Published: 06:00, 24 June 2021
| Updated: 08:57, 24 June 2021
For many anglers, catching it was the dream of a lifetime.
Nicknamed Two Tone due to its distinct 'half-and-half' colouration, Ashford's Conningbrook Lakes were once home to Britain's largest carp.
The 67lb 14oz star attraction of the lakes - which are run by Mid Kent Fisheries - would draw in fishing enthusiasts from across the United Kingdom and Europe with the hope of landing the 45-year-old beast.
Though its record weight has since been surpassed - mostly by imported mirror carp - its memory still remains among the many who tried to land the trophy fish.
Two Tone had been moved from Mill Pool in Faversham in 1982, and began to explode in size.
As the decades progressed, so did its growth and fame.
Angling magazines started reporting on the gigantic mirror carp, and interest grew.
Chris Logsdon, who took over Mid Kent Fisheries from his dad, recalls people from as far afield as Australia getting in touch to keep up-to-date on the fish's size and catch history.
He also recalls fishermen travelling from Germany just to have a shot at landing Two Tone.
Anglers would spend years trying to catch the trophy fish, leading to the breakdown of at least three marriages.
Mr Logsdon said: "When it was first caught it was huge news in the angling fraternity.
"The methods of catching it varied. Just in terms of weights, some people used a 3oz led while others would only use an ounce-and-a-half because they wanted the fish to feel minimum resistance as certain older fish do learn what to stay away from.
"With bait, people used corn, worms, maggots, boilies, mussels, even salami - to catch a fish like that you have to think outside of the box.
"At the time there was 30 acres of lake - some of which was five metres deep - and about 50 fish, so it took a lot of time and expertise to catch any carp let alone Two Tone.
"There are also parts of the lake you can't get to, so you have to take that into account as well.
"You have to know what times of the year the fish are feeding most, normally ahead of the winter."
One man, Lee Jackson, wrote a book based on his six-year struggle to catch the trophy fish entitled 'Just for the Record; My Quest for Two Tone'.
Mr Logsdon said: "When people asked me what I thought about people who'd spent years trying to catch it, I told them they're no different to any other sportsmen.
"People spend years training to get a medal, and okay they're not sitting on a bank drinking tea, but they still have that dedication to achieve a goal.
"When you target a certain fish which is the British record, to these guys that is their gold Olympic medal."
In all, Two Tone was caught about 50 times throughout the years.
When it died in August 2010, then-29-year-old John Bird called it the "end of an era" having spent eight years trying to catch it.
Mr Logsdon recalled: "It made national news albeit for a small window when it died - we even had The One Show come down.
"It was such a big part of many people's lives and our county's fishing history."
"It was such a big part of fishing history..."
Mid Kent Fisheries received calls from as far away as Australia and Canada, as anglers worldwide mourned the loss.
Despite it being deemed to have died of natural causes, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) started targeting Ashford's anglers using a billboard that questioned the size of their 'rods'.
Though the Advertising Standards Authority received six complaints, it was found that the Station Approach billboard did not breach the body's rules.
A memorial service for the fish in August 2010 was attended by about 50 anglers, including those who caught the carp and those who had dreamed of it.
One man even made a cake commemorating Two Tone, shared by the mourners.
But Mid Kent Fisheries had an issue - what to do with the monster's body.
Initially the team had planned to bury Two Tone and install a memorial plaque at the burial site.
However, Mr Logsdon remembers: "We planned to bury him at Joe's Point, a very well-written about swim where Two Tone had been caught quite a few times.
"We got wind from someone quite reliable that once we buried it that some people were planning to come at night, dig up Two Tone, taxidermy him and sell him.
"We went ahead with the memorial service, but decided to look into getting it taxidermied ourselves."
The idea was then floated of putting it in a Canterbury museum or donating it to the Natural History Museum.
However the fishery was told by the London attraction that the carp would have been placed in formaldehyde and kept in the vaults, out of public view.
Mr Logsdon recalls: "My dad didn't think that was right for the fish - if you're going to have it you need to display it as it was such a big part of fishing history. So we held onto it."
Land leaseholder and supporter of Mid Kent Fisheries, the Brett Group, was unsure what to do with the body.
The Logsdons and Brett Group then became aware of plans to build the Conningbrook Lakes housing development, which could have required the exhumation and relocation of Two Tone's body.
So the once-in-a-lifetime carp was kept in a freezer at the Mid Kent Fisheries' Chilham site where, sadly, it still remains almost 11 years on.
Unfortunately due to a power cut or two over the years, plus some frostbite, it's feared the fish will not be suitable for taxidermy.
Mr Logsdon now wishes to bury Two Tone this year, but hopes he can get concrete evidence from Ashford Borough Council that the fish won't be dug up or developed over.
It is currently unclear whether Shepherd Neame will go ahead with a lakeside pub and restaurant at the lakes as the brewery says "it has not been possible to progress negotiations during lockdown".
But wherever Two Tone finally ends up, the people of Ashford still remember the celebrity fish.
In 2017, a community art project held as part of the Create Platform event was inspired by the carp.
It saw paper fish distributed to schools in the area, which were then decorated by schoolchildren and placed in shop windows as part of a 'Two Tone trail' around Ashford.
The town's crafting community also got involved, knitting a number of mini Two Tones for display at Park Mall's Emporia following a pattern created by local knitter Nicky Triggs.
And there's fresh hope that a successor might be on the way at Conningbrook Lakes, which became a country park in 2015.
Despite it not having been netted yet, Mr Logsdon says a fish has been spotted on sonar that he is optimistic could become another legend.
He said: "While I can't officially announce we have a successor as no one's landed it yet, people have seen one and sworn it's got off the hook as they reeled it in.
"We've seen it using a drone and it was seen with some other fish which it dwarfed.
"We've got 40lb fish in there so if it eclipses them, you know it's got to be big."