Anglers and children around the country are mourning the loss of Benson, the 25-year-old common carp who passed away in the Kingfisher Lake near Peterborough on Wednesday (29 July).
Anglers and children around the country are mourning the loss of Benson, the 25-year-old common carp who passed away in the Kingfisher Lake near Peterborough on Wednesday (29 July).Weighing in at 64lbs, Benson – the monster oily freshwater fish – captured the hearts of thousands for being the country's most famous fish.
Anglers worldwide have spent more than seven years trying to catch Benson – who weighs the equivalent of a large dog – since he was introduced into the Bluebell Lakes complex at Tansor, near Oundle, during their first carp stocking in 1994, weighing in at just 24.5lbs.
Benson, who was once voted Britain's Favourite Carp, arrived at the lakes with her mate Hedges but they were later separated when Hedges swam off into the River Nene.
Update: First the ET, then The Times, Benson the carp is big news, 5 August 2009.
Something fishy about death
MYSTERY surrounds the death of Benson who was found floating on the lake by anglers on Wednesday.
Owner of Bluebell Lakes Tony Bridgefoot believes the fish was killed after a number of tiger nuts (a type of fishing bait) were found close to the lakes.
Mr Bridgefoot said: "Tiger nuts are strictly prohibited from Bluebell Lakes because the fish can't digest them.
"Benson is being sent for an necropsy (autopsy) because it is believed he swallowed a number of the nuts.
"A full investigation will then take place in to the circumstances surrounding her death."
Magazine editor 'gutted'
Peterborough angler Steve Broad described the moment he caught Benson as "unbelievable".
Broad (41), editor of UK Carp Magazine, caught Benson in November 2007 after 23 months of dedicated fishing.
Steve spent four nights every week sitting by the Kingfisher Lake but was delighted when he finally took the bait.
He said: "Benson was 57.13lbs when I caught him. It was like holding a sack of potatoes, it was just unbelievable.
"Benson was a fish that was avail- able to everyone, he wasn't in an exclusive syndicate, which made him appealing to fishermen nationwide."
Since then Benson has grown to a staggering 64lbs and been caught by more than 60 anglers across the world.
He has also brought fame to her home at Bluebell Lakes and to himself – for being the most famous fish in the country.
Owner of Bluebell Lakes Tony Bridgefoot said: "Benson was the biggest common carp in the country and I certainly believe him to be the most famous.
"We think he was aged between 20 and 25 but most carps live well into their 30s.
"Benson was found on Wednesday by some of the anglers in Kingfisher Lake. We are all still trying to come to terms with her death and get our heads around what has happened.
"We need to decide whether we are going to replace him with another carp. It is still early days.
"Benson had that celebrity status. He was a stunning fish. I can't stress how famous he was in the angling world. All fisherman wanted to catch him.
"I know of anglers spending up to seven years trying. But he was also popular with the children.
"He will certainly leave a legacy."
Angling correspondent for The Evening Telegraph Ken Wade added: "It is a terrible shame to hear of her death, Benson was fantastic and one of the few record breakers that can be fished. He was phenomenal."
Scores of anglers from across the country voiced their sadness at Benson's death on about six angling Internet forums.
Ray lands record-breaking 61 lb monster carp, 7 November 2007.
More about Bluebell Lakes - http://www.fisheries.co.uk/bluebell/index.htm