Four years after setting out his stall to catch the biggest fish in a low-stock Manchester park lake, Joe Lee finally slipped his net under the 46lb 12oz mirror known as Mr Angry.
He banked the impressive fish from the ultra-tough ‘MPL’ marking the perfect conclusion to a successful spring campaign during which he landed five other ‘originals’ from the 15-acre venue.
Joe, from Cheadle in Cheshire, said: “As the spring came to an end I knew it was time to start prepping the right areas for Mr Angry, a fish I’d been chasing on and off now for the past four years.
“The Sunday before the capture I was walking back to my car when I stumbled across her in the edge, milling around.
“I went home that night, formed a plan, and returned three days later and began baiting the area with hemp and Sticky Krill boilies.
“I received my first take just six hours later from a lovely old carp called the Lemon Leather at 31lb.
“Then, just as I was letting the fish go I looked up and then, ever so subtly, the big girl stuck her head out 20yds behind the spot, as if to say ‘Hello’.”
The following morning, the 27-year-old banked a small common, and the day after received an aborted take. Things then went from bad to worse for Joe.
“A couple of ‘scrotes’ came into my swim and stitched me right up.
“Two of them did the off with my distance sticks, while the other came round the side of my bivvy and stole my phone and all my cards.
“I went home in a huff, but applied more bait to the spot before I did so.
“I went back late the following day and when I cast out the lead it cracked down hard, so I knew the fish had destroyed the spot,” he said.
The next morning the fish showed in good numbers over Joe’s spot, but no bites followed. He then helped with a work party on the lake during the day, before casting out again that evening.
Before long his rod was away again.
“As I picked the rod up, I sensed that this was the moment. The fish went from weedbed to weedbed, and the adrenaline was pumping.
“As I got her near the net she kept rolling in the edge trying to shed the hook. Eventually, over the net cord she went!
“I’d landed the best fish of the north at her highest-ever weight. It was a moment I’ll simply never forget.”