UPDATE 29/11/18: Following the publication of this piece, Mark Simmonds commented on our Facebook page: “I have had communication with somebody who actually is aware of the facts and I can clarify a few points.
“1) the fish is a simmo 2) it was not the Chertsey fish. It was not caught from Chertsey.
“There you go. Just a few points to fuel the fire: I am desperately unhappy that one of our fish is a genuine British record but we will never see a photo or see its name in the record books even though it is the most genuine and youngest British fish ever.
“Well done to the angler and fair play to the owner who has created an incredible water to grow such a fish. There is little doubt Grenvilles will produce the next record Simmo and 70lb is well achievable in Grenvilles.”
In light of the above, we have no reason to believe this fish was ever a Chertsey resident. The article below (written on 28/11/18) will remain up to show the ups and downs of this narrative.
Has a Simmo broken the British carp record, is it a different fish altogether – or is the whole thing a hoax?
It’s been a busy day for the carp rumour mill so we have decided to set out the facts as they are currently known so you can judge for yourself.
At 8.35am, a post appeared from the Facebook page of Mark Simmonds’ Heather Fisheries. Mark is known as Simmo and so are the fish he has stocked into countless venues across the country.
The post, on the ‘Simmos super stockies’ page read: “Hearing a whisper of a very big fish from Chertsey. The Big Simmo that was supposed to be dead. Anyone know any more?”
Ninety minutes later, at 10.05am, another status from Mark’s page appeared. It said: “68lb 10oz boom. Three people have now confirmed it. This is a fish worthy of the British record. Born and bred in UK from parents born and bred in the UK.”
At 10.37am, Carpfeed spoke to Mark Simmonds on the phone about the fish. Asked by us whether he could name the fish, Mark told us it’s the Chertsey Fish, the one Terry Hearn had previously caught at over 50lb. The rest of Mark’s quotes can be read in our initial story.
Now, 36 hours before all this, at 4.33pm on Monday, a member of the Carp Forum website posted in a thread about another record claim: “The Chertsey fish is the record as we speak.”
This is the first public online mention of the capture that we can find.
The Chertsey Fish has certainly topped 60lb before, though public captures of the Big Simmo seem to put it at a weight of mid-30s five years ago, meaning it would have had to have made considerable, though not impossible, weight gains since then.
Since this morning, we have spoken to a number of anglers in a bid to substantiate or quash the rumours. We understand the venue is in private hands and fished by a handful of anglers who effectively guard the land.
The angler who controls fishing on the venue contacted us this afternoon. He said no fish in Chertsey are publicised anymore and that none has “been caught near that weight”, adding: “Rumours are being spread by jealous wind-up merchants who cannot gain access to the lake”.
At almost exactly the same time, another source told us that the Chertsey Fish had been caught at 68lb 10oz but the angler in question was unhappy about any publicity.
Our own view? The Chertsey Fish and the Big Simmo are certainly capable of that weight. The former has definitely been caught and reported at over 60lb before.
We fully understand anglers wanting to keep their fishing private, but once the information was public on Facebook from the most well-known fish farmer in the land we had a duty to find out more. As in this article, we have endeavoured to collate the rumours in one place and investigate them as best we can.
We are cautious over claims that jealous anglers who can’t fish the venue would demonstrate that frustration by sewing such a specific rumour, but, sadly, this is carp fishing and such things can happen. The low-key post on a thread about a different fish on the Carp Forum, 36 hours before any Facebook mention, also seems an unlikely genesis.
Finally, if you’re still with us, we have to consider whether the mirror known as the Chertsey Fish is actually a Simmo.
Mark Simmonds certainly stocked fish into Chertsey when it was run by RMC Angling, but there are suggestions that this specific fish came, via flooding or otherwise, from a lake across the road.
A discussion about its provenance can be found on this Anglers Forum (previously the Cemex/RMC forum) thread from 2011 in which one contributor connected to the venue suggests, “the fish might well have been in Chertsey in the first place and moved between the pits a bit during floods”.
Whatever the reality, are we ever likely to see photos of this reported capture, or an official record claim for any fish in Chertsey? It all seems a very, very distant prospect.