A Truly Remarkable and Amazing Capture

In what can only be described as a truly remarkable and amazing capture, I recently helped 12-year-old Eamon Alwan land a 20lbs common on only his second time fishing!

However, this was unconventional in every sense of the word. The remarkable event occurred during a Junior Taster Day for Rayleigh Angling Club, which was being held at Rochford Reservoir in Essex, and I was one of the coaches. The vast majority of the kids that attended were complete novices, so ‘carp fishing’ as such was never in the equation as far as I was concerned.

During the morning session I had a couple of youngsters having great fun on the short pole, pulling out numerous roach, perch, bream and even a few eels. After lunch the next group arrived, so I baited the swim with a good helping of Mojo groundbait, hoping to lure in some of the big bream in the reservoir. The best we were hoping for was potentially a big slab of 5-6lbs which would certainly please any youngster who caught one.

As it was only Eamon’s second time fishing, I equipped him with a top-2 kit from a pole, and advised him to fish two red maggots in the margins over some of the groundbait I’d just put in. Given the species we were targeting, the pole rig I made up consisted of 3lbs line and size 18 barbless hook. After a few minutes, his float sailed under and I instructed Eamon to strike – instantly the elastic started to pull out from the top section of the pole, and I was fairly sure Eamon was into a decent bream…or so I thought!

It was pretty clear this was a solid lump he was attached to, and by the way it was fighting there was no mistaking – this was a carp. I had to help Eamon at this point – given his inexperience he’d never played a carp on the pole, so following my lead we moved the pole from one side to the other, trying to confuse the fish and prevent it from tearing out into open water. Initially I thought it was probably a small carp under 10lbs, but as the fight progressed in temperatures that were now pushing 32 degrees, not only was I sweating buckets but I was pretty sure this was no small carp now.

Minutes later my suspicions were confirmed – huge plumes of mud erupted in the margins followed by a great big paddle of a tail smacking the surface…Oh…my…GOD!! This fish was massive, and I must admit that I thought it was only a matter of time before we lost it. It charged up and down the margins again and again, until finally, it seemed to be tiring. I then decided to take a risk and put some pressure on the fish, as the longer the fight continued, the less likely we were to land it. Thankfully this paid off – the fish surfaced and we saw how truly enormous it was! It was beaten, and a gleeful Eamon slipped the net under his prize – YES!


I have to say I have never been so relieved or frankly amazed to have a fish in the net. The commotion had drawn a crowd of onlookers, so to their delight we hauled out this huge beast and placed it into the cradle. It went 20lbs on the nose – so remarkable given the set-up! Eamon wasn’t able to pick up the fish for a photo due to it’s weight, so crouching next to me we posed both bemused and elated for the numerous cameras which were now pointing our way. Once the fish was released we high-fived each other and laughed – I would certainly never forget this day and I dare say Eamon won’t either!”

Michael Salisbury
Carp Team
L2 UKCC Angling Coach

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