Roach angler thought specimen was snag

A pinkie impaled on a tiny size 22 hook under a small pole float doesn’t sound like the sort of set-up to stop a huge 40lb carp in its tracks, but that’s exactly what Jon Habron managed to do while fishing for roach at a lake in France.

The keen match angler, from Stirling in Scotland, was in the middle of a three-month holiday when he settled down for a quiet morning’s fishing at Le Bel Etang in the Perigord and Limousin National Park.

Armed with an 8m Maver pole, Jon (65) was targeting the lake’s silverfish population and had already missed a few bites when his float dipped and he struck into a solid resistance, which initially he thought was a snag.

When the ‘snag’ began to move off into the centre of the lake, he began a monumental tug-of-war with his quarry that lasted almost an hour and left him ‘shaking like a leaf’.

“A few seconds after I struck into it, the fish suddenly realised it was hooked and embarked on a long, powerful run. Luckily, I had another 13m Maver pole set up next to me so I was able to improvise and add extensions to follow the carp,” he said.

After being forced to walk up and down the bank to keep in contact, 50 minutes later Jon eventually had the fish wallowing around in the margins, where he was able to land it himself with a large specimen net.

“I didn’t have a clue how big it was and my arm felt numb, but this is what fishing is all about. Sometimes you lose a 1lb roach, but on others you’ll get a 40lb carp in on the pole! It’s just a dream and I’ll never beat it again. We weighed her at 40lb 4oz and returned her to the water, where she swam off probably a little embarrassed at her capture. To celebrate, we went back to the chalet and opened a bottle of claret!” he added.

Jon was helped in weighing his heavyweight prize by venue owner Russ Turner, who said: “I’ve never seen a guy shake so much after landing a fish, it was magical. The look on his face was memorable ¬ it’s what fishing is all about.”

The fish exceeded Jon’s existing pb for the species by almost 14lb and was beaten with the help of a size 22 Kamasan B611, 7.9lb mainline to a 5.5lb hooklength and grey 10-14 Daiwa Hydrolastic.