When it comes to landmark catches, there’s never likely to be another year like 2001.
Despite the nation being gripped by the Foot and Mouth epidemic, anglers targeting all species enjoyed a memorable 12 months, with the barbel record going three times (culminating in the country’s first 19lb fish), the bream record falling twice and the tench best also being beaten with the nation’s first 15lb-plus specimen.
Carp anglers also enjoyed a spectacular year, and taking centre stage was Gary Bayes.
In October he hit the headlines after landing the country’s first ever 60lb-plus carp in the shape of Two Tone at 61lb 2oz from Mid-Kent Fisheries’ Conningbrook Lake.
It was the third time that year the fish had been caught at a new British record weight, but the first time it had topped the 60lb barrier.
Gary made the historic capture after arriving at the lake to find it pretty busy. He ended up picking a swim called the Ghosty Trees, in an area containing fewer anglers.
After positioning his baits 15 yards out at the back of the dense marginal weed, he didn’t have long to wait for the bite.
Gary said: “I’d wanted to get in that swim for a while because I had the last fish from last year from there. I’d also been trickling a few of my Scopex Squid boilies into the area.
“At 8.30pm I had a screamer and the fish eventually slowed down and weeded itself solid. Lee Jackson and Kev Cummins went and got a boat and I just reeled myself out until I was over the fish.
“Once I was above the carp it just popped out of the weed.”
The mirror then started to fight again, giving Gary some anxious moments because of a large clump of weed that was still attached to the line.
“I just kept calm and kept my mind on the job and in the end she slid safely into my net.
“Then I had to bite the line, tie a lead on and cast into the trees on the bank. I’d got no oars, and so it was the only way I could get back in!”
After securing his scales to a tree and plastering the ground beneath it with unhooking mats, the moment of truth arrived and a weight of 61lb 2oz was declared, securing Gary’s name in the annuls of carp fishing history.
TACKLE GARY USED
- Rods: Nash Extreme Pursuit 12ft, 3.5lb test curve
- Reels: Shimano
- Mainline: 20lb Nash Bullet Braid
- Hooklink: 25lb Nash Soft Braid
- Hook: Nash Fang X Size 4
- Lead set-up: Tied-on 5oz ball lead
- Bait: Double white 15mm Scopex Squid pop-up with Scopex Squid free offerings