Hardy consultant John Bailey is pursuing a world record after banking a magnificent 7lb 12oz roach:bream hybrid during a feature for tcf (Total Coarse Fishing) magazine.

John slipped the landing net under the fish of a lifetime while fishing one of his secret Norfolk estate lakes, after hooking it on straightforward feeder tactics.

John with his incredible 7lb 12oz roach:bream hybrid, which could become a world record.

The British Record Fish Committee doesn’t recognise hybrids in its lists. Systems are in place to claim hybrid records in Ireland, where the roach:bream best stands at 7lb.

The fish was weighed, witnessed and photographed by tcf editor Gareth Purnell, who said: “At first John didn’t know what the fish was, but I’ve caught Irish specimen hybrids in the past myself and I knew straight away it was a huge hybrid, the biggest I have ever heard of anywhere, let alone seen.

“It’s unfortunate that the BRFC has never seen fit to recognise hybrids as they do in Ireland. They are magnificent fish in their own right, and in fact anyone who has caught them knows that they fight harder than true breed fish of either species. However, they are recognised by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and we are pursuing a world record claim on John’s behalf.”
Gareth contacted the IGFA and was informed by conservation director Jason Schratwieser that it has to be identified by a fish expert before a claim can be processed, so he passed the pictures onto Dr Mark Everard, who does the fish identification for the BRFC.

In a detailed 700-word report Dr Everard concludes: “I am 100 per cent satisfied, on the evidence, that this is a roach:bream hybrid.”

Hardy consultant John Bailey said: “I thought the fish was absolutely beautiful and to me seemed to combine the best of both species – it fought far better than a 7lb bream would and looks as beautiful as a specimen roach.

“I do feel that in the UK we are a bit snooty about hybrids which are worthy fish in their own right. As for the record side of things, well on one level it’s a bit of fun, but on another it is useful to have a piscatorial history and for anglers to know how big a species can go.”

At the time of writing tcf is getting the Reuben Heaton scales verified by Weights and Measures and is in the process of putting in an official world record claim.

“It would be interesting if we had a British caught world record for a roach:bream hybrid, but not a British record,” added Gareth.

For John’s exclusive story of his incredible catch, see July’s issue of tcf (Total Coarse Fishing) magazine (left).