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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Fat Lady sings for the last time: Anglers mourn as Britain's largest freshwater fish is found dead

By Daily Mail Reporter

Farewell to the Fat Lady: Anglers would make pilgrimages to the Fatty's Point in an attempt to land the colossal carp

The fat lady has sung for Britain's biggest freshwater fish after she was found dead in her lake.

The demise of the heavyweight carp, nicknamed The Fat Lady due to her plump belly and greedy appetite, has sent anglers into mourning.

The mighty mirror carp weighed a whopping 61lbs 6ozs and was well over 30 years old.

She was discovered floating on the surface close to her bank or 'swim', that was dubbed Fatty's Point in her honour, yesterday morning.

Fishery boss Gordon Howes believes the inconsistent British weather caused the premature death of the hugely sought-after fish.

The recent mix of hot and cold conditions meant the female fish aborted spawning several times and the stress is thought to have brought about her untimely end.

The Fat Lady - who had been caught and set free dozens of times in her lifetime - has now been buried next to her bank.

Anglers used to travel from around the country to her home at St Ives Lakes, Cambridgeshire, in a bid to land the fish, which became an object of obsession for many.

Prize catch: The Fat Lady, known for her plump belly, was regarded as easy to catch because she always went for the bait

She had only taken over the mantle of Britain's biggest freshwater fish a year ago following the death of the legendary 67lbs Two Tone at a fishery in Kent.

The Fat Lady's death has led to anglers flooding fishing forums with tribute messages.

One poster wrote 'RIP old girl', while another angler said: 'Was a privilege to fish for her.'

Simon Giblin, 35, from Harlow, Essex, spent about 900 nights over a seven year period trying to land the beast before he caught her two years ago.

The marine engineer said: 'It took me seven years to catch her and I was completely elated and shattered when I did.

'It became an obsession for me because I wasn't going to stop until I had caught her and I reckon many other anglers were in the same boat as me.

'A big part of the attraction was her sheer size but she was a good-looking fish as well.

'I am gutted that she has died - it's like losing a close friend.'

Fishery owner Mr Howes, 41, said he felt sorry for the scores of anglers who will never get a chance to catch The Fat Lady.

He said: 'I got a call from an angler who saw a dead fish on the water. He managed to get a line around it and drag it in.

'At first I thought it might have been another fish because I saw one the other day that was spawn-bound but sadly I was wrong.

'It is sad and I feel sorry for a lot of the guys who have been coming here for so long and haven't caught her.

'People used to say she was the easiest fish to catch but the hardest to predict.

'You never knew where she might be in the lake but because she was a big fat greedy thing she would go for bait if you found her.

'I have buried her in hard ground just behind the swim that is called Fatty's Point.

I've put some slabs and hardcore down so that the foxes don't dig her up.'

Mr Howes said he was now concerned for the future of his 300 acre fishery because The Fat Lady was such a big draw.

He said: 'I also feel sorry for myself because I'm not sure what will happen to the complex now.

'The vast majority of anglers came here for her. But we have got nine lakes with plenty of carp weighing over 40lbs in.'

The Fat Lady is the fourth well-known monster carp to die in the last two years.

In 2009 Benson, a common carp weighing 64lbs 2ozs, was found dead at a fishery near Peterborough.

And last year Heather the Leather carp died aged about 50 at Yateley, Hants, having gained a top weight of 52lbs. Her death was soon followed by Two Tone.

The current world carp record stands at 99lbs and was caught by British angler Ambrose Smith at a lake in Dijon, France, in June 2009.



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