Fantastic return to Cranwells Lake for Craig Runham!

Receiving the sad news that Britain’s biggest carp, the Parrot, had died had a bit of a silver lining for Craig Runham, as it spurred him on to return to Cranwells Lake to try to catch some of the other fish that hadn’t yet graced his net!

Having landed the big mirror at 64lb earlier this summer, Craig had avoided fishing the famous Berkshire venue in case he hooked it again, but there were still a few that he wanted to catch, and he got back amongst them again with a cracking mid-30 common, plus several others to over 30lb.

Craig, who has had a brilliant run of big fish so far this year, including the Floppy Tail Linear at 47lb 4oz, revealed: “At 6am I got a call to say that they had found the corpse of the Parrot, and opening day on the water, after the summer break, had started in the worst imaginable way! I was one of the lucky few to have had my moment with the Parrot, and I will remember it for as long as I live.

“With the passing of the Parrot my plans changed and I decided to head back to Cranwells, as there were still a few I dearly wanted to catch, and I wouldn’t be risking taking the capture of that magnificent fish away from anyone else, now that it had gone.

“It was a few weeks later that I unlocked the gate to find the lake almost empty, and the atmosphere of the place felt completely different. I stopped at the point swim as it covers a lot of water, and I was setting up a large carp pushed clear of the surface, and suddenly I was back in the zone, with the rods in place by 8pm.

“That night I landed three fish, topped by a mid-20 common, but at first light I saw a couple of big fish show in front of End Beat, and as my swim was now lifeless, and with the bloke in that peg packing up, I decided to move. By 1pm my rods were out, but the swim looked lifeless and the lake had now filled up so I couldn’t even move!

“I was fishing all three rods on soft hinge rigs baited a critically balanced Key Bait Solutions Maxinut pop-up, and fished over a mixture of different sized boilies – I’m super-confident in this set-up, given the season that I’ve been having on it.

“As the sun broke through the mist a large carp crashed close to my right-hand rod, followed by another three shows, and then at 9.30am, just as I was beginning to worry that the rig might not be fishing effectively, I had a slow take and all hell broke loose 100 yards out.

“The fight was typical of a big fish, and a large tail slapped the water over the shallows and I could see that it was a long one. I was just praying that my size 6 Choddy hook was well imbedded as it went on a series of powerful runs. My thought shad turned to the Long Common – a target of mine – and my knees were trembling as it twisted in the margins, with the scales of a big common illuminated by the rays of the morning sun.

“As I netted it I could see that it wasn’t my target, but was a fish that I recognised as having come out at 39lb – it was slightly down in weight after spawning, at 34lb 12oz. I’d just secured the net when the middle rod was away, with line being stripped from a tight clutch.

“I was attached to another angry fish, which found sanctuary in some weed, but after a few minutes of gentle persuasion I got it moving and it came towards me easily, which made me think that it might have shed the hook. But then I noticed a tail and a patch of common scales sticking out of the weed, and luckily I had two nets with me and was able to engulf it with the second one.

“As I ripped back the weed I could see that it was another good common, of around 30lb, and luckily Kevin Wright had seen what was going on and came to lend a hand, as my swim resembled a bomb site! I ended the session with a low-20 mirror before heading home a very happy man!”