Steve Couch, who runs Somerset venue Pavyotts Mill, has courted controversy by revealing he is on the brink of importing a batch of huge 70lb-plus fish from France, each of which would blitz the present UK record of 67lb 14oz.
While the bold move has been welcomed by some anglers keen to catch giant carp with the minimum of fuss, it has been roundly condemned by prominent figures within the sport, who claim it devalues the integrity of carp fishing.
Steve's plans follow hot on the heels of another recent stocking at the venue which saw 10 40lb-plus carp introduced. Those fish were initially imported from Israel, before being grown on by supplier Fenland Fisheries and stocked into Pavyotts Mill, which lost lots of its carp during a KHV outbreak last June.
Speaking about his plans to introduce record-breaking 70lb-plus mirrors and commons, Steve told Angling Times: "I'm planning to stock four fifties and four sixties anytime now, and I¹m also expecting a phone call regarding some 70lb fish from France. It's simple I want to give anglers the chance to catch huge carp without the need to travel abroad or to join publicity-shy syndicate waters."
And one angler who is definitely happy with what's going on at Pavyotts Mill is Bristol-based Darren Walter, who banked an amazing five 40lb-plus carp to 49lb 6oz during a recent manic 48-hour spell at the venue.
"Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine a catch like this," said Darren.
"I spent 25 years serving my carp-fishing apprenticeship and now it's all come good. Pavyotts is fantasy fishing. I don't have the time or money to join syndicates and spend weeks on the bank, so this venue is perfect," he added.
But many within the carp scene are far from pleased with the news. While some are questioning the legality of the planned stockings, others are questioning the morality of the issue.
Cefas, the organisation which monitors the import of live fish, is adamant that nobody in England or Wales is currently authorised to import such large fish from abroad. Meanwhile, the British Record Fish Committee claims that any imported fish which have been 'grown on' abroad would never qualify for record status in the UK.
"We could be on the verge of declaring a KHV status for England and Wales that prevents both the import of any live fish and the stocking of KHV-immunised carp," said English Carp Heritage Organisation chairman Ruth Lockwood.
"Everything about these stockings makes ECHO members deeply uneasy. Is it just another example of greed outweighing the fishery owners' obligations to fish welfare? It would be interesting to discover the source of these big fish, because 50s, 60s and 70s can¹t possibly have been grown in this country. The situation highlights some of the moral and legal dilemmas surrounding the continued development of modern carp fisheries in this country," she added.