Beauty or the beast – which is it for you?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spotted a few updates from popular UK carp man, Kevin Nash, including two carp caught in Hungary weighing a massive 93 and 98lbs!! I didn’t even know that was possible!

Chris Felton 93lb carp, Hungary

98lb carp Hungary, Derek Fell

The larger of the two fish fell to Yorkshire carper, Derek Fell, with the ‘smaller’ (can I even say that?!) landed by Chris Felton from Surrey from Euro Aqua Lake in Hungary. What an unbelievable pair of fish!

Some anglers, it’s true, are happy to pack up their car and set off hundreds, it not thousands of miles in order to land a true fish of a lifetime. You have to admire them. I’ve met one angler, in fact – Tony Gibson – who fished for months targeting one or two specific monster bream at UK water, Ferry Lagoon. All credit to Tony – he landed himself a massive fish that remains to this day one of the largest bream ever caught.

Carp are perhaps the fish that brings out this ‘specimen hunter’ most regularly. Repeat captures mean that many of the fish are known and most of them have names. Anglers even target them at specific times of the year, when the season and spawning schedule will mean that they can be caught at their very heaviest. It’s extreme but it’s by no means unusual.

As Kevin Nash points out, at one time he would have counted himself among these devotees. Ten years ago, he says, he would have been down in Hungary chasing the monsters above. But his “philosophy has changed”. These days, he’d prefer to catch a pretty fish from a quieter water, than to line up with the other monster chasers in the hope of bagging the biggest fish in the lake.

Russ Kenyon, The Church

The fish shown above was caught by Russ Kenyon from a UK water known as ‘The Church’. What an absolute beauty, but it weighed about one third as much as the fish above. As Kevin points out, perhaps it begs the question: what is it inside of us that makes us want to catch the biggest possible fish? Is a 90lb Hungarian carp really more desirable than a gorgeous 20-pounder? If size is the objective, why not head to warmer climes and catch yourself a 700-pound swordfish or a marlin?


OK, maybe that’s extreme, but when it comes to carp fishing, the topic certainly divides opinion: size or beauty?

Take the fish below, for example, which was shared on Facebook by Carpcrossing.

Ugly big carp

It’s by no means pretty, but then again it weighs 83.6lb. As one of the comments says below (from Jamie Battrick):

“Looks like my mum beautiful but overweight”

The answer is, there is no answer. Some people prefer to chase huge carp on the continent while others prefer to focus on carp closer to home. As Gary Ashkettle comments on Kevin Nash’s post:

“Beautiful dark English carp, can’t beat it! I do personaly feel that the shear size of carp is getting a bit out of hand now days. Some of the lumps are beautiful creatures but others look like over bloated lumps to me but each to their own.”

Each to their own – that’s the joy of fishing. What’s more, if everyone wanted to chase record-breaking carp, you’d find a queue a mile long outside all of the waters holding the big fish. And don’t forget, English carp grow quite big too – like this fish, again caught by Russ Kenyon from the Church, weighing 39lb 4oz:

Russ Kenyon 39lb 4oz

As for me? I’m definitely not keen enough to travel to the other side of Europe for a big carp, and I’d be more than happy with these two caught by junior angler, Lewis Butler:

But I LOVE seeing pictures of these monsters, so keep up the good work lads!! If you feel strongly about this, I’d love to hear what you think. Add as many comments below as you like…

Image credits:

Swordfish image: Pinterest
Photos of Lewis Butler courtesy of Kevin Nash: 25lb mirror and 32lb fully-scaled mirror

James Green About James Green

James Green loves nothing more than casting a fly in pursuit of salmon, seatrout or, when the opportunity arises, a tailing bonefish, tarpon or permit.