When Leon Michael foul-hooked a known mid-40 early in his session at Nash’s Church Lake you could have forgiven him for thinking his luck was out.
But the 30-year-old’s resolve in returning the monster unweighed and unphotographed was rewarded as he went on to land two upper 30s and a legitimate mirror of 45lb 8oz.
Under the guidance of Jamie Clossick, Leon settled into the Cabin swim on his first trip to the Essex big-fish venue.
With two rods over bait, Leon attached a zig rig to his third and kept it moving around the swim.
He said: “After only a couple of hours, my roamer screamed and I was into a good fish. A very heavy fish put up a great battle and finally gave in, but unfortunately the hook wasn't in the mouth so it wouldn’t count.
“At mid-40 and a pb, I was gutted but was hopeful there would be more to follow.”
Leon’s prayers were answered the next morning as one of his short-range rods produced a scaly 37lb 12oz mirror known as the Beauty Queen.
He added: “The weather all day looked bang on and I knew it was only a matter of time before the same rod would go again.
“At around 5pm another take to the same rod resulted in another great battle and an even bigger fish at 38lb 8oz.
“We photographed the carp and I was just slipping her back when my middle rod erupted. This fish felt like it was on another level altogether, with powerful lunges in the deep margins.
“After a number of hairy moments I jumped into the lake to slip the net under what had to be a new pb for me.
“The scales confirmed my biggest carp at 45lb 8oz!”