The bream that rewrote history

This is the picture which the angling world has been waiting to see ¬ the new British record bream of 22lb 9oz, caught from Ferry Lagoon by Mark McKenna.

The historic specimen, which was reported exclusively in Angling Times last week, is the first of the species ever to be caught over 20lb in the UK, and was tempted by the 38-year-old Middlesex-based rod during a four-day session on the daunting 160-acre Cambs pit.

Just hours after he made the catch, AT caught up with Mark on the banks of Ferry Lagoon, where he revealed how the memorable capture unfolded.

“Much of the pit is nigh-on inaccessible, and with a ratio of less than one fish per acre you could literally be a mile away from them. I was drawn to the area I’ve been concentrating on as there was a massive insect hatch going on out there, and I knew the fish wouldn’t be far away,” he said.

His hunch proved correct, and after baiting a clay patch at 80yds with T1 boilies from his own company Baitcraft, as well as a scattering of pellets and hemp, Mark hooked what he thought was a small carp. As it neared the net however, he saw the bronze flank of an enormous bream.

“It was the first time I’ve ever been worried about losing a bream, and when the scales read 22lb 9oz I stared at them in disbelief. This fish really was your stereotypical dustbin lid, just bigger!” he added.

Incredibly, it is the same bream which hit the headlines in 2005 when James Rust banked it at a then record weight of 19lb 10oz, and experts now believe the same fish could dominate the record list for years. Former Drennan Cup winner Tony Gibson, who spent two seasons on the venue chasing its elusive residents, said: “This bream appears to be way ahead of anything else out there, and if the record is going to be broken again then it will most likely be by this fish. Of course there is always the potential for one of the other large untapped pits out there to throw up a lump.” Mark’s record fish has put on a staggering 2lb 15oz over the past four years, and Sparsholt College fisheries scientist Mark Burdass believes it could be down to a change of diet. “Such a rapid weight gain could be an indication that this particular fish’s diet has changed, probably from natural food to a more high-energy food source like anglers’ fishmeal-based baits,” he explained.