50lb + Common - Ben Jones

So there I was again at Maison Du Lac Bleu on our annual Korda holiday. This was my second trip with all the other lads from Korda and I was looking forward to it. After limited success last year, having drawn a difficult swim on the tough but rewarding Jolly lake, I had come out of the hat sixth this time, but more importantly drawn my first choice swim on the entire complex. Happy days! This year it was on a lake called Neuf in a really fancied swim. No pressure then!

After a slow few days, I was starting to get itchy feet and question my tactics. It seemed as if everyone else on the complex was getting bites. In all honesty, I was starting to think I was on a camping holiday in France rather than a fishing one! Come the Tuesday I took matters into my own hands and went stalking. Within 10 minutes, I had a lovely 24lb mirror on the bank and the blank was saved!
With the pressure off I went back to my swim and baited a couple of spots I liked the look of. That night resulted in a 32lb 8oz mirror and the following morning two on at once, so things were looking up. The end result was a 24lb mirror in one net and a 26 pounder in the other. I lost a powerful fish that night too, which was disappointing, but they were clearly in my area.

Come Thursday, I was happy with what I’d achieved, but the best was yet to come. Around lunchtime, I had a take from my baited spot and the result was a 29lb 8oz common which was a new PB common for me. I was well chuffed and while doing the photos one of my mates pointed out a fish crashing. I didn’t need telling twice and within minutes a bait was on the spot. Five minutes later, it was away but after bending into it that horrible slack feeling occurred and it was gone. Not deterred, a new bait was soon back on the spot.
Again, this was away almost instantly but this time there was a solid connection and it felt heavy. Forty minutes later, we finally saw the fish for the first time and it was a common. Elliott Gray took this opportunity to grab the net and dive into the shallow margins in his waders. I still had no idea what I had on but he was confident it was big.
After an epic encounter and one final lunge from the fish, Elliott got her in the net first time and his first words were: "That’s a 50!"
I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first but then the scales went round to 51lb 12oz. All I can say was what a stunning creature and a PB that may well take some time to beat! I ended a fantastic trip with 7 fish and a rather nasty lump on my head due to an unfortunate incident with a door. That Thursday afternoon will stay with me for some time yet!

Benny ‘Gaye’ Jones