will probably be a difficult nut to crack, but I will take my time. After all, it wouldn't be so much fun if it were easy now would it? The fish of your dreams might just exist, but are you ready for the reality?