Can you remember another six months when four records fell? Or a time when so many records looked vulnerable? Barbel, bream, carp and tench have all tumbled in the first half of this year. And it looks like a case of when rather than if for at least four other species. So what's going on then. Why have species which have been static for several seasons suddenly put a spurt on?

Take the tench. Ten pounders were almost unheard of two decades ago and a five was considered a specimen. Since then the record has gone up in steps and stages by five pounds - a third of the latest record's weight. If pike had increased in size by the same factor, there'd be 60 pounders swimming around somewhere (gulp). Double figure tench are now caught fairly frequently from a number of waters, so how come some members of the species have discovered a capacity to grow bigger.

The boilie boom and advances in high-protein baits of all descriptions have a lot to do with it. Carpers pioneered them but now the little designer label flavoured marbles have spread to the tench, barbel and bream fishing scenes.
The amounts going in have not only made a few bait barons rich. They've also formed a valuable addition to the diets of all four bottom feeders, and would certainly go some way to explaining the size of some of the "accidental" tench and carp caught on carp waters - like the two recent record fish, for example.

Changes in the weather are also helping some species. Milder springs and autumns are effectively extending the most active feeding and growing periods of fish like tench and carp.
Most fish get much bigger on the continent than they do here, in what is the most northernmost outpost for many species of coarse fish. So as our climate changes and becomes closer to that of middle Europe, it would seem to be sensible to expect our fish to grow on a par with theirs.

Many who fish rivers have noticed a shift in population dynamics. There are less fish about, but those which are have got bigger. Some blame cormorants, which have undoubtedly thinned out the hand-sized silver fish on many waters.
Others cite our cleaner rivers, which ironically are not the rich nurseries for coarse fish fry they once were, because the gradual departure of sewage effluent has reduced the numbers of micro organisms juvenile fish feed on. Either way the biomass has shifted, with bigger fish and less of them. Perhaps there's more food for those that survive.

So does this mean falling records are going to become commonplace in years to come? And do we all stand more chance of catching one? Probably not if you're a burbot or a walleye specialist. They're both now believed to be extinct in Britain, if you'd wondered why you've had so many blanks.

Smart money probably doesn't favour the rudd record falling either, in view of the fact the Revd EC Alston's 4lb 8oz redfin has stood since 1933. Dace aren't doing so well on many of our so-called cleaner rivers these days either, so I wouldn't go reaching for those stick floats and that centrepin. Other records are far more vulnerable, not least those which have most recently fallen. The bream are still munching like it's going out of fashion in the Norwich gravel pit the recent 18lb plus record contender came from. Who's to say they can't reach 20lb if they eat enough boilies. Ditto the tench and barbel. The latter is a slightly different scenario, of course, for the barbel in one stretch of the Great Ouse are a different kettle of fish to barbel elsewhere at the moment, with constant baiting believed to have helped them grow.

What of some other species? With the boom in trout reservoir piking it's perhaps surprising that the record has stalled at 46lb 13oz for almost 10 years.

A lot of predator specialists think the record will go this season, but then a lot of them said that last season. And probably the one before that. Zander topping 30lbs have been caught on the continent, so the current 19lb 5oz British record has to look shaky.

And what of the humble perch, once driven to the verge of extinction by disease, or ole rubber lips the chub? Both grow to whacking sizes when they find their way into commercial fisheries and carp puddles.

Then there are the rivers infested with signal crayfish, which are believed to provide both with a valuable addition to their diet. So if we've never had it so good record-wise, does it make an iota of difference. Does a bream have to be 9lbs instead of 8lbs to be considered a specimen, because the record has gone up from 16 to 18lbs? Will a pike have to be 25lbs to be considered worthy in a few years' time instead of a 20 if the record breaks the 50lb barrier?

A generation ago there was a romance about records because they were such rare events. Just about every schoolboy in the land could recite the story of Walker's Clarissa in those days.
Then again Clarissa ended up in the aquarium at London Zoo. She didn't have a circus on her case, desperately trying to ratchet up a few ounces by stuffing her full of bait and catching her between dumps.