The fish was taken in the summer of 1994 when I was just 17, a session has been arranged in a lake close to where my parents had a house in France in the region. I had arranged to go for a weeks carp fishing with a mate of mine and we traveled down to France with my parents full of anticipation. Bait was rolled before we left the UK and we had 20 KG’s of chick peas with us ( my favourite bait at the time).
Anyway to cut a long story short the weeks fishing was cut down to a few days when my mate had to return back to the UK for personal reasons leaving me fishing alone. I was happy to do this but my parents ( remember this was in the age before mobile phones) were not so 2 x 2 day sessions it had to be.
The fishing was not easy, we expected the fish to come crawling up the line. Well the poisson chat did…. and even swapping to chick pea on the hair didn’t stop them. The weed was amazing, massive clumps of elodea that seemed to float around to catch you out.
On the last day I received a violent take, far far more violent then I had ever experienced before. The fight was ( from memory) a normal enough fight with the fish kiting right and left, however the fun really started when I got it in the net. The fish was brought to the waiting spreader block a little too early it seemed and once it was in ( and I was celebrating) the fish started to thrash wildly. Really wildly, so much in fact that it managed to rip a hole in the side of the net and swim out. Imagine the scene I am now trying to play a fish whilst the line is running through a massive hole in the net and disappearing into the depths.
Swiftly I realised that the fish had made its way straight into a large bunch of weed and was stuck firm ( no doubt trying to throw the hook) so there was nothing for us but to jump into the water after it. I should point out at this stage that I had no idea how deep the water was in front of me, the drop to the water was 1m and the water could have been 3m deep, as it was it the water came up to my neck but I was able to swim with the net over to the weed ball and haul the whole damn lot into the net. I then swiftly turned and doggy paddled as fast as I could back to the bank.
There was then the frantic search through the weed for the fish and in seconds I realised that I had caught my largest carp ever.
After weighing it several times I settled on a weight of 20lb 2oz and at the time it smashed my previous PB by 3-4 lbs. The fish was not the normal “swimming gut” that you occasionally find but appeared to be a river carp that was just pure muscle. Magic fishing and a memory I will treasure for ever.
Picture quality is really bad due to the camera that was used, I have progressed a lot in the last 16 years