Watching a big carp take your hookbait is a heart-racing experience, but when it’s the British-record fish the nerves must be barely imaginable.
That’s what Craig Runham experienced as he watched from up a tree as the Parrot picked up his margin-placed hookbait and tore off.
The 64lb Wasing Estate mirror, which set the official record at 68lb 1oz last year, came just a week after the Berkshire angler caught the Floppy Tail Linear at 47lb 4oz from the same venue.
Having primed a close-in spot in the Lifebuoy swim Craig waded out his hookbait and watched from the branches of a nearby tree as the fish of his dreams moved in.
“The Parrot was tail up, troughing my bait like it was going out of fashion,” said the 31-year-old.
“I could see the giant carp sifting silt out from its gills as it sampled the pellet. My knees were knocking and my mouth was bone dry – this could be it!
“Suddenly I heard a few bleeps from the alarm. I could see the bobbin at the blank but it was not moving. I could see the Parrot and it was still feeding. I didn't know what was going on!
“The Parrot was still stuffing its face, making the most of the buffet of goodies. After 30 more of the longest seconds ever I watched him rise in the water, shake his head and bolt off following the scream of the Delkim.
“I fell out of the tree, landing with a thump on the floor. The bobbin was wedged into the alarm and the tight clutch was ticking line.
“I picked up the rod and a massive bow wave picked up pace across the shallows. I was simply bricking it as I piled on pressure to stop it from getting in the weed too much.”
Craig managed to turn the giant mirror but still had to cope with its trick of boring head first into the lakebed to shake the hook.
“After a few more nervous moments it bobbed up on the surface like a cork,” said the Korda-backed angler.
“I simply fell apart as I slid the net out praying for the carp gods to shine down on me. The width of the fish as I lifted the net had to be seen to be believed. The moment it was over the cord I screamed out ‘PARROT!’.”
After 32 nights on Cranwells Lake and 56 carp, Craig had the one he wanted. “It's hard to take in, if I'm honest, I'm still on cloud nine.”
Craig is a talented angler who has caught from many top venues, but this is the fish he really wanted. To achieve it in just 32 nights makes it even more special. He turned up for this weekend session straight from a nightshift that ended at 2am. That type of dedication is often what sets some anglers apart.
RIG AND BAIT
- Hinged stiff rig
- Hookbait: Key Bait Solutions Maxinut pop-up
- Loosefeed: 1kg of mixed-size Maxinut boilies, plus hemp, pellets and crushed tigers
- Hooklink: 30lb Korda Boom and 25lb Korda Mouth Trap
- Hook: Size 6 Korda Choddy
- Lead: 2.5oz on Korda Heli Safe system