This 51lb 8oz day-ticket common left lifelong angler Hannah Kingston truly speechless.
The 24-year-old caught the fish from Birch at Old Mill Lakes in Lincolnshire in conditions so fierce her bivvy blew away soon after.
The Eric’s Angling Centre worker told Carpfeed: “I genuinely can’t put into words what it means to me. Not many people know or understand what fishing means to me and what a big part of my life it is.”
The former fisheries management student, who has caught five 30s from the venue this year, was fishing in textbook big-fish conditions with partner Adam Snowden.
Hannah said: “We were right on the end of the wind and it was brutal. The rain lasted all day and throughout the storm I noticed fish showing consistently in the area.
“Just before dark I was laying on my bed and I had a couple of bleeps. When I looked round the bobbin had pulled right up so I got out, and as I stepped out of my bivvy it dropped right back – I was in!”
The initial fight was unspectacular, but after the fish charged down the margins and then surfaced in front of Hannah she knew it wasn’t a small one.
“It was clear this wasn’t the stockie I initially thought it was. There was no mistaking that this was the Big Common, the most wanted fish in the lake!
“So, heart racing, legs shaking, I grabbed the net and after a scary few minutes it was in!
“The conditions were still horrendous and that night after catching the big common I woke up at 2.30am as my bivvy blew away in the wind and rain!”
Hannah baited heavily with Sticky Krill boilies and used slip-D rigs made with Gardner Mugga hooks and ESP Tungsten Loaded to present matching wafter hookbaits.
Hannah is clearly a gifted angler full stop.
She’s a woman, and that marks her out in a male-dominated sport, but if our inbox and what we see on social media is anything to go by then carp angling’s female population is rising.
Hannah sums up her own experiences nicely below. Whether you’re male or female, they should resonate.
“I started fishing with my dad, who has been an angler for over 40 years, when I was four years old.
“My dad ran a fishery for a long time and I grew up around fishing. While most kids were playing computer games, going out and hanging around in town or doing whatever they do, I spent all my spare time fishing or helping around the lakes.
“When I left school I studied fisheries management for three years. These days I work for one of the biggest fishing tackle retailers in the country and still spend all my spare time fishing with my partner, who also works at Eric’s.
“It might be a bit weird to a lot of people but fishing is what we enjoy doing and it’s a huge part of our day-to-day life.
“I think a lot of people see a female angler and automatically assume she just tags along with her other half and doesn’t really know what she’s doing. If they catch something its usually seen as more luck than ability.
“I know lots of women just like me who absolutely love their fishing and take it very seriously. I’m incredibly proud of the fish I’ve caught this year!”