48lb Common Off The Top - John Patterson

Over the last 7 years I have been trying to realise the dream of catching a UK 40lb common. In spite of my best efforts on a couple of venues this goal had so far eluded me. This year I had the opportunity to join a private syndicate lake where I could continue to pursue this challenge.
Over the last month I have been steadily baiting the lake with a game plan in mind. However, on Saturday morning I woke after a fishless night to a bright and already warm, sunny day.
As the morning continued to get warmer I noticed a couple of fish slowly moving around in open water to my left. One of the fish looked larger than the others so I reeled in my rods and decided to have a look. It did not take me long to spot a large common sitting in the weed bed right in the margin. Having seen the fish and deciding it was worth having a go I quickly shot back around to my swim and grabbed a rod and my floater fishing bag, net and unhooking mat. Once back around there I flicked out 6 chum mixers one at a time so not to spook her.
After she had taken 3 of them she settled in the weed bed again with her head under the weed raft. I managed to get my hook bait out and near her without spooking her. Unfortunately the Rudd in the lake started to attack the hook bait and this must have irritated her as she moved off and settled on the other side of a tree in the margin.
Once I had pushed my way through the bushes I could she her about 2 foot from the bank. With care and a bit of luck I was able to lower my hook bait into position and as it drifted in front of her she came up and took it straight away. As she shot off to the left I had to jump into the lake. The fight was heart in the mouth stuff as she repeatedly tried to bury in the weed and within 5 minutes I had her in the net.
It was really only then that I could see how big she was. I tried to weigh her on my own, however the scales were bouncing between 47-49lb and it was only when my mate came down that we got an accurate reading of 48lb exactly.
The fish was caught using a size 8 Korda Mixa hook fished with 2 chum mixers on a 4 foot 15lb mono hook link attached to a small clear bubble float.
In truth it has not sunk in yet and I find my self continuing to look at the photos and asking myself did it really happen!

John Patterson