Simon Hofgartner has enjoyed an incredible run of form on Chertsey Lake culminating in the capture of the venue’s most sought after resident at its heaviest ever weight of 55lb 8oz.
Ten days earlier the 31-year-old Dynamite Baits-backed rod landed a fish known as The Simmo at 34lb 8oz followed by the lake’s biggest common at an all-time high of 45lb.
Returning to the same swim he introduced a large bed of Dynamite’s new Monster Tiger Nut Red-Ammo boilies on a spot at 90 yards range and fished a matching 18mm pop-up on a size 6 ACE Razor Point CXS hook over the top.
The all-important take came at 7.30pm on the first evening of the session, but at first he thought a bream was responsible.
“I was sat in my bivvy when a single bleep made me aware something was occurring. As I watched, the bobbin rose slowly and just held at the top. My initial thoughts were that it was a bream so I clipped my rod up ready for the recast,” Simon said. “I then proceeded to wind the fish in, still thinking it was a bream, all the way to the net, when all of a sudden an enormous mirror hit the surface and took off at speed back out into the lake. I couldn’t believe it, from thinking I was reeling in a bream, I was then giving at least 70-yards of line to what was quite obviously Chertsey’s largest resident!
“The fight that followed lasted 30 long minutes, but luckily the next time it came into netting range it went in without too much drama. The fish was so big that I had images of it ripping through the bottom of net - the length and width of it was phenomenal. It’s certainly a fish I don’t think I’ll ever better.”
Tipping the scales at a massive 55lb 8oz, Simon was joined on the bank by his brother Terry to help with the photos. He said: “All the guys helped to keep me calm when inside I was an emotional mess.”
The huge mirror is the highlight of a memorable season for the Surrey-based carpenter who has also landed Dinton’s Big Mirror at 46lb earlier in the year as well as numerous backup 20lb and 30lb-plus fish from a variety of venues.
“I’m not sure which venue I’ll move onto from here, but with these captures in the back of my mind, I’ll certainly have plenty to remember when I’m waiting for my next red letter session.”