A CARP angler has etched his name into the annals of angling history after slipping his net under a new British record crucian weighing 4lb 11oz.
The stocky specimen, which pips the previous record for the species by just 1oz, fell to Craig Smithson during a 48-hour stay on Dorset’s Milton Abbas syndicate lake.
In an attempt to lure one of the lake’s resident carp, the 39-year-old fished a red 15mm fishmeal pop-up next to a lily bed that he’d baited with chopped 18mm boilies and pellets.
By the time dawn broke on the final morning of his session, Craig only had a tench to show for his efforts, but his fortunes took an unexpected twist at 9.30am when one of his rods signalled a twitchy take.
“The bobbin danced up and down so I just thought it was another tench,” Craig tells us.
“After picking up the rod, I wound down until I felt resistance, then started to draw the fish to the bank. It didn’t put up much of a fight but when I saw the golden flanks of a giant crucian in the edge rather than a bright green tench, I just stared at it in shock, before the panic set in.
“I scrabbled along the bank to get my net and quickly scooped it up as soon as I could.
“As I gazed down the crucian just seemed to get bigger and bigger and I was slowly realising the magnitude of what I’d caught.”
While resting his prize in the margins Craig rang the fishery’s owner, Wayne Little, who rushed down to the bank with his own set of scales.
By this point, three other syndicate members had also arrived on the scene to witness the weighing, measuring and photographing of the new British best.
“In the end we weighed the crucian five times on three sets of Reuben Heaton scales and each registered a matching weight of 4lb 11oz,” Craig adds.
“I was just in complete awe and trying to soak up the fact that I was holding angling history in my hands.
“To catch something that’s the biggest in the country, by design or not, is the ultimate angling achievement in my opinion, so I’m just mega pleased it’s happened to me.”
Craig has submitted a claim to the British Record Fish Committee (BRFC), to which he has already posted a set of the Reuben Heaton scales used to weigh the crucian so that they can be tested for accuracy.
A list of the witnesses’ names and their contact details, in addition to two scale samples taken from the fish, have also been provided to the BRFC to help bolster the claim and prove that the crucian is a true strain and not a hybrid.
“If the crucian is accepted as a new record then fantastic, but if it isn’t then it won’t be the end of the world,” Craig adds.
“It was just fantastic to see this fish in the flesh.”
Craig’s groundbreaking capture will come as a shock to some, but not to Milton Abbas owner Wayne Little, who says it was only a matter of time before his eight-acre lake produced a record-beating crucian.
“Around 20 years ago we stocked probably 1,500 crucians and from what I can gather there are only around 20 to 30 left, but they’re all of specimen size now.
“Last season the lake produced fish of 3lb 15oz and 4lb for one of our members, and two years ago a crucian that looked much larger than Craig’s fish was discovered in a routine netting – so I knew we wouldn’t have to wait long to see a really special one on the bank. I’m made up for Craig."