THIS could be the finest-looking canal carp in Britain.
The 45lb 4oz fully-scaled mirror, from the famous Kennet and Avon water, is certainly one of the most striking.
It was caught by seasoned canal campaigner Bill Phillips, who has snared the distinctive fish twice before from his narrowboat Cyprinus Carpio.
The retired 67-year-old from Chippenham, Wiltshire, baited a spot three times a week and caught a 19lb common on his first night session of the year.
A week later he returned in wet and windy conditions and received a take early in the morning.
He said: “At 5.30am I had a fidgety bream-like bite that got me out in the elements. Pulling into it I cussed thinking it was a big old bream.
“It felt heavy but wasn’t doing much, so I thought there must be a polythene bag or some debris attached to the line as is often the case in the canal.
“As it came under the rod tip I realised there must be a carp involved because it took a bit of line. I heaved it up and was shocked when I could see no debris, just a big flank.
“Thinking it could be her, I took it easy as she lazily plodded around close in. After a few minutes she rolled into the net and thoughts of her being 50lb rushed through my head. She looked big and beautiful, but when weighed at 45lb 4oz I was surprised but in no way disappointed – a magnificent carp.”
Bill, who last caught the fish at 47lb 2oz in June 2014, has a canal pedigree stretching back to the 1970s when he caught a 32lb mirror from Kent’s Royal Military in 1978.
His latest encounter with the big mirror came on Mainline Cell boilies presented snowman-style surrounded by 50 freebies.