Chris Connaughton had plenty of reasons to celebrate after banking his first UK 40s and breaking his personal best twice in a single session.
Fishing at the day-ticket Furzebray Carp Lakes in north Devon, the 30-year-old caught four fish in as many nights, with the two biggest pulling the scales down to 40lb 4oz and 44lb 4oz.
Arriving after work, Chris set up on the back of a strong north-westerly wind and got his rigs out despite being battered by hail, rain and gale-force winds.
On the first night he landed a 28lb zip linear, before moving swims the next day after spotting fish at the other end of the lake.
He landed a mid-double not long after, but had to wait until midnight for the lake’s heavyweights to show up.
“I had a very twitchy take, and as the bobbin fell back down and started to rise again slowly I lifted into a heavy, plodding resistance.
“After a nervy battle I soon had my first UK 40 and new pb in the net - a fish known as Star at 40lb 4oz,” said Chris.
“Still buzzing, I recast the rod and at around 2am it went again. This felt unbelievably big and every time I got it close to the bank it bolted away, stripping line, so I knew that it had to be something special.
“Eventually, as the fish rose to the surface in the light of my headtorch I noticed it was one known as Blackspot and she looked gigantic!
“On the scales she weighed 44lb 4oz, meaning that I had caught a brace of UK 40s in winter from a Devonshire venue, and broken my personal best twice in the process!
“Safe to say I didn’t sleep much after that!”
Chris caught all of his fish using homemade Sticky Manilla pop-ups on hinged stiff rigs incorporating Korda IQ fluorocarbon, size 6 J Precision hooks and 4oz inline dung leads from Lakebed Leads.
He fed around 1kg of boilies over the duration of his stay.