Death of Big Jona

Fishery boss Rob Hales says he regrets not closing one of his lakes in the weeks preceding the death of one of the country’s biggest carp.

Jona, who topped out at 61lb 8oz and was last caught in August at a weight of 58lb, was found dead last Wednesday at the Avenue in Shropshire. Owner Rob Hales told Angling Times the inhabitants had struggled having not spawned successfully this summer.

He said: “We think we had a slight problem on the fishery, something we had never seen before. The fish didn’t spawn successfully this year and we had a number of experts assess it. The fish that were caught in early August were stressed out and their immune system was weakened – they had a small parasite that all fish in all fisheries have but unfortunately the fish that had been caught were weaker. Really, we should’ve been closed when Jona was last caught, so I blame myself for that.”
Jona was believed to be about 20-years-old and had grown quickly since first being caught over the 40lb-barrier by Iain Macmillan in 2010.

Rob added: “She was a very special fish but the Avenue did a lake-record 48lb 4oz common last week and I’m sure that fish will smash through the 50lb barrier in the spring. Whether it’ll reach 60lb is another matter as you need a lot of things to come together.”

Rob, who discovered Jona’s body himself, said the fish would not be mounted. He said: “I thought about it but I’d rather look forwards than backwards.”