In what must have been a surreal moment, Phil Sainty was playing his new personal best when Ian Chillcott walked into his swim and offered to net it.
The 51lb 8oz mirror, which Chilly calmly scooped up, came from in-form Birch at Lincolnshire’s Old Mill Lakes on Monday morning.
It’s the second different 50-pounder the open-access lake has produced this spring, following Alex Jacques’ recent capture of a 51lb 2oz common.
Phil had already banked two fish to 33lb during an overnighter last Wednesday, and returned on Easter Sunday full of confidence.
But after a quiet start, Phil moved swims an incredible three times on Easter Monday and eventually settled in No Carp Corner.
The Sticky and Fox-backed angler told Carpfeed: “Immediately I saw a fish top out to my left in the margin, so I quickly got the rods out with my ever-faithful Sticky Manilla in small mesh bags with with bright wafters over the top.
“Again, a fish topped in the area and I just knew something was going to happen.
“Ten minutes later the rod just off the island was away and after a spirited fight this 30lb 4oz common was in the net.
“With only an hour to go I quickly put both rods down the face of the island and it didn’t take long for one of the rods to rip off again.
“While playing the fish I saw someone walking up to me and to my surprise it was the legend Ian ‘Chilly’ Chillcott! He kindly asked if he could net the fish for me, to which I replied ‘of course’!
“As the fish took its final gulp of air Chilly said ‘it’s massive’ and quickly netted it like the pro he is.
“As we both looked in the net I quickly knew it was a fish called Pitchers, so I took a quick selfie with Chilly and sent it to Mark Pitchers himself and told him what I’ve just caught.
“The fish weighed 51lb 8oz and was a new pb mirror. Chilly calmed me down in preparation for the pictures and did a great job with the camera.”