A fantastic stalked common for student Morgan Morrison!

Morgan Morrison found a small club lake near to the university that he was studying at, and his campaign culminated in a fantastic 30lb common which he stalked.

The 18-year-old revealed: “Having done a small amount of research I learnt that the water was home to several 30lb carp which were notoriously difficult to catch as the six acre lake gets a lot of angling pressure.

“The lake is only a ten minute drive from my university campus and is far closer than the other waters that the club have, so was the ideal place to start my campaign.

“I’ll never forget setting foot on the venue for the first time and was greeted with the sight of a mature lake with crystal clear water lined with trees, and a small overgrown island which forms a narrow channel known as the ‘hotspot’ by the locals.

“I’d only managed to do eight overnight sessions and several days between lectures, but these were sporadic and it was difficult to get a feel for the place.

“The lake is roughly triangular and one bank is classed as the stalking bank and can’t be fished during darkness, and I’d noticed that although everyone seemed to fish tight to this bank, nobody actually seemed to be doing any stalking.

“After arriving home after my first session I’d told my dad that it looked a good stalking water, but hadn’t followed my instincts and had been too pre-occupied with gleaning information from other anglers which had negatively influenced the way I was fishing – I was just following the crowd.

“I’d deduced that the carp were very mobile and it was clear that if I was doing something right the fish should respond relatively quickly. During one October session, as cold dawn mist rolled off of the water, I noticed several large fish moving just 10 yards from my rod tips.

“I quickly wound one rod in as stealthily as I could and flicked a single hookbait underarm onto the area, but the fish drifted off, seemingly startled by the presence of a rig! I’d never fished for carp this cute before and it reinforced the need to do something different to outwit them.

“It was a sunny day in mid-April when I decided to have a quick mooch around the lake on my way back from university, and when I arrived I was greeted by the sight of plenty of bivvies.

“I walked round to the back of the island and stared into the shallow margins which seemed unusually clouded up and I saw a carp in only a few feet of water chewing up the bottom. This was definitely a 20-pounder and then two more drifted into the swim, one of which was a big linear known to be an upper 20. I couldn’t believe this was the one time I didn’t have a rod with me!

“A friend of mine informed me that he’d begun chasing the fish around the shallows but with poor results and suggested that I take some bread on my next visit, and it was something I’d been thinking about anyway as it would allow me to freeline a piece of it right in the path of the fish.

“I arrived at the lake after after my 11am lecture and I pulled into the car park I was astounded to see the lake was deserted, and if the fish were up for it then this was my chance.

“Armed with a 9ft stalking rod I looked into the first gap in the trees and and set eyes upon a lone 20lb common, but it bolted as soon as the rod poked out beyond the undergrowth. I wasn’t too phased as I expected to find them at the back of the island, but it was lifeless.

“However, as I I walked further down the bank to the shallows I spotted another common around the same size, but this one also bolted off, spooked by my presence.

“My shoulders were aching from my bag which was heavy with unnecessary tackle items, so I dropped them off at the car and as I re-visited the shallows I saw my target fish, a wide, dark, deep, huge common!

“Shaking with excitement I threaded a lump of bread onto a size 8 Mixa hook and chased it around for half-an-hour, but despite presenting a piece of bread right in front of it numerous times but it didn’t react to my bait.

“It drifted off out of the bay and just when I considered throwing in the towel I spotted a huge patch of bubbles close to the far bank so I ran round and flicked out a piece of sinking bread, about two feet from its head, and watched it inch towards the hookbait.

“Suddenly it was on top of it and and my tiny piece of white bread disappeared into its mouth, and as I sept the rod back I felt the huge weight of the fish, which froze for a minute before it realised what was going on and a tense battle ensued.

“Due to the shallow margins and size of the fish, I kicked off my shoes and jumped in wearing my jeans and waded out until it was within netting range, and inch by inch it came closer until I was able to slip the net under it’s bulk. My perseverance had paid off and I was grateful for the Mixa hook which had stayed secure in its mouth, even when I had to force it away from some margin snags.

“I felt like I was floating for days, I’d finally got one and it had been a real learning curve, and taught me to deviate from the crowd, keep my eyes on the water, and fish for my quarry on my own terms.”