Craig Runham lands the Parrot to smash his PB!

After coming close to catching the British record carp known as the Parrot, Craig Runham finally achieved his dream when he landed it at 64lb, smashing his PB in the process!

On his last trip to Cranwells Lake, on the Wasing Estate, he had seen the big mirror close to his baited area, but then conditions changed and he had to move swim to stay on the fish, resulting in one of his other targets – the Floppy Tail Linear at 47lb 4oz.

Craig had been trickling a bit of bait in on a spot close in, where he had seen the big ‘un the previous weekend, and when he went for a look a few days later he could see that it had definitely been fed on and knew that he was getting closer to his target.

He revealed: “I had felt close to catching the Parrot the day before I moved swim and caught Floppy Tail, and I knew that the rigs and bait were working so it was just a matter of finding him, or so I hoped!

“After a night shift I decided to go for a mooch round as the weather was good and I prepped a bucket of bait to take with me, so that I could top up the clear spot near to where I had seen it at the weekend. This spot was in a swim known as the Life Buoy and I could bait it by hand, and also lower a rig in should I see anything.

“Luckily the swim was free and once I climbed a tree I could see that the weed had been pushed away and the stones were standing out like a beacon. I got down and grabbed some waders, and deposited five kilos of chopped Key Bait Solutions Maxinut boilies and the same amount of Hinders Elips pellets onto the area. As I was rinsing out the bucket, something caught my eye 20 yards out, so I climbed back up the tree and suddenly a dark shape glided across a sandy patch, and once again I was looking at the Parrot!

“I couldn’t get down until the Saturday and when I arrived it was busy once again, and I could see a car behind the Life Buoy. I could see that the angler was fishing at range so I had a quick look from up the tree and could see fish, and the spot that I’d baited looked even bigger now. Then I glanced further out and there he was again, and my legs began to shake as he neared my spot – I was gagging to get a rod in position!

“The angler in the swim eventually packed up and I managed to get in there around 1pm, and soon had two soft hinge rigs on a couple of spots further out, along with a stiff hinge on the spot that I had baited. I’d placed the close in rod on the edge of the spot just off of some light weed, using my chesties, and baited with a kilo of boilies, plus a few handfuls of hemp, pellets and crushed tigers.

“After ten minutes I decided to get up the tree for a look and could make out a dark shape, which I expected to be one of the small commons, but when I got higher I could see a giant carp sifting silt through its gills – the Parrot was tail up and troughing my bait!

“My knees were knocking and my mouth was bone dry, and then suddenly I had a few bleeps and I could see the bobbin against the blank but not moving, as the Parrot continued to feed. After 30 of the longest seconds I’ve ever experienced it finally rose up in the water shaking its head and then bolted off as the Delkim screamed.

“I fell out of the tree and picked up the rod as a massive bow-wave picked up pace across the shallows, and I had to pile on pressure to stop him from getting into too much weed. It worked and I soon had it heading my way, and then a large tail began slapping the surface as it head-butted the bottom to try and dislodge the hook.

“After a few more moments it bobbed to the surface like a cork and I simply fell apart as I slid the net out and prayed to the carp gods, and then as it went over the cord I lifted the net and screamed ‘PARROT’!

“People had heard the shout and I soon had a crowd as we weighed and photographed it. I felt truly honoured to hold a carp of such epic proportions and the biggest fish in the country was mine.

“I’d spent 32 nights on the lake and had landed 56 carp before the Parrot took my bait. I’d like to thank Dean Gilbert, Carl Dance and Mike Patric for some wicked shots of it,” he added.

Craig landed the Parrot using a size 6 Choddy hook to 25lb Mouth Trap and 25lb Boom, with a Heli-Safe System to which he attached a 2.5oz Heli Lead, with 20lb Touchdown main line.