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THE BRITISH RECORD RAINBOW TROUT
In 1994, Tony Flower from Newquay, set a new British record when he caught a Rainbow Trout which tipped the scales at 30 lbs 12 ozs from "Osprey Lake" at Tavistock Trout Fishery.
Tony's undisputed British Record was verified and is beyond reproach.
Just a few months later, in April 1995 Clive White claimed he had subsequently caught a giant Rainbow Trout when he visited Dever Springs Trout Fishery in Hampshire.
The unpalatable alleged truth was that Clive White had found the 36 lb 14 oz monster washed up dead in the margins of Willow Lake at Dever Springs.
The media contended that in a moment of madness Mr White transferred the fish into a landing net and pretended he had caught it. It was subsequently witnessed and the scales were checked by the local Trading Standards Office. On the surface, everything appeared to be in order, however this "Whopper" has just created fishing history for all the wrong reasons!
During the 3rd week of July 2003, it was widely reported in the British Angling Press and several National Newspapers, that Clive White had recently written to David Rowe of the B.R.F.C. saying:
Dear David Rowe,
I, Clive White, would like to take this opportunity to withdraw my claim to the B.R.F.C. in connection with the record Rainbow Trout I 'caught'.
The record in question was the current British Record Rainbow Trout caught at Dever Springs Trout Fishery on the 4th April 1995, weighing 36 lbs 14 oz 8 dr. (16.740 kg).
I did not catch the fish.
I am very sorry and deeply regret what I have done, but cannot live a lie any more, as it has destroyed my marriage and it very nearly destroyed me.
As a result, I have now given up fishing altogether.
I know a lot of people will take a dim view of what I have done, but now I can sleep at night, knowing that I have nothing to hide.
I feel sorry for the people I have cheated out of a genuine Record Claim. I only hope people will respect me for coming clean and telling the truth.
That was quite a "bomb shell", however that was not the end of the distasteful affair, the "mire" got deeper and still more rotten!
On the morning of Wednesday 6th August, 2003, I happened to switch on GMTV to see the weather forecast and was surprised to see Clive White being interviewed at some length regarding the relevant matter. I did not catch the complete interview, but in that part I did see, Clive White alleged that he did not find the fish as had earlier been reported, but hatched the record plan with the full knowledge and collusion of the owner of the fishery.
Clive White also said that he had been “put on a pedestal” and had written for angling publications. They even showed a copy of “Trout Fisherman” magazine during the interview.
I subsequently wrote to Mark Sutcliffe, the Editor of "Trout Fisherman" magazine including all the above information together with my following observations.
I guess you could obtain a video tape of the complete interview from the programme makers if you so wish, if indeed you have not already taped the interview on behalf of your company.
What are the legal implications for the undoubted effects on other reputable stocked “put and take” trout fisheries? Have captors of subsequent better fish any basis for suing the maker of the false record claim?
It may be said that Dever Springs has gained in reputation at the expense of other fisheries as the particular fishery from which the (now discredited) national record specimen was caught. I believe that Dever was subsequently sold to new owners, would they have bought it at the agreed purchase price if they knew of the alleged deception? If Clive White’s latest revelations are accepted, what is the legal liability of the then owner of Dever Springs?
Other fisheries may feel their reputation and related income from visiting anglers has been degraded by this situation. Could they perhaps sue the perpetrator for notional damages?
Clive White has been featured and quoted as a “famous” angler in “Trout Fisherman” magazine. Would he have been in that position if the Editor had known of the true situation?
It is a criminal offence under the Theft Act to dishonestly obtain remuneration or greater remuneration or the opportunity to gain pecuniary advantage by any deception. Will the Proprietors or Editor of “Trout Fisherman” magazine do the right thing by many of their readers and refer the entire matter to the Police for investigation, with the possibility of an eventual prosecution?
It’s proper to feel sorry for Clive White in his admitted domestic circumstances, but cheats deserve to reap all that they sow; they should not prosper by their own admitted dishonesty.
I personally do not believe that any blame can be attached to David Rowe, or the British Record Fish Committee. They can only act on what they believe to be the correctly witnessed and verified truth.
Perhaps it is now the proper time, when one hears of fish being traded and bought in from outside sources, that the British Cultivated Rainbow Trout Record should be suspended by the B.R.F.C. which I hear, has recently been suggested in relation to the British Catfish Record? In that case, it would be proper that the British Rainbow Trout record should remain with Tavistock Trout Fishery for the foreseeable future. It would provide a little redress for the past 8 years.
The 30 lb 12 ozs Rainbow Trout, "Bertha", as she is affectionately known is now on display, mounted in a case, in the Tackle Shop at Tavistock Trout Fishery for all to see.
Mark Sutcliffe has since corresponded with me and in a nutshell says that it is not a function of "Trout Fisherman" magazine to pursue Clive White through the Courts. He feels that the whole distasteful business has damaged the sport of angling and should be laid to rest with the minimum fuss.
However, that is still not the end of the sorry tale. On Friday 15th August, I received an Email message from Abigail Underhill at Tavistock Trout Fishery, which she had apparently received from Clive White. I quote it in full for your deliberation.
It was very nice to talk to you earlier as promised please see the original E-Mail that I sent to David Rowe together with his reply. I like I have said I am so sorry for what I have done.
I acknowledge receipt of your e-mail with regard to your withdrawal of the Record Claim for the Rainbow Trout and confirm that this has been forwarded to the BRFC Committee for their information.
July 16, 2003
Dear David Rowe,
I Clive White would like to take this opportunity to withdraw my claim to the BRFC in connection with the Record Rainbow Trout caught.
The Record in question was the current British Record Rainbow Trout caught at Dever Springs Tout Fishery on the 4th April 1995, weighing 36lbs 14ozs 8drms (16.740kg). I did not catch the fish, it was all set up so there would be a new British Record. The fish was not even stocked into the lake it was actually placed in a bag next to the lake already for me to claim.
I am very sorry and deeply regret what I have done, but I cannot live a lie any more as it has destroyed my marriage and it very nearly destroyed me. As a result I have now given up Fishing all together. I know a lot of people will take a dim view of what I have done but now I can sleep at nights knowing that I have nothing to hide. I feel sorry for the people that I have cheated out of a genuine Record Claim.
I only hope people will respect me for comming clean and telling the truth.
My own personal feeling is still that cheats deserve to reap all that they sow.
I have already outlined the possible adverse legal position for which Clive White and other parties might well be liable.
If this latest revelation by Clive White is true, the previous owner of Dever Springs Trout Fishery, or whoever were the responsible parties at that location, might also conceivably commit a criminal offence with regard to "Criminal Deception" either as a principal offender or as "Aiders, Abettors, Counsellors or Procurers"
Cheats should not prosper by their own admitted dishonesty, whatever the extenuating circumstances.