THE LEGEND OF...
THE MIGHTY SCAR
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…
MY THEORY WAS 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.
Anyway, 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!
In these photos below...you can see how the size of the fish changed over the years...
I caught it the 1st year at the lake, so 2002 at 54 lbs...then 12 years later Chris Hinton with the fish at 99 lbs!
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 he 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!
Here's Del back in 1999 (49 lbs), (1 year after he first caught what became one of the worlds most famous carp!)
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, ( all of which made it to over 60 eventually).
It's scar had looked better each time, and had started to fill out, and not appear as deep around the 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.
The Mighty Scar was caught around 80 times in 16 years, and its weights fluctuated quite dramatically due to various reasons, the most obvious being spawning.
First caught by Dirk, a German friend of mine at 55 lbs in October 2001.
Mid June 2002, caught at 65 lbs! to Danny Sherlock (although, unfortunately I was not around to witness this),
Out again in August 2002, when I caught it myself at 58.12 lbs. but up again for Adam Penning in October at 63 lbs
It was back down to 58.12 lbs in late June 2003 for Frank Warwick, but back up to 66 lbs, by October 2003.
May 2004, out at 72.08 lbs to Kyle Smith, 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 (w,r) to Nick Massey and was a new world record (w.r) at the time! But it then went on to avoided capture for the rest of the year.
2006, it made 84.08 lbs (w.r) in November to Pete Fitsimmons.
2007, the fish was 85.08 lbs in May to Bob Baker, and then kept a fairly low profile until October, when it was then caught at 89 lbs (w.r) by Paul Meredith, its biggest weight so far and again the new world record.
2008, four captures at 86.08 lbs throughout the season, then back out again in October at 91 lbs (w.r) to Andre Kormonoski........
2009 saw a repeat of that wieght of 91 lbs to Nick Greenall
The Scarred fish amaized the world again when it was caught in early June 2010, by Ambrose Smith at a weight of 99 lbs (w.r)....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.....
Ambrose Smith 99 lbs (w.r)
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.
The fish then spent a few years at stable weights of between the mid 90's to the high 80's (spawing fluctuations)...with notable captures of of 96.08 lbs by Paul Audus in 2012, and 95.08 lbs to Alan Greenwood in 2013....
..until 2014, when it hit the 99 lbs mark again twice, to anglers Chris Hinton and Scott Philips....and 98.06 lbs the following year to Cliff Crane.
It continued to make a lucky few anglers very happy through 2015 until 2017...with weights of up to 94 lbs acheived...until it died in September 2017.
SO...WHY DID IT GET 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 didn't tell it to stop!.