THE SCARRED FISH
HOW DID IT GET THE SCAR..?
Well, the scar around the middle of the fish came from a nylon rope we assume had been tied around it, much earlier in its life. Exactly why someone done this we will never know, and can only presume.
I say tied around…but of course there always remains the possibility that the fish obtained the rope another way, as before I arrived, the lake was full of allsorts of discarded materials from the previous owner, buoy’s on weights, plastic netting, etc, and plenty of the 10mm Nylon multi strand rope that was the same as the stuff that was actually found around the fish.
But I have spent a fair bit of time thinking about it all, and for me the most logical theory is that it was tied by someone…
Lou Savage with the mighty Scar at 91 lbs
MY THEORY IS THIS...
As you may know, my house sits right on the banks of the lake. Well, my house was once a restaurant, which was the main attraction on the lake, which back then was run as a “lido” type, public recreation area, with swimming, pedalo’s, donkey rides…the lot, and was all run by a profit drinking French fella called Michel.
Michel run the restaurant for about 12 years, before I took over the place in October 2001, and did not really let many people fish here, as he was more interested in his restaurant, and exploiting the various aquatic activities he had installed at the site.
So basically, apart from the absolute necessary maintenance to keep his interests functioning, the lake itself was left alone angling wise, excluding only his last 2 years here, which I’ll explain in a moment.
But one thing the restaurant owner did do though, was to feed the ducks every day with the old bread from the restaurant, from the previous day. Two to three sacks each day used to be launched in, in front of the restaurant in what was almost like a daily ritual before he started his shift!... now you would think eventually he would have surely ordered less bread wouldn’t you… but no.
Any way, the Carp of the lake were soon onto this, and joined the ducks every day for the bread fest which had obviously been going on for years.
I actually witnessed this during a session I fished before the lake was mine, it was unreal, it was like the Carp were almost trained to show up as soon as the ducks started attacking the bread, and would then chase all the ducks off, before they started to inhale the floating baguettes and croissants in a feeding frenzy.
Now, as you can imagine, the carp would have been relatively easy to catch on bread back then as a result of this.
I believe that Michel, or one of his friends, who were definitely not anglers I must add, probably caught the fish one day, whilst messing around with a rod and the floating bread. The fish was then tied up, using the nylon rope to attach it to a tree or something, and they probably dragged it out each day to show their friends. You know the sort of behaviour…every time you go into a French tackle shop, there are always photo’s of fish hanging up outside, or sprawled across the paving slabs or something.
Fortunately, the fish must have worn through the piece of rope attaching it to the tree as a result of it's efforts to escape…it must have done, because if it didn’t, it would have surely died!
So, this left the fish swimming around with a tightly tied loop of rope around its middle, which it could obviously not remove itself.
As the years passed, the loop of rope stayed the same size, but the fish continued to grow. The skin eventually began to grow over the rope on the flanks of the fish, and the rope only remained exposed where it passed over the back, and across the underside of the fish.
Now carp are blessed with very strong survival instincts, and are a hardy species. They are able to survive in low oxygen conditions when other fish would die, they can recover from heavy parasite infections that would kill most other species, they can survive years of angling pressure and abuse and recover from all sorts of serious injuries sometimes.
Survival instincts! it’s probably what kicked into gear with the Scarred fish.
Stressed out and retained, then stuck with this nylon rope around it for years. Its instincts told it to feed, the only thing it could do to try and heal its self... A switch was turned on and told it to eat..and keep eating... eat to survive, so it did!
Now that brings us to the next part, the first known capture of the Scarred fish back in 1998, by UK angler, Derek Dransfield.
Derek had arranged the fishing rights, with the restaurant owner, before I obtained the lake, and fished here with a few of his friends for the best part of 2 years.
Derek told me the story himself, of when he had caught the fish with the rope still on it, and how it had been well covered by the new skin growth by this time. He had a few pictures of the capture, which I would like to see again, as my memories of these pictures are very sketchy now.
The exact weight of the fish at this time was not recorded, as Derek cut the rope from the fish as carefully as he could, treated the wound, and released it hoping for the best, although he told me he didn’t think it would survive at the time, and estimated its weight in the region of 40 lbs.
The wound the fish was left with was incredible, 8 centimetre deep gashes in places, where the rope had been buried under the skin. It must have looked like chainsaw injury!
So we owe a big thanks to Del for doing what he did! That’s a fact.
Unfortunately, Del passed away in 2002.
After its rescue, the following season it was Derek that caught it again, at a weight of 49 lbs! which I now have video footage of thanks to his family, and the wound had sealed and scarred over very well. The fish had survived, and was putting on weight too!
Derek and his friends fished the lake for about two years or so as I mentioned earlier, before I came here in 2001, and they had in fact between them caught the fish several times during this period. It weighed 54.08 lbs on its last capture to Derek’s team before I arrived, and was the biggest fish they had caught from the lake, and the only fish over 50 lbs at the time. They had also recorded 11 different 40+ fish at this stage, (most of which are now over 60).
Its scar had looked better each time, and had started to fill out, and not appear as deep around its sides, but was still very prominent across the dorsal and ventral views of the fish.
As early as the end of my first season at the lake, 2002, I had noticed the Scarred fish and several others in the lake had started to gain weight, and fast! The fish were leaping in size, gains of up to 10 lbs in a single season were recorded, and then similar gains the following season.
They were responding well to the slight changes we had made to their environment when I arrived, to encourage more natural foods, and also to the additional feeding programme introduced at the time to subsidize the seemingly low naturals available in the lake back then.
As soon as I had acquired the lake, I had contacted my good friend Keith Wesley, of Bedwell fishery services back in England, to contribute some of his 30+ years professional experience to help form a comprehensive fishery plan, including a feeding programme, and which also included slight environmental adjustments to the lake its self.
Since I arrived here in October 2001, and until the date of writing this, the Scarred fish has reached its highest weight so far of 89 lbs, Paul Meredith, 15 Oct 2007.
The mighty Scar, (Oct 2008) at 91 lbs (w.r)...by Andre Komornicki........ and again at 91 lbs, this time for Nick Greenall in April 2009.
It has been caught around 25+ times in 8 years, and its weights have fluctuated quite dramatically due to various reasons, the most obvious being spawning.
Below is a list of dates and weights, not all of them, but enough to give you all an idea of its progress at the lake since I arrived here.
So, last caught by Del’s boys at 54.08 lbs, spring time 2001.
(after my arrival)
First caught by Dirk, a German friend of mine at 55lbs in October 2001.
Mid June 2002, caught at 65 lbs! (although, unfortunately I was not around to witness this),
Out again in August 2002, when I caught it myself at 58.12 lbs.
Then out again in October 2002, at 63 lbs.
It was back down to 58.12 in late June 2003, but back up to 66 lbs, by October 2003.
May 2004, out at 72.08, and was out a few times that season at low 70’s, the last one being September 2004.
Next time it was caught was in May 2005, it weighed 83 lbs, and was a new world record at the time! But it then went on to avoided capture for the rest of the year.
2006, out twice at over 82 lbs in the spring, then several times at low 70’s after spawning, the last one at that sort of weight in early September.
Then, out of the blue, 84.08 lbs, on the 3 November 2006. Massive weight for the time of year, breaking the world record again.
Good percentage of gained weight too, as it had successfully spawned earlier in the spring.
2007, the fish was 85.08 in May, and then kept a fairly low profile until September, when it was then caught at 87.08 lbs. Then out twice in October, but only weighed the second time, and it weighed in at 89 lbs, its biggest weight so far. (Oct 2007) and again the new world record.
2008, first capture for this year at 86.08 in May, then back out again in early June at just over 87 lbs....... to be continued
SO...WHY HAS IT GOT SO BIG THEN.?
I believe this has a lot to do with an individual fishes metabolism first of all, not all carp are capable of becoming as big even with access to easy to find high protien nutrition, but every now and then, one does... the shoot fish, grows twice as fast, and much bigger than the other fish of it’s year, and I think it’s safe to say that the Scarred fish could be one of these.
But! In the case of the Scarred fish, you should back track in the story to the part with the rope, when the instinct switch was turned on… Its survival instincts told it to feed, feed to survive….They just haven’t told it to stop yet, and probably never will.
LATEST NEWS !!.................
The Scarred fish amaized the world again when it was caught in early June 2010, by Ambrose Smith at a weight of 99 lbs!....a capture that caused much speculation and doubt amongst the worlds carp fishing community as unfortunatley Ambrose only had his family members to witness the capture.....
3 weeks later...Confirmed!...with a second capture of the fish at the slightly lower wieght of 97.08 lbs, this time by John Bryan, and with 7 other people including myself to witness the catch.
Ambrose Smith with the Scar at 99 lbs June 2010. John Bryan with the fish again at 97.08 lbs, June 2010.
List of captures over 70 lbs;
91 lbs Dave Durham Nov 2010
95 lbs Dave Ellis Sept 2010
97.08 lbs John Bryan June 2010
99 lbs Ambrose Smith June 2010
91 lbs Lou Savage
91 lbs John Harding
91 lbs Nick Greenall previous world record April 2009
91 lbs Andre Komornicki p.w.r Oct 2008
90 lbs Dean Hingley
89.08 lbs Kevin Holloway
89 lbs Paul Meredith (p.w.r)
88.08 lbs Stuart Arkell
87+ Steve Humby
87+ Steve Brown.
87.08 Mick cooper
86.08 Jordan Wesley
86 lbs Jed Farell
85.08 Bob Baker
84.08 Pete Fitzsimmons p.w.r Nov 2006
83 lbs Nick Massey p.w.r May 2005
82.12 lbs Keith Wesley
82+ lbs Bill Cottam
72+ lbs Darren Conway
72 lbs Kyle Smith
71.12 lbs Phil Agget
71.10 lbs Lee Loughlin
71.08 lbs Andy Talbot
71.08 lbs Kevin Cooper
71.08 lbs John Bryan
69.14 lbs Colin McNeil (ooh…just one more boilie mate)
The fish is called the Scar or Scarred fish, obviously because of its massive scar, although it has been referred by other names in the past… Del used to call it Peter in the early days, (after Mr Stringfellow).
Attempts to name it were made by some of the mags, such as “cut n shut” and “the fish of two halfs” but they didn’t stick really. I reckon scar, or the scarred fish, are better names, if it really has to have one that is !
I was going to call every fish in the lake “Dave” in the beginning…but then was advised not too!
The recent capture of the fish (Paul Meredith 89 lbs) was quite a surprise at the time, for me any way, 1st of all the fact it had slipped up again so soon after the previous capture, when it tends to go off and sulk usually. Then 2nd, was the weight… It had been out in September at 87+, which is already an outstanding weight for it and all time high, and I was not expecting to see it any higher to be honest, but then 2 lbs heavier just month later.
There are no real patterns to the captures of the Scarred fish to be honest… it has been caught and spotted in all areas of the lake, and caught at all times of the year, both day and night.
One year it came out 7 times! It had clearly spawned very well, and was down to low 70’s in weight, fit as a fiddle, and happily feeding away all season.
These repeat captures when they occur like this, which are not very common, are obviously not perfect at a first glance of the situation, but as long as the fish are handled in a certain way, and not retained from the water for more than a few minutes, then the whole experience would not bother them in the slightest! But the time factor and manor in which they are handled are essential.
DO I BELIEVE THE FISH WILL MAKE 100 LBS..?
“Well who knows, I would not mind if it didn’t get any bigger, or if it even went down a bit to be honest, if it meant the fish would be around for longer.
As you may be aware by now, I’m not really concerned about world records and all that. I never set out with that in mind for this place, it’s the fish its self that has done that.
We will have to see, I know its exciting for some this new ground we are entering, with our ideas of the optimum sizes of Carp being continuously adjusted.
Another half a pack of bait and it will be a 90! Then we will take it from there I suppose, personally, my priority is that it remains healthy and happy for as long as possible.”
Above: Del Dransfield with the Scar at around 50 lbs, back in 2000.
Below: Mick Cooper with the fish at 87.08 lbs, in September 2007