Legendary angling photographer Mick Rouse was on the other side of the camera as he caught four fish for an incredible 183lb 4oz at Holme Fen.
The former Angling Times and Improve Your Coarse Fishing snapper bagged three 40s and a 50 from Meadows on the two-lake Cambridgeshire site.
The quartet of mirrors weighed 40lb 8oz, 44lb, 48lb 8oz and 50lb 4oz, and were caught during a six-night stay at the open-access venue.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have a catch like that,” Mick told Carpfeed, “I was half hoping for an English 40 and I came away with four over that weight!”
Also on the lake at the same time was Andy Bailey who banked mirrors of 51lb and 55lb, plus two 40s. Sascha Welsch also caught a 55lb 12oz specimen during the same week.
Peterborough-based Mick, who retired from Angling Times two years ago, told Carpfeed: “It was the session of a lifetime.
“I was seventh out of the hat in the draw for swims and went into the Island Bay swim. It was one of the less ‘trendy’ swims but I love features and I had two gravel bars and three islands in front of me.
“I just fancied it because it was my sort of fishing.”
After a quiet first night, Mick spotted a fish roll in the featureless bay to his right and quickly cast a rig on a 1oz lead to the spot.
“All I did was cover the spot within five minutes with my rig and a PVA bag with five whole boilies. Forty minutes later I had a 40lb 8oz mirror.”
A 48lb 8oz mirror followed the next day but as the fish and anglers moved around the venue, Mick was made to wait more than 48 hours for his next bites.
Having repositioned two of his rigs on a 6ft gravel bar, Mick was awake early on the fifth day of the trip and watched as one of his rods bent round at 4am.
“It was a 44lb mirror which also picked up my other line on the gravel bar. I sunk that rod and fortunately it came over it, but I was thinking about recasting it. I decided that it probably only moved a matter of inches and was still on the spot – I’m glad I did because 40 minutes later that rod was away with the 50!”
Mick used crumbed Nash Key Cray boilies mixed with a small amount of particles. He presented 20mm Key Cray pop-ups and prototype 20mm Cultured Scopex Squid pop-ups over the top on Ronnie Rigs tied with size 6 Korda Kaptor Kurv hooks and 7ins of 25lb Korda IQ.
Andy’s fish came from the Party Point swim on a mix of PCF Relish and Coco Fruit boilies plus PCF particles.
Sascha’s fish came at 95yds in the Lookout swim on a snowman rig made with Essential Baits B5 and CC Moore Northern Special boilies.