ONE of the UK’s top carp fisheries has produced a specimen of 59 lb, a fish that had managed to avoid capture for 15 months.

Paul Cunliffe tempted a beast known as Sweetcheeks from The Avenue fishing lake. It’s part of Rob Hales’ RH Fisheries, in Shropshire.

The retired 61-year-old from Manchester used a CC Moore Northern Special pop-up to tempt the fish at a new top weight.

The syndicate venue was once home to the UK’s biggest carp, Big Rig, which reached a high of 71 lb 4 oz before it died just over two years ago, a fish that Paul caught when it weighed 69 lb 8 oz.

The Avenue fishing manager Tom Forrester said: “The Avenue is home to a host of big carp.

“Its ten acres containing 140 fish, including 41 40s, 12 50s and one 60, known as Tarka, which was weighed at 65 lb when last caught.

“We net the lake each year, removing unwanted fish, including smaller carp of up to 30 lb, which we sell on to pay for the netting operation.

“We have removed the pike, too, finding that the roach and perch take care of most of the carp eggs and fry, preventing unwanted numbers,” Tom added.

Avenue fishing chief reflects

Owner Rob Hales told Angler’s Mail: “I set up The Avenue to be a big fish water, and we did produce Big Rig, the largest ever UK specimen carp.

“The biggest ones aren’t caught easily, and our current largest, Tarka, hasn’t come out since February.

“I suspect it will be even bigger next time that it is caught, so could be near the record.

“Sweetcheeks hadn’t come out since September 2018, and had gained 4 lb in that time, so I fully expect it will be another ‘sixty’ when it is next caught,” Rob added.

“Not an easy venue,” says regular

Avenue fishing regular Craig McEvoy said: “At £1,500 a year, the Avenue isn’t cheap, but other big carp venues are dearer.

“It’s not an easy venue. The fact that they feed the fish weekly with their own mix means that it can be hard to tempt the carp away from it.

“The fishery also remove unwanted species, to allow the carp to grow big, and three years ago I helped with one of their nettings, when we removed 4,000 lb of roach, and there are no tench or bream present either.

“There are some quality perch to 3 lb, a species that the owner’s son fishes for, and I have heard of a pike of 27 lb being caught on a boilie in the past.

“It’s a wonderful place, which is in Rob’s back garden, but I guess the price does restrict the numbers looking to join it,” Craig concluded.

The current British record is held by a Berkshire fish known as The Parrot, caught by Dean Fletcher at 68 lb 1 oz, but this fish sadly died.

The British Record Fish Committee controversially turned down Tom Doherty’s record claim for catching Big Rig at 69 lb 3 oz in 2016, on the grounds that it was artificially reared to a near-record weight.

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