TOP Kent water Wingham Fisheries, which shocked the nation with a spawnbound carp of 83 lb 4 oz, has installed otter fences to protect its historic stocks.

As Angler’s Mail revealed, the giant 83 lb 4 oz mirror carp at Wingham had put on over 30 lb with spawn and water and couldn’t be eligible for the official British record anyway under BRFC rules. But the captor didn’t want to either or have any publicity.

Now Wingham boss Steve Burke has protected the fishery which has at least nine 50 lb-plus carp and is widely tipped to produce a bona fide British record in the coming years.

Steve said: “The fish was one of our 50s bloated by her condition and as a result would never qualify to be a record but we obviously hope she will survive.

“Our carp are still growing fast, particularly in the Main Lake where fishing for them has only been allowed for the past few years so they have not been under pressure, and as they say neglected fish grow large.

“Many of our carp were born here and some stocked at around 10 lb and have all grown naturally. Given the relatively low numbers I allow on the syndicate they don’t even rely on angler’s baits to grow well.

“Record fish are often freaks that have grown faster than others or lived longer but we have a very high and quickly increasing average weight so it is impossible to predict whether one will reach record proportion.”

Wingham’s heaviest resident – the bloated 83 lb 4 oz carp that was around 30 lb above its normal healthy weight.

Wingham creator Steve continued: “There were many doubters when I set up the fishery 20 years ago with a view to its long-term growth but now my dream is coming to fruition.

“With the 15 acre Carp Lake containing seven fish over 50 lb up to a best of 60 lb 8 oz, and the younger 40 acre Main Lake already containing two 50 pounders up to 56 lb 14 oz, it was essential to act before otters even arrived in this area. I wasn’t going to let my dream be ruined in five minutes.

“Because the lakes are divided by a stream they’ve had to be fenced individually. This has meant that the total length of the fencing is over 3.5 kilometres (2.25 miles), making it possibly the biggest project of its kind in the country.

“The fencing is to an extremely high specification, including heavy duty metal posts for extra long life.   Whilst members have helped where they could, they are limited in number, this has meant that much of the work has had to have been done by professionals.

“All of this has made it extremely expensive and so we’re thankful to have a grant from the Angling Improvement Fund administered by the Angling Trust on behalf of the Environment Agency. For a project of this size it was s only a proportion of the total cost but still very welcome.

“It’s been a massive cost, and has resulted in an increase in prices for syndicate members, but having already sacrificed so much in the past it was clearly the right thing to do to protect Wingham for future generations,” Steve concluded.

Former carp record holder Lee Jackson from Kent’s Tackle Box commented “I reckon Wingham has as good a chance as anywhere to produce a home grown, naturally reared record carp in a few years time.

“I feel very sorry for the fish that went 83 lb and think the fishery might have tried to retain her and call in an expert to see if any treatment might be possible.

“I know of an authenticated case in France where a similar huge fish was operated on by a bailiff who cut her stomach open and extracted the spawn and liquid, then sowed her up with fishing line, and the fish survived.

“But of course to do such a thing you would really have to be confident of what you are doing,” Lee added.

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