When it comes to fish with history, this veteran common has the royal seal of approval.
The 37lb 3oz specimen was one of the last fish stocked into Broadlands Lake in Hampshire by Lord Mountbatten, the great-grandson of Queen Victoria, before he was assassinated by the IRA in 1979.
Known as Henry Cooper, the immaculate common has been a rare visitor to the bank since it was introduced at just 8lb 35 years ago, but he fell to George West last week.
During a work placement at the popular day-ticket venue the fisheries student mucked in during the day and fished at night, landing 27 fish from a spot close to a marginal bush in four nocturnal sessions.
After catching a string of fish to over 20lb, the crucial bite came on George’s second night. He explained: “I received the take and this fish felt a lot different to the rest, fighting deep and not wanting to give up.
“As it got closer to the net I caught a glimpse of a long, pale shape and soon netted what turned out to be the most sought-after fish in the lake, Henry Cooper at a new record weight of 37lb 3oz.”
Louis Mountbatten (Earl Mountbatten of Burma) factfile
• June 25, 1900: Born on the Windsor Castle estate. Great-grandson of Queen Victoria and a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.
• 1955: Made First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy after distinguished service in World War Two.
• May 19, 1979: Opens the Broadlands estate to the public at a ceremony with his great-nephew Prince Charles.
• August 27, 1979: Assassinated by an IRA bomb planted in his fishing boat at his Irish holiday home.