Life after The Fat Lady - plenty more fish in lakes, says owner

SHE was pursued relentlessly by anglers from up and down the country but the owner of the Fat Lady’s former stomping ground and final resting place is keen to point out there are plenty more fish in his lakes.

Anglers have reacted with sadness since news broke that one of the largest freshwater fish in Britain has finally called it a day after more than 30 years of dodging the fishing line.

The Fat Lady who at her peak, weighed in a portly 60lbs 6oz, was discovered floating on the surface of the St Ives Lakes Fishery last Monday (July 25).

The mirror carp had been caught and photographed countless times by anglers keen to add her to their list of conquests, but in the end, the recent changeable weather conditions and her age got the better of her.

Gordon Howes, owner of the St Ives Lakes Fishery that was her home, admitted her death was not totally unexpected.

“For the last six years, every phone-call I have got from an angler at 6am, I had thought that was it. Now I can concentrate with planning what I’m doing through stocking.

“At the beginning, there were a lot of fish in the lake along with her, but they all disappeared down the river.

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“I haven’t tried to stock her lake again because if I had put a lot of youngsters in, it would have caused problems.

“As far as I’m concerned, I have four lakes fully stocked with carp. It is one fish.”

The Fat Lady started gaining notoriety as her size increased. In 1994 she actually escaped from the fishery’s lake during floods and spent five years in rivers.

During that time she grew to over 40lbs making her the largest fish to ever have been caught in the River Great Ouse.

She returned to the fishery in 1999 and was crowned Britain’s biggest freshwater fish following the death of Two Tone, a 67lb carp, at a fishery in Kent last year.

Fishing forums have been flooded with tribute messages since her demise.

One user of chrisesox commented: “I’m sure she’s looking down at us from the big carp lake in the sky laughing at those who she never graced with her presence. Another truly amazing carp which I dreamed of meeting one day.”

Another user coop_northants said: “Gutted as fatty was one of me real favourites. I did have the pleasure of a good conversation with a lad who caught her and the pleasure this fish gave to all who fished for her. I know of a few people who will be gutted at the news.

“With the death of so many big fish the last two years carp fishing is turning a new chapter.”

But Mr Howes, who has spent �15,000 on the 300-acre lakes since he bought the lease three years ago, said for him the death of The Fat Lady marks a new beginning.

The lakes already boast a good head of 47lb carp and tench and bream, and Gordon is keen to introduce new cold-blood to the place.

“I’m not so much thinking of this as the end, but more like a new beginning. I can now stock the Lagoon - the former home of the Lady - with new carp brought in from elsewhere in addition to moving bigger fish which have been growing on in the different lakes from around the site.”