40lb UK Catch: Securing My First UK Forty (Hanna Newell)!

40lb UK Catch: Securing My First UK Forty (Hanna Newell)!

In a thrilling tale of triumph, Hannah Newell (supported by Trakker), shares her exhilarating journey to landing her inaugural UK 40lb ‘er.

True to its name, this experience left me utterly astounded. My recent trip to the breathtaking Hacche Moor fishery in Devon was nothing short of remarkable. Accompanied by my husband, we embarked on this adventure alongside some of the Carp Particles UK team, eager for a bit of socializing and, more importantly, some quality angling time after enduring a lengthy summer holiday with the kids.

Departing from Oxford on a Thursday morning, anticipation and excitement filled the air as we braced ourselves for what lay ahead. We were well aware of an impending weather front, heralding heavy rain, thunderstorms, and a drop in air pressure—a perfect storm, so to speak, compounded by the harvest moon weekend. With conditions aligning so perfectly, we couldn’t help but anticipate a memorable outing.

As we neared north Devon, the skies opened up, unleashing a deluge that tested the limits of our windshield wipers. The contrast between this downpour and the sunny journey down the M5 through Bristol was stark, to say the least.

Upon our arrival at the fishery, we rendezvoused with the rest of the group and embarked on a tour of the lakes. Spread across three small, intimate pits, these waters promised exciting prospects. “Jakes Lake,” the smallest among them. It boasted a healthy population of carp, with specimens reaching up to 29lb.

The “bottom lake,” the largest of the trio, housed around 140 carp, including stunning scaley mirrors weighing up to 35lb. However, it was the “Top Lake” that truly captured my imagination, with its impressive roster of 57 carp, several weighing in the 30s, and two behemoths tipping the scales at over 40lb. Naturally, I hoped to secure a peg on this coveted lake—our chances would depend on the upcoming swim draw.

Luck was on my side as I drew the coveted number 1 ball, granting me first pick of pegs on the Top Lake. Opting for a spot at the lake’s lower end, where I had observed some promising activity earlier, I wasted no time setting up my gear. However, a minor hiccup arose—I realized my reels were devoid of line, having just acquired them. After hastily erecting our bivvy amidst the rain, I spooled up the reels and rigged up my rods, eager to get started.

The first rod was deployed near a pipe adjacent to a bed of Canadian weed, armed with a bright pink Hell Pop Up to stand out in the murky waters churned up by the inclement weather. As I prepared the second rod, I was rudely interrupted by a sudden bite on the first, highlighting a rookie oversight—I had neglected to apply putty to my Ronnie rig, jeopardizing the hookup. Despite the setback, I managed to hook a carp briefly before it escaped—a promising start amidst the challenging conditions.

As evening fell, news of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing cast a somber shadow over our idyllic surroundings. Amidst introspection, I was jolted into action by a slow, subtle take on my rod—the same one that had earlier enticed a bite.

With bated breath, Hanna Newell engaged in a cautious battle with the unseen behemoth, which initially offered little resistance. However, its sudden burst of energy transformed the encounter into a thrilling ordeal, as it darted through the underwater obstacles, testing my resolve. Eventually, I triumphed, netting the prize—a magnificent carp that would soon reveal its true magnitude.

Upon closer inspection, it became evident that I had landed the biggest fish in the lake—the legendary Bullet, weighing in at a staggering 43lb 10oz. The sheer disbelief and euphoria that engulfed me were palpable as I shared the moment with fellow anglers, capturing memories that would last a lifetime.

Following the commotion, I sat in quiet contemplation, savoring a well-deserved glass of red wine. Amidst the whirlwind of emotions, one thing was certain—this remarkable 40lb catch would forever be etched in my memory as my first UK 40lb. A testament to the unpredictability and magic of angling. ~ Hanna Newell