“How I grew the record carp”
From 39lb to 69lb 13oz in three years – here’s the story of how RH Fisheries boss Rob Hales created the UK’s biggest carp
Timeline of ‘Big Rig’
2013 Brought in at 39lb and introduced into one of Rob’s growing-on reservoirs, where carefully selected carp are fed a diet of pellets to maximise growth potential. A custom-made, floating feeder introduces these on a timer.
2014 Big Rig attains a weight of 42lb and remains in the reservoir fed on a diet of pellets.
2015 The fish remains in the reservoir for another year, reaching an unrecorded weight
2016 The fish is moved to Rob Hales’ own fish farm where it’s used in a spawning programme to provide future generations of fast-growing carp.
2016 March Following a daily diet of two kilos of boilies and two large scoops of pellets every morning, all hand-fed by Rob, Big Rig reaches a weight of 58lb... and that’s after spawning.
2016 September Big Rig sends shockwaves through the angling world when she sets a new British carp record at 69lb 13oz, caught from The Avenue.
Future Rob is adamant that Big Rig has plenty more growing potential, and her offspring are now being nurtured to provide thousands more fast-growing carp for Rob’s own and other waters.
This is the picture of the colossal 69lb 13oz carp that smashes the current British record.
The fish, known as Big Rig, was banked by Essex rod Tom Doherty just a few hours after he’d cast out into the Avenue Fishery in Shropshire, and it succeeds the current British best that stands at 68lb 1oz, caught by Dean Fletcher in January this year.
Fishing a Mainline Baits prototype boilie from a swim called Pete’s Point, the 33-year-old not only smashed his personal best of 44lb, but came agonisingly close to breaking the 70lb barrier.
He did it with a rig constructed from rig components made by PB Products.
“It was only my second time on the fishery and now I’ve caught this giant. It still hasn’t sunk in,” Tom told Angling Times.
“Rob was with me when I was playing the fish, and the fact that we knew it was Big Rig made the fight the most tense that I’ve ever experienced.
“The sight of those huge shoulders coming over the net is something I will never forget. It’s the biggest fish I’ve ever seen.”
The other side to the incredible story is that of Avenue owner and boss of RH Fisheries, Rob Hales.
Ever since he began making UK anglers’ big-fish dreams come true at venues that regularly produce fish over 50lb, he’s been adamant that he would ‘grow’ a British record carp.
And the fruits of his labours have come in the form of the incredible Big Rig – a fish that has benefited from being reared in a reservoir fitted with floating automatic feeding systems. Rob also hand-fed the giant with boilies and pellets at his state-of-the-art fish farm to make his record-breaking bid a reality.
“Myself and everyone at RH Fisheries would like to congratulate Tom on his amazing capture,” said Rob.
“I always knew that it was possible to grow a British record carp, so it was never a case of ‘if’, but ‘when’.
“This fish was in the fish farm earlier this year, and I’d feed her two kilos of boilies and a couple of big scoops of pellets every morning – but I’m blown away by the fact that she weighed in at 58lb back in March and now she’s fast approaching 70lb.
“There are many out there who criticise what I do, but I don’t care because most of these people don’t know the time, dedication, commitment and passion it takes to rear these fish and grow them on to reach the weights they do.
“I challenge them to come to my facilities and see what it takes, and they might change their minds.
“Anglers used to have to pay lots of money and travel to France in order to catch fish like this, but now you can catch them here in the UK.
“That’s great for our sport and the angling industry as a whole. More and more anglers want to catch carp, the bigger the better. That’s a fact.”
Rob is now nurturing thousands of Big Rig’s offspring, some of which he intends to grow on and stock into his own day-ticket fisheries. Others will be sold to carp fisheries across the UK.
“Growing big fish is very unpredictable, but to get stock from an incredible specimen like this is very exciting,” said Rob.
“Who knows how big she will grow in the future? The same goes for her offspring.”
• The fish was weighed on two sets of scales, and has been verified at 69lb 13oz. A record claim is being submitted.