Angling Times readers are this week being given the unique opportunity to own a piece of fishing history after a potential record 20lb 2oz bream was discovered washed up dead.
Weighing 8oz more than James Rust’s present British record, the huge specimen had grown big on neglect in Oxfordshire day-ticket trout fishery Farmoor II Reservoir, where coarse anglers have never been able to target it.
The fish was recovered by Thames Water’s fisheries staff, who put it in their freezer and offered the carcass to the Anglers’ Conservation Association so that it could auction it off to raise money to aid its battles against polluters.
“One of my rangers found this bream freshly dead in the margins. It has a hole in one flank, but is otherwise in superb condition.
“All of us here are anglers and we decided to donate the fish to the ACA in recognition of the superb work it does on behalf of all anglers,” explained Matt Prior, Thames Water’s conservation, access and recreation co-ordinator.
Remarkably, it’s not the first potential record-breaking bream to be washed up at the fly-fishing only venue, which has produced 15lb bream so far this season to trout anglers fishing buzzer patterns.
In 2002, a partly-decomposed specimen weighing 22lb 4oz washed up and was bought by fish collector Steve Collier, who had it mounted in a glass case.
“All big-fish enthusiasts will be interested in this latest Farmoor bream – it’s definitely a specimen worthy of a glass case,” remarked Steve, owner of The Land’s End pub in Charvil near Reading.
“I’d be very keen to acquire this fish and get it mounted, so I can display it in my pub alongside the one I already have. If I win it in the auction, then I’d be only too happy to donate an extra £100 to such a good cause as the ACA,” he added.
Keen to discover just how much it would cost to get the historic fish mounted, Angling Times contacted one of the country’s leading fish taxidermists, Staffordshirebased Barry Williams, the man who mounted the previous
“A standard case for a 20lb bream would cost at least £575 to do properly,” explained Barry, who has been mounting fish for 25 years.
“If someone buys this fish and comes to me to get it set up, then I’ll donate £100 of my fee to the ACA’s fighting fund,” offered Barry.