Our British record fish list is full of nuisance captures

If ever you needed an example of how angling – certainly big fish angling – is becoming increasingly one-dimensional, a couple of catches in the last fortnight have provided it.
Let’s take the claimed 5lb 2oz rudd first. Authenticity of the weight aside, the principle remains the same. This was a creature, like so many other specimens caught during the fullness of a season, taken by a carper. To all intents and purposes, the latest potential best to enter the history books was another ‘nuisance’ fish. It’s not the first, either. Our record lists are dominated by accidents.
Then we had Paul Garner and the aptly named ‘The Fat Lady’. Having set his stall out for bream, he ended up landing a whacking great mirror – all 54lb 8oz of it.
So in the space of a week we had a giant rudd caught by a carper and a huge carp caught by a bream angler. Both completely by mistake
and both, essentially, on the same tactic. The ubiquitous bolt rig strikes again.
It seems to me that with each passing season, the approach to catching big fish – and this even include on rivers, too – is becoming more and more basic. Crude even.
Just take a look at the record books. Apart from the obvious in carp, so many other species, including bream, tench, perch, crucian carp, barbel and chub even, have been taken on either a blatant bolt rig set up or a derivative. All fish caught by anglers who have sat back and waited for their end tackle to do the hard work.
I know that it might sound old fashioned, naïve possibly, but I do miss the days when the country’s biggest roach, like Ray Clarke’s
4lb 3oz Stour giant, was caught on floatfished caster, or when our biggest chub came to classic leger tactics.
And I certainly miss the days when Britain’s record fish belonged
to anglers who set out to catch
We face a future of more of the same, though. As long-stay carping continues to grow in popularity, and high-protein baits, coupled with warmer summers and winters, continue to be piled into lakes and rivers, fish will grow and carpers will be there to catch them.
What’s compounded the problem is that specimen-hunters have, certainly when it comes to fishing stillwaters, been forced to mimic the tactics used by the carp fishing fraternity.
Such is the proliferation – and size –  of this ever-popular species that tackle needs to be suitably strong to cater for the eventuality of being tested by something that can grow to 50lb. As such, an angler like Paul Garner is able to land a monster on gear he would happily use for bream.
There was a time when there was a clear distinction between carp fishing and specimen hunting. But not any more. The bolt rig is king. And all
those other wonderful techniques
that make angling such a deep, rich and skilful sport are falling by the wayside.