Ambition Achieved - Neil Spooner

I arrived bright and early to find Neil ensconced in a stunning, little swim known as The Snags, due to its sub-surface branches that protrude off of the opposing island. Of course, this is where the carp live because they feel safe and protected from anglers.
After a quick chat about the night’s events, Neil informs me that he has already caught three fish up to mid-doubles, all off of the snag rod. The other two are placed into open water where he’s hoping to pick up a better fish. The snags are notorious for producing the smaller carp, but Neil is adamant that it will do bigger fish, so persists on fishing the snags. Quite why anglers say that it won’t do the bigguns, Neil doesn’t know, but is determined to prove them wrong.
Literally within minutes of turning up, Neil’s left-hand tip rips round as an angry carp makes its way towards the snags. Luckily, he has a bankstick halfway up the rod spigot to prevent it from being pulled in, and the clutch is locked up so that the fish can’t gain an inch.
Sat close to the rods, Neil’s onto it in a flash powering it out into open water. “It feels heavy mate, but keeps entering the thick weed beds out in front. I’m going to have to keep firm pressure on this one,” he comments as everything goes solid.
Holding the rod as high as possible, Neil begins to slowly apply more and more pressure and eventually the fish begins to move once again. After an epic five minutes we see a flash of gold on the surface. “It’s a common, could even be Swirly,” he jokes. Swirly is the biggest common in the lake and one that Neil has been targeting over the last year or so.
Slowly but surely he coaxes the big common to the waiting net and she’s there. Shaking like a leaf Neil peers into the net and shouts: “I can’t believe it, it’s Swirly, it’s fricking Swirly,” or something along those lines. You can tell he’s proper excited at catching such an awesome creature that has taken lots of hard work and graft.
She tips the scales around to an incredible 37lb 10oz and is a new PB. As you can see from the shots he’s one elated Spooner. Good work fella. Later that day he chipped in with another common just under 20. To make things even more memorable, I was there to shoot a feature on snag fishing with him. He certainly proved how effective it is. Check out Carp And Coarse Angler in the coming months for the full account of Neil’s quest and how to effectively fish near to snags.
Words by James Armstrong