Lewis Read returned to his syndicate after a three-week break and upped his personal best with a fish just two ounces under the 50lb barrier.
The experienced carper, who is Gardner Tackle’s media manager, tempted the mirror known as Little Big Head during a weekend session at Wellington Country Park in Berkshire.
He said: “‘God, I love it here!’ just about summed up my feelings. It’s not every day you catch a whacker!”
Lewis added: “Friday evening saw me rush home eager to get to the lake after missing a few weeks due to other commitments. I have been ‘on it’ this year so a three-week break was a killer!
“As I drove there I had that wonderful knotted stomach – the excitement and anticipation twisting my insides into a ball.”
Having been told about some fish sightings, Lewis rushed to his swim and baited along the margins with Carp Company Nut Mix boilies before darkness.
“I struggled to sleep,” he said, “the excitement I felt was elevated by the occasional fish showing nearby – and when a beast came out over the top of the middle rod I got out of the bag and sat in the darkness waiting for a bite. At 3.15am it came. The middle rod ripped off and the old adrenalin rush kicked in.”
Having banked the 29lb mirror, Lewis stayed up and became convinced the fish were leaving the area he was fishing in.
“The bay looked too quiet and I was becoming quite fidgety. Then the right-hand rod bleeped a few times and, as I picked it up, all hell broke loose as a decent fish stripped 40 yards of line off the spool.
“The fish swept in on a tight line and pulled hard trying to get under the trees to my left. I was surprised how much time it took to bring her out and round, but with that done the fish still surged powerfully around for another few minutes before bobbing up and displaying a back that was beast-like in width.”
The fish was eventually subdued and a weight of 49lb 14oz was agreed, despite the needle of the scales bouncing over the 50lb a couple of times.
“No complaints there,” said Lewis, who fished a clone rig made up of Gardner Trick Link and a size 6 Incizor.