James Champkin, 3lb 9oz rudd.

“Fishing in bitter conditions, with freezing nights, flurries of snow and an icy wind resulted in this immense rudd”

A five-year campaign on a large, low-stock northern stillwater has culminated in fine style for specimen angler James Champkin, with the capture of this immense 3lb 9oz rudd.
Fishing in bitter conditions, with freezing nights, flurries of snow and an icy wind – anything but classic rudd fishing weather – James stuck it out to land what he describes as the most impressive fish he’s ever seen.
“The venue is incredibly difficult to fish, It’s remote, full of weed, and very large. With a low stock of fish, the odds are stacked against you, and it’s easily the most difficult campaign I’ve ever embarked upon. The rudd only ever feed during the hours of darkness, and even then, only for extremely short spells. I’ve been fishing here for five years and have had fish to 3lb 2oz, however a truly enormous rudd has eluded me until now.”
Due to the range at which the rudd sit, James has to employ fairly brutal tactics to catch them.
“They sit well out in the weed beds, so I target them at range using a maggot feeder and a short 5lb fluorocarbon hooklength. The hook bait is three popped-up red maggots, fished over a bed of hemp. I’d much rather catch them on the float, but you have to fish in a way that’ll produce.”
As soon as James hooked the biggest rudd, he immediately suspected it might be something special.
“It felt extremely heavy, and just plodded around all the way to the bank, occasionally shaking its head, I hooked it in darkness, and it was only when I caught a glimpse of it on the surface that I realised just how big it was. Without doubt, it was the most impressive fish I’ve ever seen on the bank – a bar of gold the size of a small carp. Simply incredible.”
James admits he felt a strange mix of emotions after weighing the fish.
“For five years I’ve fished the lake with some very mixed results, and after all the effort that’d gone into fishing it, I decided that I’d be pulling off the lake after one last crack this spring. I simply couldn’t justify the level of effort and expense for a target that had started to feel impossible.
So, to finally land a fish like that after so much effort on a freezing cold, early spring day with snow forecast the following morning, was all rather strange. I felt exhausted, after putting everything into catching that fish, but the endless hours of watching and waiting had finally paid off!”