PATIENCE finally paid off for a dedicated angler who landed a monster 40lb mirror carp after tracking it down for more than a year.

Chris Sawyer could not believe its size of as he slipped it over the net after a frantic 10 minute battle before bringing it to the bank of a Barrow lake.

The 27-year-old had spent more than 200 nights over a 13-month period before finally tempting the 2ft-plus long fish, known as ‘Shoulders’, to take a red Reaper flavour boilie.

Shoulders smashed his previous best of 33lb 4oz from the same venue, but Sawyer, who has spent the past 15 years hunting for carp, will not be lured into catching the same leviathan after succeeding in his quest.

The roofer believes Shoulders is the largest carp to have been landed in Cumbria and the previous time he saw it was when his friend Kieran Garvy caught the male last July, when it then weighed in at 36lb 6oz.

During his marathon stint before catching Shoulders late last month, the North Scale angler landed a number of fish, including two weighing 25lb-plus and five 20-pounders.

He said he had been targeting the small tricky club water, with only just Shoulders in mind, adding: “After more than 200 nights, a lot of recaptures of smaller residents and a few of the A-team, I managed to hook in to one that I thought might have been the one.”

Sawyer, using three rods, had arrived at the lake delighted to see the swim he had occupied the night before was free as he had noticed a decent fish as he was about to go to work.

“I wasted no time in getting the kit around there,” he said. “I opted for my right-hander in the margin and the other two on a spot along the front of a weed bed. I scattered out a kilo of Reaper over the two rods. I settled down for the night with high hopes as I began to see shows at the back of my baited area,

“Nothing occurred on the first night as is all to often the case on this particular pond. I gave it till dinner time and wound in to do a couple of laps to try and locate my target.

“I decided to stay in the same swim so I topped up my spots with another half a kilo of Reaper and waited to see what the night would bring. Unfortunately, when I woke around 7am I’d only had a savage liner in the night, fortunately I didn’t have to wait long until my left-hand bobbin hit the rod on a slow but steady take I lifted into it and realised I was connected to a good fish.

“After a 10-minute heated battle I slipped the net under my target fish and let out the shout of Shoulders! I looked down and knew it was going to be the biggest it had been!”

The only other angler on the lake, his friend Kieran, heard and came around to assist.

“We hoisted it onto the scales and to our disbelief the needle span around to 40lb smashing my previous PB of 33lb 4oz,” said Sawyer. “To our knowledge it’s the most northern 40lb carp.”

Sawyer took up the sport as a child, testing his luck at sea fishing before moving onto carp. The 40-pounder fell to a hair-rigged bait and was landed 15lb line. He used a size four hook tied to a 20lb hook link and used a two and three-quarter pound test curve rod.

“It was a good scrap,” he said after his capture. “I was buzzing. A lot of dedication went into it, I knew it was there, I knew I was going to catch it, it wasn’t beating me. Before I netted it I saw it and I knew it was it. Then it shot off again and I thought ‘don’t come off now’.

“When I first hit it it went slow, it had loads of power and I thought ‘this is a good one’. I saw it after about five minutes and it tried to get me under a tree.

“I got it out of there, then it rolled onto the top and I saw it, and I thought this is it and then I just saw its massive shoulders coming over the cord in the net first time. It was good.

“When you get your target fish you scream the name and that’s what I did at the top of my voice, my mate heard and then he came round.”

He added: “It’s the biggest in Cumbria. There hasn’t been a 40 further north, that’s why it was so special. I have never had a fish like it. It was wide, it filled my forearms when I held it, an absolute lump.”

Sawyer next target is an even bigger carp, known at Two Scale, with the keen angler heading to Bury St Edmunds this week aiming to catch the fish which is estimated to weigh some 47lb.