Never say never the quest for the big common PT2


As the weather warmed up, my action slowed however during June, July and August I had a few doubles and twenties which included two nice commons, a rather nice almost fully scaled 22lber and a repeat of another of the originals, although this time there was an 11 year gap between captures! Unlike some fish this one, known as The Pet had not put on any weight in all those years, always hovering around the mid 20 mark and it came from the same spot!. Obviously, we had a good few socials during the summer and I also had few bream to 14lb.

October and November saw me move back to Big Daves, as this area has a good winter form. There’s an area of hard stone/gravel at about 70 yards out in line with the Bream Swim which is located on the By-pass bank. I’ve had a few carp from areas like this, there’s not necessarily any change in depth, but the change in the substrate from smooth soft silt to hard stone and gravel certainly seems to hold interest for the fish. November was slow, and there was still no sign of the Big Common, however one mild night near the end of the month saw me getting an evening bite which resulted in a character stockie called ‘sharkey’, a repeat of a 20 plus linear and the biggest new fish to date, still to be given a name a linear on one side and apple slice scattered scales on the other, a stunning fish and one which so far hasn’t been caught since, it weighed in at over 28lb.

Due to the rather sticky nature of the track which runs along the south side of the Lagoon to the lawns and Daves etc, and the possibility of flooding, we, that is myself and fishing Gary Carper decided to retreat during December to the relative safety of the Drove which although it gets muddy it Has a firm base.

The drove is the track which runs between the Lagoon and Ivo, on the east bank of the lake. Even with a big flood the track only floods at the bottom end near the swim we call pads corner for obvious reasons!

The first of the floods arrived in January and the rising water made it impossible to cast due to having to pull back from the water’s edge, I was fishing in the Pipe swim, so called due to there being an overflow pipe running under the track between the Lagoon and Ivo. I ended up utilising a bait boat to allow me to carry on fishing.

However what with the cold temperatures and the dirty river water, it was tough going, but near the end of the month I managed to fool a 21lb common closely followed the next day with a rather big 16lb bream. I was impressed to say the least, and made it into The Angling Times with that one!

Most of the fish throughout the year came to a mixture of particle and Mainline Bottom baits and pop ups, but through the colder months I got into the Goo, and was favouring the Mainline Milky Toffee pop ups, soaked in the Korda Squid. I was also adding it to the particle mix which was being delivered by the Boat.

February came and with it more flooding and cold weather as you would expect, and it was the first month I blanked since starting the previous March. As soon as the water level receded in Early March, we moved back onto the first point swims, Fattys etc back to where I’d started the previous year.

It was slow to kick off until I was joined by two of our Bailiffs, Ben Nash and Ross Talbot. Ross has always been a good angler although having more than his fair share of jammy-ness! I Was set up in the middle swim, but had a rod out in Fattys, which I reeled in so Ross could set up in there whilst Nash set up behind in the old lake.

The night passed uneventful however in the morning just after first light Ross had his first run. The morning resulted in a few fish being landed to 20lb+ The Lagoon had woken up. After Ross left, I had no choice but to jump back in to his grave and get ‘em out! And it was there that I stayed until I bagged the one I was after!

There are quite a few different areas around this swim that you can present baits, there’s allot of water in front, plus it’s possible to wade out a little way and cast down the lake towards the Bus Route, and other island. I had a good plumb about, and found an area at 70 yards, a big clean smooth area.

As I was starting to have more bait available it was my intention to fill this area in and keep on it, stick it out for along as possible, obviously being the fishing Manager and virtually living down there, it is possible to take advantage. And I did!

The very next morning I had a run on a single Mainline Clockwork Orange pop up, which resulted in a 22lb common known as the sergeant. It was then I decided to bait this clear area and stay for as long as I was getting bites, If I had a dry period for more than 5 days I would consider moving swims again.



During April and into early May I kept the area topped up with a mixture of Hemp, various fishy groundbaits, allot of sweetcorn and chopped and whole New Grange boilies. When supplies were running low I substituted the boilies with more corn and lots of mashed bread!

This seemed to attract the bream, but the carp were amongst them so the bream bites were worth putting up with as I just knew the carp were out there too. I had a repeat of the linear Ross had caught in March in Early May, and repeat of the sergeant, and The Pet again!

I actually had a week off fishing in May as I’d been invited to go Bluefin Tuna Fishing in La Gomera, By my friend Dan Cowell, on the boat ‘Bocinegro’. A fantastic week was had, amazing to be honest, but that’s another story.

By the end of May the Carp and Bream started spawning so the baiting routine was slowed and I just took it easy for a couple of weeks, there were a few nights when they were making so much noise thrashing the water to a foam they kept disturbing my sleep!

After the carp had finished with the annual thrash about, they turned up on the spot again and they were hungry. To be honest unless I go back through all the photos I can’t remember exactly how many fish I ended up catching during the May to July period, but it was quite a few. The middle of June saw us preparing for another Bar-B, this time to celebrate my birthday.

On a quiet calm weekday morning, the weekend before my birthday I was awoken by another one toner, I stumbled down to the waters edge, and began the nervous tussling with the unseen fish, the fight was a uninspiring battle as the weed had grown up high by this time and the fish had to be coaxed from weedbed to weedbed until it was in front of me and I could slip the net underneath it. In she went first time and it was immediately apparent Id finally caught the ultimate target fish, The Big Common!

As with the Fat Lady 11 years before I had to keep checking It was the Big Common, as It was going to be a big shout out and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself! It was indeed my target fish, so I filled my lungs and gave it the biggun! Phone calls were made, and after an hour or so the lads had gathered so we did the honours, many cameras and videoing going on, plenty of great pics to choose from. She weighed 39-10, And it was the first time out for over 18 months! Chuffed to bits I was. The Bar B on my birthday turned into a double celebration and I don’t mind admitting it got a bit messy!

I stayed on during July, and picked up quite a few more fish from the same spot, including the only wrongun on site, a ghostie known as Casper, which I was quite happy to catch, at this point though they were spawned out and at lighter weights and although Casper has been as heavy as 27+ she was now just over the 23lb mark.

I appreciate allot of anglers are into this silly red card rule, and to a point I can understand why, however, I live and work down there, and had never had a run of fish like this before, so I decided to milk it for all it was worth, I had a few more twenties, however when I started repeating captures, I knew it was time for a move.

My next venue was to be Meadow Lake, so I started making plans to tackle this dauntin venue. The next time I write it will be all about our exploits and captures on an area of meadow Lake we call the T-Bar.

Until then, Tight Lines!

Gordy Howes


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UK Specialist Angler