There are some amazing carp in British waters. There are carp that are famous for their size, others their age. Some even have a celebrity following.
Some are just plain elusive. But that doesn’t stop anglers from trying to net them. It just makes the chase more fun.
British anglers have long respected impressive fish. There’s been Benson (aka “The People’s Fish”), who died in 2009. Colne Mere carp Black Mirror departed in 2010. Two Tone last caught weighing in at 67 lb 14 oz, died at the grand old age of 45. He was mourned with a ceremony attended by no fewer than 50 anglers. Carp, we salute you.
But as the old guard take their place in history, younger carp commandeer the waters. Here, we give you some of Britain’s more recent celebrity carp.
The Fat Lady
The grande dame of British waterways is known as “The Fat Lady”. But, alas, she sings no more. She passed back in 2011 of natural causes.
It’s said that this particular carp was over 30 years old, giving her a good ten years on the carp’s average life span. During that time she was caught more than 200 times and was an obsession for many anglers.
The Fat Lady held the title of Britain’s biggest living freshwater carp for a year. This title was previously held Two Tone. At the end of her life, she weighed in at 61lb 6oz, meaning she left some pretty big waves in her wake.
Image source: Advanced Carp Fishing Magazine
Dean Fletcher and the 68lb 10z monster carp.
The Fat Lady’s title was taken over by Berkshire carp, the Parrot. Don’t let the diminutive name fool you. The Parrot is a behemoth of a fish, so-named for the shape of its mouth.
When Dean Fletcher – an avid angler who had pursued it for almost a decade – finally caught the giant mirror carp in Cranwells Lake in January this year, he couldn’t believe his luck. Or its weight.
Some of his friends had caught The Parrot back in the early noughties when it weighed around 30lbs. But when Dean reeled it in, The Parrot weighed 68lb 1oz, which smashed Two Tone’s previous heavyweight record. His reaction? “Blimey.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. That is, until September 2016 when Big Rig rolled into town.
Anglers can get quite particular about what to call the latest megacarp. The name, “Marriage Wrecker”, comes up with alarming frequency whenever a new monster carp surfaces, showing just how addictive carping can be.
But Big Rig definitely lives up to the name. Landed by Tom Doherty at the Avenue Fishery in Shropshire, Big Rig weighed a whopping 69lb 13oz. That’s right. Another British record has been born. And Tom smashed his own personal best, which before September stood at 44lb.
But not everyone’s as pleased with the catch. In fact, Tom’s received death threats. Some passionate critics believe that the record should only go to a ”naturally” grown carp and Big Rig was artificially “farmed” or imported from outside the UK, so should not count.
Big Rig is indeed the result of RH Fisheries boss Rob Hales’ quest to “grow” Britain’s biggest fish. Big Rig went from 39lb to 69lb 13oz in just three years. It looks like Rob’s quest has been achieved!
Update: Big Rig came out again at the end of October – at 71lb 4oz to Robby Harrison. It seems this fish is getting bigger at a phenomenal rate.
Chad Lakes’ Black Eye is another giant carp that’s gone up to the big lake in the sky. Blogger and angler Mark Holmes’ advice? “Big Carp are not immortal so go and get them.”
Wise words, indeed. Mark’s pursuit of Big Carp took him to Chad Lakes in Gloucestershire where he was lucky enough to catch Black Eye:
When I cradled this fella at 52lb 6oz caught float fishing I couldn’t stop grinning for a week.
He had 43 carp catches in a lake which only had 28 carp in it, before he was able to land Black Eye. Mark eventually lured him in with a float-fished prawn.
But not all celebrity carp are renowned for sheer size. Some carp achieve notoriety for the effort it takes to catch them. The chase. The single-minded pursuit.
Angling author Simon Crow has caught 50-pounders in six different countries (England, France, South Africa, Austria, Hungary and Romania). He knows his big fish. He even caught Black Eye back in the day. But in his words, Yorkshire’s Nostell Fish was, after two seasons in search of it, the pinnacle of his big carp fishing:
The effort I put into catching the Nostell Fish was like no other carp I have ever fished for.
The Nostell Fish, considered by many to the “finest carp in Yorkshire”, went into his net at 43lb 6oz. Not a mammoth, but a monumental experience for the angler. Simon said
I stood staring at it for several minutes, trying to convince myself that it was definitely that fish. The feeling of elation was incredible.
It’s that feeling that keeps us coming back to the bank time and again.
Have you ever had an encounter with one of Britain’s celebrity carp? Or, which monster are you currently pursuing? We want to know about it! Head over to our Facebook page and share your tales of carp, past and present.