Good karma befell Craig Runham as he bagged two 39-pounders on a session he had won at a charity auction.
Having been the highest bidder at a Cancer Research event, the Berkshire angler and his friend Andrew Smith got a chance to fish the exclusive Wasing estate for 48 hours.
Targeting Cranwells, Craig caught a 39lb 8oz mirror and a 39lb 8oz common after photographing the lake’s biggest resident – the Parrot at 64lb 8oz – for Bernie Loftus.
The Korda and Mainline-backed 28-year-old said: “The waiting list is very, very long and it will be many years before I get on the syndicate, so it was worth every penny we bid to get the short-session ticket.”
Having moved into the swim vacated by Bernie, Craig and Andrew endured a biteless first night before a change in the weather turned the session around.
During a windy second night, Craig received a screaming take. “I could not believe the power of the fish I was connected to,” he said, “I knew that out in the darkness I was fighting a very decent fish. The runs were mindblowing and I prayed for it to stay on. After what seemed an eternity I finally had a good common gliding up and down the margin.
“On the scales we both settled on 39lb 8oz – a new personal-best common for me.”
An hour later, a mid-twenty mirror slipped into Craig’s net and, as he was enjoying his first cup of tea of the morning, another fish picked up one of his white Cell pop-ups.
“Through the clear water I could make out a rather special creature, a dark heavily plated long mirror of epic proportions.” The fish also pulled the scales round to 39lb 8oz.
Craig, who fished hinged stiff rigs to a silt gulley, added: “It was a true honour to hold these special carp aloft for the camera.”