The British record has been rattled by no less than three different 50lbs plus carp which incredibly came out over the same weekend. Forties are throwing themselves onto the banks at most of the big fish venues around the U.K., and some even bigger fish have been caught from faraway lands. Later on in this piece I will take a closer look at the big carp scene, and also the competition scene which is racing along now as the UK is gripped in the competition carping bug. For the meantime I will take a look at one of the newest items of tackle to hit the carp world.

Tackle Test Shimano Big Pit Baitrunner.

As continental carping gets more popular, and anglers are casting greater distances in the U.K., there has been a demand for bigger and better reels. The two big players in the reel game are of course Daiwa and Shimano. Both companies offer some stunning equipment but for a long time anglers have been requesting a baitrunner version of the larger reels. These have now been developed by Shimano and this has prompted a price war between the two giants. Daiwa haven't actually got a baitrunner reel out, but they have now cut the price of their main big pit reels and are also offering a free baitrunner conversion. As a result a lot of shops have lowered the price for their Shimano reels to compete with Daiwa. So there has never been as good an occasion as now to get yourself some new reels. Now, whilst I have not got hold of any of the Shimano reels myself, I have had a good look and play with them and they are something special. The main problem is that they seem to be so popular that rocking horse droppings are easier to get hold of. Upon initial investigation they are quite bulky but they have to be, to accommodate the massive gearing and baitrunner system that is housed in the rear body of the reel. They are however as smooth as silk to reel in, and the baitrunner facility itself is faultless and similar to the smaller Shimano Baitrunners, being located at the rear of the reel. Blue in colour, they look the part and at an average price of 164.99 per reel they won't damage the bank account too much if you want to upgrade

Worldwide News.

The news form abroad is that the Romanian super lake Raduta is producing some monsters. My best mate and fishing partner Simon Crow went out for a week and landed 20 fish up to 48lbs in size. Crowie hauled like a good one, moved a couple of times to keep up with the fish, and on the last night invited a fellow Brit, Alex Sandy Hough to share his swim. The lucky angler moved in and within a few hours had a screaming take. After an almighty battle he called to Crowie that he had landed a monster. Now Simon has seen some big fish in his time but what met him left his eyes on stalks. A 72lb common lay on the unhooking mat and that is the biggest common carp ever to be landed by a Brit. It is in fact the second biggest known common in the world after the fish called Bulldozer (75lbs) which lives at Lac de Foret D'Orient in France. Well known angler and fellow Hutchinson Dream Team member Stevie Briggs also ventured out to Raduta and took a load of fish to 44lbs. Together with his fishing partner the two intrepid heroes had 131 runs in two weeks fishing. Whilst he was there another 70lb common was caught but the honours of the trip went to a mirror of 77lb 15oz to Dutch angler Henk von Doon near to the spot where the world record fish was caught. Other big fish out are a 61.10 to Frenchman Phillippe Barabinot and a 57lb common to German angler Jurgen Becker with another 70 lb common to an unknown angler. There really are some immense fish in this Romanian lake so if you fancy a crack at the world record (currently 37.5kg) this is the place to go. I have a contact at the lake so drop me a line if you are serious about a trip but it is for very serious carpers only as the conditions are very difficult and the fishing is some of the most tricky in the world.

Carp Society News

Back home now and May/June is the time for events. The Carp Society fundraising Carpathon is scheduled to take place at the end of May and I shall report further on it next time. The idea is that 50 anglers pay 100 each to fish with 50 stars and the proceeds of the event go towards the Carp Society HQ fund. The event is full up and promises to be superb, so when next years applications come out, be sure to get in there first. Whilst it is a festival, not a competition, there is a first prize of 5000 worth of tackle to the winning angler. Following on from the Carpathon is the junior carp school where 30 lucky kids can come along to the society lake and be taught various disciplines of carp fishing. Each course lasts for 72 hours and once again the event is only open to Carp Society members. The society is providing more and more things for the members to do these days as well as fighting the political corner of the carp angler. Any self respecting carp angler should be a member, so if you are not you should firstly, be ashamed of yourselves and secondly, call the society on 01367 253959 - or hit the society page on the web to arrange membership.

British Carp Angling Championships News

The British Championships are now half way through and so far have been quite a close run thing. Of the 140 anglers that have entered the tournament a total of 18 have now qualified for a place in the grand final. There are another 6 events to go and these look set to be even more exciting than the first part of the series. I've been along to every one so far and the atmosphere amongst the lads is brilliant. Whilst there is a serious side to the contest, most of the anglers are there to enjoy themselves, and this is echoed in the pre match party at each of the eliminators. Carpworld and Carp Talk stars Tim Paisley and Simon Crow have been the most recent qualifiers winning their heat outright at the difficult Orchid Lake in Oxfordshire. The pair took 4 fish for a total weight of 78.10 to more than double the second placed team whose 30.09 mirror was enough to secure a place in the finals. Many of the places have sold out for the second part of the series, but there are a few places on some of the lakes. If you are interested in taking part in this great event then give the organisers Worldwide Angling Promotions a ring on 01705 571668.

Water Watch

Finally this month I thought I would take a look at a number of carp waters that offer the angler decent facilities as well as the chance of a few good fish. Most of the carp are in the mid double brackets but there are a few better fish up to and over the magical 20lbs barrier if you are lucky and get through the smaller fish. I have been to all of these lakes at some stage or another, and all are capable of producing a good few carp if you use the right method. At the moment the best method that seems to be taking apart most of the countries waters is the groundbait method feeder. The best ones to use are the Richworth versions and set them up using a running line and a small hook (size 8) with a short supple link of 6 inches or less. My preference is for Kryston's excellent Super Nova link in 15lb breaking strain. If you have not used this method before it can be absolutely devastating on highly stocked waters and it offers a cracking opportunity to try something different to normal boilie tactics. Here's a list of day ticket waters and contact numbers to try it out at.

Catton Park, Derbyshire. 12 acre gravel pit, easy 01283 716876

Sapphire Lake, Notts. 4 acre gravel pit, easy 01636 821131

Pool Hall, West Midlands 15 acre lake, very easy 0403 125829

Willow Park, Hants 9 acre gravel pit, easy 01252 325867

Catch 22, Norfolk 18 acre gravel pit, easy 01603 872948

Whelford, Gloucestershire 4 acre pit, easy 01285 713649

Bowmans, North London 4 acre pit, medium 01895 824455

Jimmy's, Essex 8 acre pond, medium 01375 670742

Bottom Flash, Cheshire 40 acre dammed river, medium 01606 558475

Kingsbury, Warwickshire 9 acre gravel pit, easy 01827 872660

That's all for this month but hopefully you've got plenty to go at, with the news and views enclosed. If you want any information on where or how to fish, or alternatively you are struggling to catch and would like some tips please feel free to contact me and I will deal with everything I can. I'd like to get a talk back feature within this page so anything carpy that you would like to air I would like to hear from you.

Until next month Carpe Diem. Rob Hughes