Loosefed compost accounts for Benson at a massive 50lb 8oz

A bag of compost is something more commonly found in a garden shed than a carper's bivvy, but this week innovative angler Matt Ridley used it to bank one of the country's biggest common carp.

The 27-year-old's capture of the 50lb 8oz fish, known as Benson, from Northants day-ticket complex Bluebell Lakes comes just seven months after he landed the country¹s biggest day-ticket mirror, weighing 64lb 2oz, on similar tactics.

Matt, who is now part of a select band of anglers to have caught both common and mirror carp over 50lb, firmly believes his radical approach has been the difference between success and failure at the highly-pressured venue.

Having had success in the past by introducing mud into his swim, the Coventry-based engineer took the idea a step further and started using compost.

"All fish seem to love it ­ I also caught numerous double-figure bream, roach to over 1lb and lots of tench," said Matt.

"The water in the lake has been really clear, so as well as the attractants compost releases, the cloud it creates really helps to draw the fish into the area."

He also shied away from the more popular semi-fixed lead set-ups and offered a running rig to give the carp 'something different to deal with'. The huge specimen was then nailed with a single grain of artificial corn flavoured with a Richworth additive and mounted on a small size 10 hook.

Sparsholt College lecturer and fish scientist Mark Burdass explained why compost can be so effective: "When the plant material breaks down, it releases different nutrients which can trigger fish into feeding. It¹s crucial that it's used in moderation, though, because too much can cause de-oxygenation."

Matt's success came as no surprise to ex-England matchman and Mallory Park Fisheries owner Roy Marlow, who himself  has first-hand experience of how attractive fish find fertiliser. "I have two identical rearing ponds ­ one fed with coarse pellets and the other with horse manure ­ and the weights of the fish are identical. I¹ve also caught over 100lb of carp feeding nothing but manure."