An angler recently caught Britain's record carp, an absolute monster fish, and do you know what he got for his feat? Death threats and slurs, that's what.
After fishing a 10-acre lake for three hours, Tom Doherty got a bite. That bite turned into a 20-minute battle that had him landing a huge UK-record carp. Now, unfortunately, that carp has brought the negativity of jealous fishermen to Doherty's doorstep.
The fish, nicknamed "Big Rig" weighed in at a whopping 70 pounds, 4 ounces. That's more than 2 pounds larger than the current Brit record of 68 pounds, 1 ounce set only this past January.
In this age of social media snark, Doherty has been on the receiving end of some rather negative accusations and even threats. Of course, many anglers were congratulatory and wished Doherty the best, but others were less than laudatory.
Some irate anglers immediately began to harshly criticize Doherty for his catch.
James Simpson wrote, "Imported carp. Means nothing. Go catch yourself a true English fish not a bloated tourist."
Carp fishing celebrity Jim Shelley wrote on his Facebook page, "Anyone putting that picture of that Wrongun on my news feed can FCUK OFF and will get BLOCKED like the rest of the wankers out there."
Dean Fletcher, whose 68-pound fish will likely be replaced by Doherty's record carp said, "People bringing big fish in, there is a lot of this going on. If you have money, you can do it. I don't want it to sound like sour grapes, but it is not my cup of tea. The record has been bought. But congratulations to Tom all the same."
This was Doherty's second trip to RH Fisheries, a pay-to-fish lake that bills itself as "the premium U.K. venue for big carp." The lake owner, Rob Hales, has received his own share of criticism. Some have accused him of bringing the fish in from France and releasing it in his lake.
Hale indicated that he purchased the record carp three years ago from a UK fish farmer, and at the time of its release into his lake, it weighed 39 pounds. "It has grown to that weight in the UK," said Hales.
"Because it was being cared for and fed in a relaxed environment, it grew to a phenomenal weight. She was going to get caught," he continued. "Some people feel it should grow naturally to that weight. The reality is, it has been legitimately caught. I wanted to do it as a sense of achievement, to grow Britain's biggest fish. It is a bona fide British record. The threats Tom has received are shocking. All the lad has done is gone and caught a fish."
Doherty indicated that the company that sponsors him, PB Fishing Products, has received more sinister threats. "There have been death threats made," he revealed.
"I don't understand the mentality of these people. I am sponsored by a couple of different companies, and certain things have been said to them. People have threatened to rape my wife and kid, even though I don't have a wife. I've not seen any threats myself, they have just gone to my sponsors, I don't know how many."
"It happened within 24 hours," he continued. "I think it is going to get worse. I have not yet claimed it as a record, it will get worse when that happens. I am keeping a low profile for the time being and hope it will blow over. I don't want it to ruin my fishing. There have been comments about the threats on my personal Facebook. My mother tells me to ignore them."
Doherty's previous personal best fish was a 44-pound behemoth.
"I don't know whether I am happy or disappointed," admitted Doherty. "The people who are outraged are the same every time contentious issues come out in carp fishing. I was expecting it, to be honest. I am not thinking about going to police unless the threats come directly at me; then I will consider it."
Paul Meehan, managing director of PB fishing products, said, "I am getting in touch with our legal team. We have had telephone calls on our business number and via social media. There have been death threats and accusations of him not being able to be left alone with children, and threats to his girlfriend and child. It is unreal, it is someone doing his hobby."
"The divide this has caused has overshadowed it. Part of me regrets catching it," admits Doherty. "All I did was cast a bait in a lake. You can only catch what is in front of you."
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