The power of karma, or just good angling? Either way, Mark Betteridge was left beaming after banking one of the country’s top commons just hours after going to the aid of an elderly man.
The 29-year-old caught Charlie’s Mate from Frimley at an all-time high of 54lb last night [19/11] after a fraught start to his session.
The fish, which was last caught at 48lb-plus in the summer, is a new personal best for the Browns Angling manager.
The Oxfordshire angler was making his way into Pit 3 at the Surrey fishery when he spotted “an elderly gentleman strolling in the middle of the road after a heavy weekend”.
“After making it about 20yds he fell on the floor and split his head open,” added Mark.
“I couldn’t leave him there, and about 30 minutes later he was finally back on his feet and on his way home, I hoped!”
With the light fading, Mark was halfway round the lake when he spotted someone on the other side of the fence.
“It was only the old chap again, leaning against the other side of the fence! I spent a further 15 minutes talking to him and hoping someone would come to his rescue. Thankfully two lads turned up and took him away, hopefully back to the comfort of his home!”
With his mind back on fishing, Mark opted to fish the Double Boards having seen fish bubbling in open water the previous week.
Having managed to bait up with washed-out boilies, Mark received what he assumed was a liner at 7.30pm.
“The bobbin slowly crept up and sat motionless against the blank of my rod,” he said, “As I reached the rod it slowly started to take line.”
A typical big-fish battle ensued.
“As I pulled the net towards me I was first thinking that it looked like a mid-30, but as I turned her on her side it was clear it was a big fish.”
After weighing the fish at a massive 54lb, Mark put her in the sling and another drama nearly unfolded.
“I waited next to the sling making sure she was ok, but when we got her back on the mat we noticed that one of the zips had burst open parting the teeth!
“This could have been on the way to the water or on the way to the mat, but was not worth thinking about! Imagine a 54-pounder swimming away from you, it would have not been a happy moment, to say the least!”
Reflecting on the capture, Mark added: “What an incredible moment it was, and one that I don’t think has quite sunk in.
“I’m putting it down to the good karma for helping the old chap that evening.”