Never say never the quest for the big common

Sat 13 May 17


Never say never, the quest for the big common PT1

As some of you may be aware, I did allot of fishing on the St Ives Lagoon, a number of years ago now, when the Biggun known as the Fat Lady was still making a name for herself. After about 4 years fishing on there, I finally managed to catch her at a weight of 51-08 in June 2005. It was tough going, as at the time I could only fish over-nighters, and although I was fishing about 3/4 nights a week. It was still a tough pond to crack.

Many years later, I found myself running the complex after taking on the lease after St Ives Tackle Shop, in the town decided to retire. At this point in the lakes history, there weren’t many Carp on site as there hadn’t really been much in the way of stocking during the previous 20 years. The shallow pit fish were up and coming, however there were only a handful of fish worth targeting which were spread thinly over the other 8 lakes.

The Lagoon fish were slowly dying out, but because of past knowledge of fisheries stocking little fish amongst big, old originals with dire consequences, I decided to leave well alone as most of the guys on there were only after the biggun, but I did decide to stock Meadow Lake/Fjords, Andersons, and ivo and Tri-Cor.

The plan was to have 5 plus years with those fish growing on to decent sizes, twenty plus pounds, whilst the Fat Lady was providing the income stream to subsidise the other lakes. However, the best laid plans and all that! After my second year running the place I finally got the phone call every fishery manager dreads. Yep, the Fat Lady was dead, and overnight the anglers disappeared leaving me in a bit of a predicament, no cash cow, and a load of stockies in the other lakes which were not yet of a size to attract interest or income. Long story short, there followed a tricky couple of years, during which I found out who my friends were. It was now time to put some new blood in the Lagoon, and Eventually thanks to the passing of time, the stocked fish all grew, feasting mainly on the massive biomass of invertebrate life that all the lakes contain.

After spending the time it took for me to Bank the Lady, I had pledged never to fish the Lagoon again as it had kind of ruined my angling at the time as it was all a little intense, too competitive and very busy at the time, (less so now.) Which brings me onto the title of this article, and almost up to date. ‘Never Say Never’………………well, I did go back!

During the intervening years, the Stockies in the other ponds were getting bigger, however, the remaining originals in the Lagoon were also rowing. Id eventually caught most of the usual target fish on the other lakes, the friendly from Long Reach, 38-08, The Brown Fish from the Fjords, 43-02, Colin from Shallow 31. Amongst a few others. The carp which piqued my interest was the Big Common in the Lagoon which was a mid-20 when I was on the lagoon had morphed into an upper 30 possibly 40! So I became interested again. There were also one or two big old carp in there which had managed to evade my traps during my previous sessions.



During the winter of 2015 I became involved with a Bait company and it was decided that a social be arranged for March of that year. I decided to set up in a swim known as Fattys (AKA Micks point) This is the first point on the south bank with 3 swims facing completely different directions. I knew it had good spring form and knew of one or two areas worth a try. I baited a marginal spot down to my left, where a deep silty gulley ran away to the left to the swims known as The Lawns. The other two, I fished single pop ups cast two thirds of the way towards the Island, which is approximately 120-130 yards distant. The baits weren’t in the water more than a couple of hours, during which time the Social Bar-B had been started and the members of the Bait Team were gathering nearby, when I had a one toner on the middle rod! I couldn’t believe it. The crowd and abuse gathered as I bent into the fish, the pressure was on! After a short fight, the fish was expertly netted by one of the chaps, who was brave enough to slip down to his boxers to help net it, to much applause and more abuse.

It was one of the stocked fish which was weighed at 16lb. A very pretty linear. Which was later to be known as the Drop Scale Linear. After returning the fish and getting the bait back out on the area, it was only a short while til the right hand rod also roared off, I couldn’t quite believe my luck, the Lagoon seemed to be treating me well on my return. This was another linear, 18lb and was played and landed to the same audience and cacophony and banter and red underpants as before. It was decided over that weekend that I would stay on afterwards and set my stall out for the Big Common. The Lagoon had won me back!

April came, and as the weather was warming up I had decided to move to the left hand side of the Lawns. This was the swim where Id caught the lady 10 years before and its shallower weedier nature making it a favourite spring and summer haunt for the carp. As I didn’t keep a diary and was fishing full time, memories of the days and weeks blur somewhat, but during April I had the fortune to catch 2 of the original carp, Magnus at 24+ and the Leather at 33+ (I don’t generally do ounces!)

After the action had dried up and for a change of scene, the coming of May saw me move to the next point along the south bank past the lawns known as Daves Point. Pic no.8 There are also 3 different swims here all facing in different directions, and all into different types of depths and lake bed and weed. The middle swim, (Big) Daves has an island out in front and slightly to the right. This is where the shallower water in front of The Lawns deepens down to the left, towards the by-pass.

The right hand swim, Little Daves faces between the islands and has the shallower weedier water in front. It was little Daves I opted for. This was an area of the lake Id spent some time in whilst I was in pursuit of the Lady, and I knew there was a nice silty area at about 30 yards. A quick bit of marketing found the spot id fished 11 years previously and I was straight on it with the bait, a mixture of Particle and boilie.

The bait sponsorship situation had taken a different direction at this point. It was now late may, and I had secured a little bit of support from Mainline, Thanks to the enabling of Mr Ray Best, I was now using a mixture of Cell and New Grange and particle. As It was short range fishing It was no problem using the Spomb to great effect. I like to chop/crumble my boilies and mix them with the particle which consists mainly of hemp, and a bit of seed, a few tigers and some flashes of lovely sweet yellow provided by Mr Green Giant.

It makes the boilie go further, and it keeps them rooting about on the spot. I also like to think Im feeding up the roach and rudd as well, doing some good for the little chaps! After putting out a few kilos of bait, it was time to settle into my new swim. Within a couple of days I had the first bite, another lovely little mid double linear, then for about a week or three I was getting regular few bites, a few mid doubles and couple of 20’s were landed all from the silty 30 yard spot.

These captures culminated in a repeat of Magnus. Typical that I’d now caught it twice in two months yet it totally evaded capture during my earlier years on there! do carp get dementia?

Tight Lines, Until PT2,

Gordy Howes


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