Schoolboy Oli Cooper used his last summer holiday before starting GCSEs to knuckle down and find a new personal best.
Having searched for a suitable venue, the 15-year-old settled on Meadows Lake at Holme Fen in Cambridgeshire, and was rewarded for his hard work with a 41lb 9oz mirror.
The teenager told Angling Times: “I had six weeks off so I decided I should do something special before I needed to start working really hard for my GCSEs.”
Pouncing on a cancellation at the booking-only venue, Oli arrived midweek for a 48-hour stay and despite coming last in the draw for swims managed to secure Party Point, the peg he wanted.
After finding a couple of spots in the weed, Oli baited heavily with pellets, crushed boilies, corn and whole boilies.
“I wasn’t feeling too confident,” he said. “I had only seen one good fish jump which, although it was on my spot, was much earlier on in the day, and I hadn’t had any liners or anything in hours.
“The lake hadn’t produced a fish that week so I knew it would be hard, but I ate my dinner, set my alarm for just before light and went to sleep.”
After waking to thick mist, Oli got out of his bivvy at 6am as visibility improved.
“After watching the slick off my spots for an hour-and-a-half I sat on the grass verge thinking ‘if I get a bite now, how will I get to my rods?’. And, as I was thinking that, I had a single bleep – it screamed off and straight away I knew I was into a very good fish.”
The fish ploughed through a succession of weedbeds, but eventually Oli led it into the margins and, though a crowd had gathered, he opted to net it himself. He said: “The shoulders on her were the thickest I have ever seen!”
The following morning Oli banked a 26lb mirror to round off a memorable session.