After Monday 23rd March when the government finally said we could go fishing I was out the door in a flash! I was doing one or two nights a week at Milton, unlike some places, Milton did not exactly fish its head off. In all truth I was scratching around each trip trying to get a bite with plenty of blank trips.

Having said that, I did have a good day’s angling towards the end of May when I caught a 24.6 mirror, 41.8 mirror and a 35.2 common in the space of 15 hours.

It was mid-July when I dropped in a swim where I had caught a couple of carp from the week before up to 31lb 12oz. This trip had been pretty quiet until the last morning when there were patches of bubbles coming up over the left-hand rod. It had been happening on and off for more than an hour and the thoughts of me being turned over were going through my head, when at around 9am I had an occurrence on that rod. The bobbin pulled up tight then dropped back then pulled up tight again, a typical bream bite!

I lifted the rod and pumped in what appeared to be a small bream, with it zig zagging just under the surface as it came towards me. It was not until it was about 10 to 15 yards out that I realised the bream I was attached to was actually a crucian! I slipped it over the cord of my 44” net and lifted it onto the mat where I removed the size 4 Mugga that was fished on a Ronnie rig. I was about to slip it back when it occurred to me that it looked quite big. Wayne was down the boat house preparing his kit for a mullet trip so I phoned him and said I had a crucian in the net that looked pretty big, and asking if he had any light scales. He asked how big, surely not 4lb big? I said I am not sure. In all honesty I thought it was well over 4lb, that being the lake record which was caught last year by Turnip.

Wayne wandered up and weighed the crucian in a plastic bag and the needle spun round to 4lb 11oz. We were both a bit shocked and the fish was put back in my 44” landing net and staked out in the lake. I made an excited phone call to Staggy whilst Wayne called Martin. Both said that we needed to weigh it in a sling because it’s impossible to zero a plastic bag. Wayne returned to the boat house to get a small sling. The fish was weighed again, this time the sling was zeroed, and the scales read 4lb 11oz. By now it sank in, each time we looked at the fish it looked bigger and bigger and could potentially be a british record fish. A few more frantic phone calls were made and finally iT was me, Wayne, Sonic, Hadley and Giblet present when the fish was weighed for a 3rd time, a couple of hours after it was initially caught. The scales were zeroed again and there was no difference in the weight as the needle spun round to 4lb 11oz. Sonic took some photos, and the giant swam off into its watery home.

I was due to leave that morning and was really buzzing. It took me an age to pack up and drive home and needless to say I don’t remember much of the drive!

It did not take long for rumbles to happen on social media that a big crucian had been caught by a carp angler. Haters will always hate, so there will be no love lost there! I was transparent from the start, I was not going to try and blag that I was targeting them, plenty of big bream, tench, roach and chub and other species are caught by anglers not targeting them and I was not going to stoop that low and lie about the capture. For this the hate continued on social media saying that it should not count and the rest of it. At the end of the day you have a rig out in the pond or river and you can’t pick and choose what picks it up!

Milton has a fairly small head of around 30 to 45 crucians and the following week I ended up catching two more. As it happened, I ended up back in the same swim, that trip had been quiet too and on the second morning I noticed some bubbling on the spot I had caught the crucian from the previous week. After about 30 mins or so I watched a crucian jump clean out of the water. I reeled a rod in and flicked it out on the spot and baited up with 20 or so 16mmers. Wayne wandered down and stood in my swim and I relayed what I had seen. With that the rod rattled off, as soon as I picked it up, I knew it was another crucian. I slid the net under what looked to be another good specimen. I lifted the net onto the mat and unhooked it, staking the net out in the lake before flicking the rod back out to the spot.

As the rig landed, I turned to Wayne and as a joke, said that’s the spot I am going to catch a bigger one now! Wayne pretty much told me I am dreaming… Just not in such a polite way. I fired out 20 or so 16mmers out to the spot and had a cuppa. Before I could finish my tea I had another twitchy bite. I lifted the rod and pumped in another crucian; this one was bigger than the last but not as big as the one I had caught the week before.

Wayne grabbed another set of light scales from the boat house and we weighed the first crucian at 4lb 1oz 8dr. The second crucian was weighed at 4lb 4oz. We took some photos of the brace and let them swim off into their home. Job Done! I packed up and went home, a happy man.

For the record, the scales that we weighed the first fish were sent off and then a report was sent to the BRFC. On Friday 4th December I received a phone call from the secretary of the BRFC saying that he had some bad news as well as some good news. Go on I said, when the scales were tested they had to apply 4lb 10oz and 6dr of weight for the scales to read 4lb 11oz. So the fish would not be a new British record but would be a joint British record with the other two existing records from 2015.