CARPFEED HERITAGE: Pete Springate's full account of his iconic Wraysbury brace

CARPFEED HERITAGE: Pete Springate's full account of his iconic Wraysbury brace

One morning in the summer of 1992, legendary carp angler Pete Springate created history by banking Mary and Mary's Mate from Wraysbury to create a memorable brace shot.

In this extract from Angling Times on July 15 that year, Pete recalls that special session in his own words...

An iconic carp photo. Mary at 47lb and Mary's Mate at 37lb 8oz

An iconic carp photo. Mary at 47lb and Mary's Mate at 37lb 8oz


“I was hoping to get to Wraysbury on the Wednesday evening but I unfortunately couldn’t make it.

When the wind and rain got up that night I thought it might push the carp to the other end of the lake to a little spot I fancied.

As soon as I arrived on Thursday, at 12.30pm, I spoke to a couple of guys who commented on how grim the lake looked.

But I still felt confident.

So I set up my rods, along with 20lb Abu line, to combat the thick weed and the gravel bars.

I cast the first about 20 yards out into a clear spot which was about 12ft deep, just off a small island and then fired in 100 condensed-milk boilies.

I then put the other one out about 100 yards to a bar running between two islands and catapulted out another batch of bait.

How Pete's account appeared 25 years a

How Pete's account appeared 25 years a

All I did after that was look at the water until 11pm, watching for the slightest sign of a fish.

Everything was dead so I got my head down for a few hours. At five in the morning I was woken by a bleep, bleep from my indicators.

I immediately jumped up and watched as it dropped a couple of inches. Then another bleep and I immediately struck.

The rod arched over into what I knew was a big carp which started to move off into open water.

I had to flick the anti-reverse off and start backwinding, slowly at first, then it got faster and faster. So fast that I had a job to keep up with it.

I didn’t know then but this was my second encounter with the fish, having landed it last year at 45lb.

Pete had caught Mary at 45lb 6oz in 1991

Pete had caught Mary at 45lb 6oz in 1991

The rod was bent right round, so much so that I thought it was going to break.

The reel was groaning under the strain and I prayed the handle wouldn’t break off in my hand.

By this time the carp had taken 80 yards of line and it was trying desperately to get in some weed.

I just kept the pressure on and managed to bring it into open water. It was just give and take – pumping it in and then off it would go again.

It was hopeless and there was nothing I could do about it.

Eventually I managed to wind the fish in, so I waded out onto a gravel bar and towards a small island. It was the hardest fight I’d ever had.

When I first hooked it I thought was one of the lake’s massive common carp, but once I saw it roll, I realised it was a very big mirror.

The job I had to try to pull it over the net was unreal. It was like trying to heave a dead weight inch by inch until eventually she was in.

Once it rolled over the edge of the mesh I dropped the rod and grabbed the landing net arms and went to lift it onto dry land.

I was staggered, it was so heavy.

I had to get a better grip and just managed to struggle up the bank with her. I laid the fish on the unhooking mat and couldn’t believe my eyes, it looked enormous.

I quickly unhooked and weighed her. She scaled just over 47lb, but I settled for a straight 47lb and gently lowered her into the sack.

I sat down and put the kettle on. I was just in a daze.

I didn’t know whether to reel the other rod in and go and tell someone, but decided I would give it until 8am because it was so early.

I re-baited and cast to the same spot but all I could think about was the carp.

The time just seemed to drag by and then at 8am, when I was just about to reel in, the other rod went ‘bleep’.

I struck, felt a fish on, and remember the bar was very sharp the other side.

I just held on tight and another fish boiled on the surface. It started to kite to my left and I had a job to keep up with it as it made for a small island. I managed to keep it on my side, but only just.

I waded out with the net but she didn’t want to know.

I could see it was another big mirror and eventually I managed to net her, weigh her and admire her – 37lb 8oz of absolute magic.

I couldn’t believe my luck…I just had to tell somebody.

I never expected to see the biggie for a couple of years and at first I wasn’t sure if it was that one I caught last season at 45lb 6oz, but it was.

The Angling Times report of Pete's first encounter with Mary

The Angling Times report of Pete's first encounter with Mary

I knew it was over 40lb but I never thought once of Chris Yates’s record when it lay in the mesh of my net.

But it’s the challenge and the thought of a possible record that keeps sending me back to 120-acre Wraysbury.

I’m convinced the fish I had will be a British record one day, and I hope I’ll be the one in front of the camera on that occasion.”