TWO of the country’s rarest fish have been banked just seven days apart from a lake on the Kent/Sussex border.
The fish in question are a pair of blue carp, the only two in the country, which reside in the specimen lake at Hawkhurst Fish Farm. Stocked in the early 1990s by owner Tony Wilkinson, they originate from China, and were placed on the prohibited species list by the Environment Agency not long after their introduction. After a legal battle however, the fishery was permitted to keep the two ‘blues’ after it was proven they wouldn’t be able to escape into any nearby watercourses.
Fishery bailiff and captor of the bigger of the pair, Sam Hamill, revealed how elusive the unique-looking fish have been.
“The ‘Big Blue’ comes out once every 18 months or so,” he said,
“whereas the ‘Little Blue’ slips up a bit more regularly, at around 3-4 times per year.”
Reflecting on his recent capture of ‘the bigger of the pair at a whopping 45lb 8oz, Sam added:
“The sheer power of blue carp is phenomenal. They are such long fish, with the biggest measuring over 1.8m. They look similar to grass carp, but with a deep blue colouration, and are often mistaken for ‘grassies’ by members who spot them cruising on the surface.
With a two-and-a-half year waiting list to become a member of the water, it’s clear that the prospect of catching a UK blue carp is something that excites other anglers too.
“We have members who’ve signed up specifically just to target them,” Sam said.
“I’ve had quite a few 30lb-plus carp, but this big blue will take pride of place in my album.”
Blue Carp – Factfile
Latin name: Mylopharyngodon piceus
Origins: Also known as black carp, or black Chinese roach, these cyprinids are native to lakes and rivers across East Asia. They are also numerous in the US, where they have spread into river systems and their numbers are considered out of control in some areas.
Size: Can reach nearly 2m long, and weigh up to 240lb.
Diet: Mainly feed on snails, clams and mussels and other molluscs.