THE UK’s biggest known river carp has been found dead in a backwater of the Thames.

The record river carp was discovered by several anglers near to Marlow in Buckinghamshire, who had tried to trace a horrible smell. It had probably been dead for a couple of weeks.

The beast was last caught by full-time angler Nick Helleur from the Thames in October 2018 at a stonking 50 lb 12 oz. It had previously come out at up to 48 lb 7 oz.

London-based Nick, 48, said: “It was a magnificent fish and I’m gutted at the news.

“I’m sure it is the record fish even though some of it had been eaten.

“It’s a sad loss and nobody is sure how it died given the carcass had been badly damaged but otters are certainly in the frame.

“Some might think the fish too big to be tackled by an otter but I have personally witnessed a big dog otter take a 35 lb carp in the margins of a lake, and an incredible struggle it was.

“Hunting at night, the otter is likely to have picked up the big carp’s vibrations in the water. And the damage to the tail looks like that an otter would inflict during an attack.

“However I have also heard the theory that the fish was seen struggling perhaps with illness or having been tethered in some way by snapped line and may then have been struck by a boat propeller.”

River record carp captor wrongly accused

Nick continued: “At the time of my capture of the giant I received a lot of plaudits.

“But now a lot of jealous weasels have come out of the woodwork and I have been accused of killing it when I caught it by dropping it, keeping it out of the water too long or feeding it with huge loads of peanuts, none of which are true.

“I know it has been spotted many times since swimming healthily and possibly was hand-fed in a marina during the Close Season.

“Having caught the fish I have not fished the area since and moved on to other stretches.

“I do know that a lot of anglers have gone after it since I went public with the video of the capture, but I don’t think angling pressure would have been a factor,” Nick concluded.

The UK’s only other know river ’50’ was caught from West Yorkshire’s River Aire in 2016 at 50 lb 1 oz by Steve Catterall.

It was a fish that had escaped from nearby Erics The Willows in a flood.

That giant was caught again at a lower weight of 48 lb 8 oz in 2017 but no other captures have been reported.

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