15 July, 2020 |0 Comments
The Long Common – Russ Crisci
Kent carper, Russ Crisci recalls the story of how he caught one of county’s most wanted fifties..
After waiting a few years, I finally received the news I was hoping for, a ticket on a very special lake in the Kent countryside. I continued to fish my local waters, however all the time my mind was on this special place and the stock it held. My lifelong friend Ant had a ticket for a few years and I had been excited by the tales I had heard about the lake and the pictures of the lovely fish he had caught from there.
The weeks seemed to crawl by but finally my expensive ticket started and before I knew it the van was loaded and I was on my way for my first 48 hour trip. As is typical for me, I got lost en route and after visiting a few local villages, I finally arrived at the secluded gate. It was raining so I grabbed the bucket and teacup and started to lap the pond to find Ant and find out the score.
I found him on the far side of the lake. The lake looked lovely but straight away I noticed how weedy it was and was doubting I would land anything I was lucky enough to hook. Talking to Ant, he reassured me that although bad you could get them in, although his last bite had done him in the weed! After much nagging he put the kettle on and I managed to get a cuppa out of him and after a
quick chat I continued my walk round.
It was busier than I was led to believe and there were only two or three swims available. I stopped at the top end which looked pretty shallow and saw a fish bow wave across from no more than thirty yards out. I climbed a nearby tree and watched two fish visiting and ripping the bottom up,in the corner, along the tree line. There was no way I could get to there from the swim but looking out from my vantage point I could see possible holes in the vast weed beds in front.
So having seen fish and with limited swims available I was going to start here. I decided to have a lead about as I couldn’t risk not getting drops on the rods. BIG MISTAKE! I managed to find some areas but after hitting a fish with the lead and spooking another I finished my 48 hours with nothing to show.
The fish had clearly vacated my quiet corner, which they were obviously in, because there was no angling pressure until I turned up! Oh well lesson learnt and I managed to explore the swim, if nothing else.
The next few trips were uneventful, to be honest, with hot summer weather all I managed was a jack pike and after one weeded me up for an hour, I was convinced it was a carp, as at one point it surfaced and looked very long. It wasn’t until it tail walked that I realised it was a pike of about 15lb.
The weeks were passing and I managed to miss a few with other commitments. Finally I arrived for another 48 hours with a bucket of particles and 5 kilos of CompleX-T and Source
boilies. I had decided on a new tactic by now, as most of the bites had been at night or first light. I planned to have a good walk until I was happy with an area where the fish were or
thought they would turn up.I would set up and if no fish were present I would lead and bait up and not put the rods out until the evening.
4am I received a take from hell! Half asleep it was going so fast on a tightish spool, I didn’t want to pick the rod up. I’d hooked the fish in a silt gully between weed beds and within seconds it had found one. Keeping the pressure on, and praying to the carp gods, I felt things starting to move. It didn’t move far though, encasing itself in another weed bed. 15 minutes later, with pressure on, we were moving again and it felt like a sack of spuds.
I knew I had 13 feet of water 10 yards out and a real savage weed bed to the surface in front of me which got even worse to the right of me. I had to clamp down, if it made that it would be game over. I wound the clutch right up and piled the pressure on “click click click click” she flat rodded me and had found the weed bed.
I held tight for 20 minutes and nothing moved. I even dragged the chair to stand on and with the 13 footers held aloft under full compression. Nothing moved. I reluctantly put the rod on the rest, wound up tight, put the kettle on and was wondering what to do next. Did I phone the owner for the boat ( it was Sunday morning and bite time ) not sure the other members would appreciate it as the lakes only about 10 acres and would mean boating across other anglers to get to me.
After four cups of tea and digging the number out of the owner, to get the boat, I had a single bleep and the already bent tip pulled very slightly round. I picked up the rod and leaned into it as hard as I dare. Yes it was coming ever so slowly, I felt something. After a brief battle she was in the net.
I readied the self take kit and weighing gear before lifting her ashore and I was over the moon. My first carp from the pond and a cracking old Kent mirror of 41lb.
A few weeks passed before I could get back down and as usual I grabbed the water bottle and went on the hunt. Two hours late I had spotted a single show, near the island, in the
bay, so I plotted up there for the first night. I leaded around and found some decent areas with fairly shallow firm drops and deposited a few kilos on each.
I noticed my mate, Streetwise Dave’s van in the car park, so leaving the swim to rest, so to speak, I grabbed my cup and headed over to the other lake for a cuppa and a catch up. Four hours later and I’m back in my swim, after drinking all of Dave’s tea supplies, I then set about baiting the rigs and setting some traps for the night. 5am right hander was away!
The bite was so vicious the rod was off the buzzer and in the shallow margin, when I picked it up. Again another epic scrap going into three weed beds, in what I thought was a less weedy area. I slipped the waders on and waded the 10 yards out to net the fish in the shallow margins. Wow this one was long and lean. A lovely common, just over 30lb was in the net.
With pictures taken I left the two remaining rods in place to see out bite time, but apart from constant heavy showers nothing much happened the following night but I set the alarm and heard a few fish in the early hours.
I had our annual social trip to Cottington booked, late September, always a good laugh to catch up with the boys. The next trip to the pond was early October, the lake was fairly busy but all I managed was another pike in my 48 hours. Time was ticking as my ticket ran out mid November on here.
I managed to get back down mid October for another 48 hours and after seeing a fish show, where I’d had the 30 common, I pitched up and followed the previous sessions of tea drinking the day away with Dave. Rods out on the noted spots I baited heavily with the usual CompleX-T and Source and particles mix, putting 5 kilos of each on each rod.
The weather and moon phase was spot on for a fish. I awoke to the feeling that I was just camping and after the kettle boiled I saw a subtle show over a shallow plateau in the swim I had the 41 lb mirror from, then another closer into the bank. I didn’t need much encouragement, the swim was free and it was Saturday morning. It was a fair old way with the barrow and it was raining so I got soaked, but felt happy I was now on the fish.
I decided to fish single hook baits as fish were present and get them straight out, so I put on small leads and fired one rod out to the long spot I had caught from before and the other two rods short where I had seen the shows. The day passed uneventfully and to add to my misery I saw the only fish show over my baited area I had moved from that morning.
I needed a break, so I reeled in, went to have a wash and freshen up then changed the damp clothes I had sat in all day. I managed to get the rods back out and put two on the longer
silt gully spot and the other short of the plateau and all rods were baited heavy again for the night.
I was awoken in the night by a huge fish crash and I could just make out it was near to the left hand rod, fished close in. I eventually drifted back off thinking that rods gonna go! I was dragged from my bed by an absolute one toner. I was surprised it was the right hand rod and I could not stop it!
I bullied the fish, from the start, as I remembered what troubles I’d had before with mass weed beds in this swim. It locked up in the near weed bed, but I was winning and once I was this
side of it I had 10 yards of deep clear water. The fish fought hard under the tip, a powerful deep fight and the big rod was in half the whole time. Several times it made for the weed bed but I held on and the fish was now slowly tiring.
First attempt the fish wouldn’t go in the net. It was so long and I was struggling to see in the half light but eventually she was in. I sat down and dug the head torch out for a good look. This fish looked massive! I decided to retain her for a short time to give her a rest and sort my life out.
Once on the bank I realised I had a very big common. I didn’t realise there was a 50lb common in the lake until I rang Ant to find out. I made a few calls to my close friends and did the weighing and pictures. She was the Long Common at her biggest weight of 57lb 8oz. A new UK Pb common for me.
I did manage one more trip at the start of November but to be honest the weather had started to change and I didnt see anything, let alone catch but I had achieved more than I expected on my first year on the pond so Im looking forward to what next year on there would bring …………