Twenty-seven-year-old Ria Bignell has broken the record for the largest carp ever caught by a female angler in Britain, the Daily Mail reports. Bignell caught the record-breaking common carp in early June. It weighed 63 pounds, 11 ounces.
“It was humungous, I couldn’t believe the size of it. It was over half the size of me,” Bignell said of the fish, which has been nicknamed “the Big Common.”
At the time, Bignell was on a week-long fishing trip with her husband, Lee. The two were fishing at Waterside Fishery in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, which is home to two managed carp lakes that are open to the public only through exclusive bookings. (A weeknight of fishing there starts around $145, while a full week costs between $950 and $1,684, according to their website.)
Since carp tend to feed nocturnally during the summer months, the two were fishing at night when Bignell hooked the carp. She landed the fish around 2 a.m.
“I just thought it was a tiddler on my line at first because it didn’t start to swim away,” Bignell explained. “I would have expected it to take a few hours to catch a really big fish, but it only took 20 minutes for me to get it close enough to have a proper look.”
The two then photographed, measured, and weighed the big carp before releasing it into the lake. (Like most privately managed carp lakes in Britain, Waterside rules require all fish to be released.)
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“I had to have some help to lift it up so I could hold it for the photos,” Bignell said. “It felt like I had a proper workout afterwards and my arms ached for two days.”
In addition to being the heaviest carp ever caught by a female angler, Bignell’s fish was less than five pounds shy of the largest carp ever caught in Britain. According to the British Record Rod-Caught Fish Committee, which maintains a separate record book for carp and other “coarse fish,” the biggest carp of all-time was a mirror carp. That fish weighed just over 68 pounds and was caught in 2016.