RIP Richmond's famous Royal Forty

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and a fine piece of English carping history has joined many others in the big lake up in the sky - the Royal Forty from Richmond Park has been found dead.

The Royal Forty (given its name because of its residence in Richmond Park) was regarded by those who knew of its heritage as one of the most iconic carp to ever have lived. The passing of this great fish will be a sad loss to many carp anglers across the country, as the big mirror was steeped in carp angling history due to the calibre of high profile anglers that had the tenacity to try and outwit this Royal beast.

The Royal Forty was an obsession for those who chased and conquered this prize and was held in the arms of various carp fishing greats such as Richie Macdonald and Terry Hearn. In fact, Ritchie McDonald recently described The Royal Forty as being his “Greatest ever capture!”

“It was possibly the most eccentric and bizarre carp ever to have swam, which just added to the joys and frustrations of fishing for him” describes Dave Magalhaes, who was one of those privileged to have held the leviathan.

It was believed that the day’s-only water originally contained six carp which has only slightly increased over the years including a stocking in the early 2000s. It is by no means was it an easy water.

“The Royal Forty is amongst the most iconic fish that ever lived,” said former British record holder and Royal Forty captor, Jonny Mac. “This includes Wraysbury’s British record fish, Mary, along with Yateley Car Park’s Heather the Leather, Yateley North’s biggie, Bazil, Conningbrooke’s Two Tone and of course, the Mere’s Black Mirror. I caught all of the above apart from Bazil and The Royal Forty is no less of a fish in my album.

“The fish was an obsession in my life, an obsession that became a conquest when I was fortunate enough to bank the great fish at over 45lb on June 16th 2008. R.I.P old girl, June 16th will never be the same,” added Jonny.

Apart from the greats that fished Richmond, there was lots of controversy, myths, unexplained history and an awe surrounding the Royal Forty that made it so iconic in the carp-angling world.

The Royal’s first official capture was in 1991 on a piece of bread crust by Joe Kavanagh; an apparently unknown fish at the time which was already over the magical 40lb mark having grown on naturally.

Others believe this not to be the case. Some believe it was stocked from Barnes’ Reservoir at 23lb, and others claim that they saw this fish at low twenties in Angler’s Mail previously but there is yet to be any conclusive evidence or pictures found to back this statement. Bob James, another inspirational carp angling figure, was also rumoured to have caught this fish at low twenties in the late 60’s / early 70’s era.

The iconic carp was given a fitting burial worthy of one of Britain’s most loved carp.

With other stunning fish to be targeted, Richmond Park is available to fish on a permit basis costing £30 per rod on the day’s-only venue. Permits can be obtained to fish from the 16th June – 14th March at Holly Lodge. For more details on fishing Richmond Park, contact 0300 061 2200.