Shropshire Star

Record-breaking 44lb carp set for Shropshire auction in 'unique opportunity' in angling history

The preserved specimen of one of the world's most famous fish is set to fetch a whopping £40,000 at auction in Shropshire - 72 years after being caught.


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Clarrisa the carp weighed a record-breaking 44lbs when she was caught by renowned angler and author Richard Walker on September 12, 1952.

The capture is considered the single most important event in carp fishing history which paved the way for modern day angling.

Clarrisa broke the previous record by nearly 13lbs and she went on to live at ZSL London Zoo Aquarium until 1972.

Her record stood for 28 years until a fish weighing 51½ lbs was caught in 1980 at the same pond - Bernithan Pool, near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.

Now, the original skin mount of Clarrisa is set to go under the hammer at Mullock Jones Auctioneers in Shropshire with an estimate of £35,000 - £40,000.

Clarrisa the carp is for sale. Picture: Mullock Jones Auctioneers/SWNS

Ben Jones, from the auctioneers, said: "This is a unique opportunity to obtain arguably the most important preserved specimen carp.

"This extremely important example promoted the modern day carp angling movement.

"Five known cast replica copies were produced by Williams, with this being the original unique specimen.

"The capture of Clarissa the record breaking 44lb carp in 1952 propelled Richard Walker into the record books and carp fishing royalty for life."

The fish is mounted in a glazed bow fronted case, with gilt writing and border, set in a naturalistic reed and gravel setting.

Originally mounted by a taxidermist for £80, it was restored in 2011 by Barry Williams of Cannock.

Clarissa has been kept at a fishing tackle shop in Coventry, which has now decided to part with it at an auction to be held on July 24 and 25.

Walker helped create the Carp Catchers Club alongside Maurice Ingham and Denys Watkins-Pitchford to study the fish, their habits and behaviour.

He believed a 40lb carp could exist in British waters but was ridiculed by both anglers and the press at the time.

Walker caught the fish on a one inch, two-piece split cane rod he made in his garden shed.

The famous Richard Walker Mk4 was born and went on to become the cult rod for any carp traditionalist.

On that day in 1952, Walker fished with no float, knots or lead and the bait was a homemade mix of paste and bread crust.

At the time, Richard recalled his famous catch and explained: "Sometime about 9am or thereabouts the next morning I went up to big house and asked if I could use the phone.

"I rang the London Zoo and said, 'Do you want a 40-pound carp?' They said, 'We've got a 14-pound carp.'

"And then I said, 'Not a 14-pound carp - a 40-pound carp!'

"The man at the other end made some terse comments about how he did wish hoaxers would think of something better to do on a Saturday morning.

“Then I had to put it fairly bluntly. I said, 'Now look, I say this carp is over 40lb and I’ve got it here and you can have it if you like.

"If you don’t want it I’m sure Bristol Zoo would be glad to have it and they would not have so far to come.

"If you send out a vehicle and something to fetch this fish in and you find it’s a hoax - all right you’ve wasted a journey.

"But if you don’t send it out and your employers at the Zoological Society find somebody else has got the carp because you wouldn’t believe me, I think you might be in worse trouble.

"Suit yourself, but you must tell me now which it is you are going to do.

"So he said, 'I'll send for it.' About six hours later a van arrived with a tub and two obviously unbelieving people who thought it was going to be a hoax.

"They were quite surprised to find it wasn’t and drove off with the thing."