Jo Green, a landscape gardener and angling fanatic from Reading, England, has set a new world record for the largest carp caught by a woman. During an April 23 trip to the Graviers, in Dijon, France, Green landed an 84-pound carp known to local anglers as The Brown One, shattering the previous record for a female angler by 12 pounds. Green, 36, says, for her, carp are "an obsession, really," and those who know her are not a bit surprised the record is now hers. "She's probably the most successful lady carp angler ever," says Mark McKenna of Baitcraft, one of the leading British bait-makers.
Green fishes four nights a week at home, and dedicates five to six weeks per year fishing outside of England. She’s made fishing trips to Texas, Australia, Canada and Morocco, where she spent three weeks chasing carp over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. She’s planning a trip to Thailand this summer to fish for red-tailed catfish and Siamese carp. “I can only declare that it’s an obsession,” she says. “For me, holiday is always a fishing trip, never a beach.”
Last season, Green caught around a dozen carp at or above the 40- to 50-pound range that she says British anglers consider trophy size. In 11 seasons of fishing, she’s caught more than 100 trophy carp. This stunning mirror carp was just one of many fish she won from the waters of Morocco’s Lac Bin el Ouidane.
Though she’s thrilled to have earned world-record standing, Green says it’s not necessarily about weight for her. “It’s not always about the biggest fish in the pond; I have a tendency to like the, what we call, ‘the pretty fish,’ if there’s such a thing as a pretty carp. To us there is.”
She knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. “It’s totally different to the way Americans look at carp,” Green says. “To Americans they are pests.” She has made three trips to the U.S. to fish for carp, and particularly enjoyed catching buffalo carp in Texas, where she fished Lake Austin and Lake Fork.
The carp’s standing in England and Europe is quite different than in America, she says. “It’s very bizarre, but with continental anglers carp fishing is quite a big thing. They give certain fish names. Like there’s one in the local lake I fish here called Hercules, purely because he fights like mad when he’s on the rod. He’s very bad tempered and he’s a big fish.” This carp, known to locals as Harpo, came from Horton Church Lake, Green’s home water, on June 1, 2011.
On April 23, Green and her partner, Mike Whitford, 45, headed to The Graviers, a set of two private lakes in Dijon, France owned by Luke Moffatt. They were fishing the 25-acre main lake, camped on the shore. “It was 4:00 in the morning when the bite alarm screamed off, and I shot out of bed, out of what we call the bivvy, and hit the rod,” Green recounts. “Within a few seconds I realized it was one of the biggies in the lake.”
The Graviers is managed especially for carp fishing, and the men’s world record–a 99-pound fish known as The Scar–swims there yet.
It took Green about 45 minutes to land the carp locals call The Brown One. “As soon as I got some line in on the reel, it took more line. It wasn’t about to give up easily,” Green says. “It was a very long battle with a very angry fish.”
When the anglers had arrived at the lake a couple of days earlier, they chatted with Moffatt over a cup of tea about which fish had “been out”–or caught and released–recently. “The Brown Fish was the first to be mentioned, having been out two weeks ago, so, laughing, we all ruled out catching that one,” Green recalls. Now, looking at the massive carp sprawled in their net, they decided it might be a fish called The Inflatable.
Moffatt soon arrived with a set of scales to weigh the fish, and identified it as The Brown One. “I couldn’t believe it,” Green says. “Only 36 hours in and I had banked the Brown fish, and she weighed a colossal 84 pounds, only six pounds lighter than me!” “I was shocked. Very shocked. It took me three days before I picked up a rod again. I was trying to come to terms with what I’d done. Without a doubt it will stay with me forever; the memory will never go.”
While Jo pondered, Mike kept fishing, banking three 40-pounders and two 60 pounders–including this 62.03, a new personal best.
“We fish side-by-side quite happily; there’s no competition at all,” Green says. “When we went to the lake our plan was to beat our personal bests, and Mike wanted a 50. So he was quite happy with his two 60s.”
Green is no stranger to world-class fish and the attention they generate. In October 2010, on a trip to the Fraser River in British Columbia, she caught this 340-pound, 8′ 5″ sturgeon. After a 90 minute battle in which the massive fish launched itself out of the water four times, Green had landed what was reputed to be the largest freshwater fish ever caught by a female angler.
Green did not register the fish with the Guinness Book of World Records, so its record status was never officially validated–although it was widely recognized as a record in the British media. “In England, it’s all recorded by the fishing media here, and it all gets sorted out that way,” Green says. Her carp catch has been submitted to Guinness.
In addition to sturgeon, Green also fishes often for catfish. This one came out of the Horton Boat Pool in May 2011.
Her trips to Texas have even occasioned some epic fights with largemouth bass, including this 7-pounder from Lake Austin.
But in the end, it’s the carp that has captured her heart. “I just love carp,” she says. “They’re beautiful fish.”
Even though beauty trumps size, in her book, she’ll keep chasing the biggies–including The Scar. “I guess she’s the only one left,” Green says. “They’re thinking she may be well above 100 pounds by now, especially if she comes out pre-spawn. I’d like to say I don’t have my eye on her, but yes, yes. It’s definitely one of the targets for the future.”
Jo Green, a landscape gardener and angling fanatic from Reading, England, has set a new world record for the largest carp caught by a woman. During an April 23 trip to the Graviers, in Dijon, France, Green landed an 84-pound carp known to local anglers as The Brown One, shattering the previous record for a female angler by 12 pounds.