Tail clues to giant canal carp

Few canal carp are as impressive-looking as this 38lb 2oz lump landed by Ashley Coxhead.

Having prebaited a stretch of the Basingstoke Canal in Hampshire, Ashley was mobbed by a succession of smaller carp before the new personal best picked up his hookbait.

Arriving at his swim at 6am on a Monday to find his chosen spot freshly cleaned of the bait he had already put in, Ashley landed a low-double common in the evening before bagging more doubles the next day.

“I was certain that the smaller fish were moving on to the bait before the wiser, older and bigger carp would,” said Ashley, “so at 2pm I decided to reel in.”

Resting the swim until the Wednesday morning, Ashley then topped up the swim with Pandemic and Addiction boilies from Mad Baits.

“At exactly midday the rigs went back out and within 20 minutes a run came from a 24lb mirror,” said Ashley.

“Half an hour later I had another at 22lb. All then went quiet for a couple of hours and I put another 20 or so baits on to the spot.

“Shortly after, I noticed aggressive tail patterns appearing, seemingly emanating from just one fish.

“Bearing in mind the spot is 6ft deep, I thought it must be a monster. I was eagerly sitting on my rod when the line picked up and I was in.

“After a hairy 15-minute fight she was in the back of the net – get in!”

Ashley fished a trimmed-down Pandemic wafter mounted on a size 6 Gardner Wide Gape Talon Tip hook.