We go back 23 years to the moment celebrated carper Ritchie McDonald became the first man to catch four different forties from four UK waters.
It’s really not that long ago that many carp anglers could name all the 40lb fish in the country.
Carp fishing has exploded in recent history, but back in 1995 Ritichie McDonald became the first British angler to catch four different 40lb carp from four different English waters.
Ritchie’s quartet, which took 11 years to complete, reads like a who’s who of superstar carp from that era:
1984: Bazil at 45lb 12oz from Yateley North Lake
1991: Jumbo at 41lb 9oz mirror from Yateley Pads Lake (video below)
1991: Heather the Leather at 40lb 8oz from Yateley Car Park Lake
1995: The Royal Forty at 40lb 8oz from Richmond Park
Interestingly, the fourth 40-pounder wasn’t named in the report in Angling Times on March 22, 1995. Instead, it was referred to as a fish from a 16-acre “Surrey” stillwater.
The report states Ritchie used “a popped-up peach and passion fruit fishmeal and birdfood boilie, fished on a fixed lead over around 25kg of free offerings which had gone into the featureless swim over a three-week period”.
It continued: “The fish took the bait in 4ft of water in bright, sunny conditions at 1.30pm. It was beaten on a 2.25lb-test-curve rod and 8lb mainline to a 20lb braided hooklength and size 4 hook, and was weighed on 50lb Reuben Heaton scales.”
Then aged 41, Ritchie told Angling Times he was already on the lookout for a fifth 40-pounder to target.
He said: “I’ve decided to try to catch a 40lb carp from the Midlands, and then I might have a crack at Wraysbury and its most famous resident, Mary – providing I’m sure she’s over the record.”
March 1995, which was when the old closed season was abolished, was clearly a good time for big carp as the facing page of Angling Times covered Tony Booker’s biggest brace in British history.
The London fireman had landed mirrors of 49lb 12oz and 48lb 8oz from “a private Hertfordshire lake”.
The report noted: “The stunning specimens fell within 60 minutes’ fishing time of each other, but because of an enforced night ban, were actually landed 12 hours apart.”
The bigger of the two fish was known as Scruffy Fin, or more famously, Chop Dorsal, and had been caught by Solar Tackle boss Martin Locke at the end of 1994 at over 50lb.