Autumn Fifty - Rich Le Gros

I’ve fished a local club water on and off over the last few years and until now the big girls have proved rather elusive. This year I was to put more time rather than flit around to hopefully put one of the big girls on the bank.

My first night back on the lake in late April was successful with a 28lb common caught, one I’d had several years previously at 21lb, so it’d shown a healthy gain in weight. Over the next few months, fishing mainly work overnighters, I struggled keeping one step ahead of the fish. I lost what looked like one of the bigger commons at the net, which frustrated me no end and another lost fish two nights after that really rubbed salt into the wound.

I kept plugging away throughout the summer months without much to go on. I had a new job starting the first week of this month, so I arrived at the lake a week prior to this for my last session for the foreseeable future. The storm that battered England the night before had bought several trees down and would surely get the fish moving with such a change in the conditions.

The first night was spent fishing an area of open water and throughout the night I could hear fish rolling to my right under the overhanging canopy of an island. Heavy ripples were coming into the bank despite the quiet nature of the rolls, so carp must have been responsible. I woke early the next morning and saw carp show close to both spots but only within a 15-minute time frame before all went quiet again. After a wander around the lake I decided to move to where I’d heard the fish the previous evening. By about 2pm two rigs were cast as far under the overhang as possible, settling at the bottom of the steep shelf in around 10ft of water. I put out a few pouches of bait before the seagulls clocked me and was fishing again. Out of the blue, at 4pm the right-hand rod pulled up and the fish kited immediately left at quite some pace. After a few stressful minutes my mate Mark netted the common, which we recognised straight away due to her pronounced shoulders. At 37lb 6oz I was made up with a new PB common.

The rig went back out just before dark on the same spot with some more bait spread under the canopy. Straight away I started to get liners, some of which were savage. At around midnight a lump came straight out over the rod, followed by a few bleeps so surely they were having a feed? At 5am the hanger smashed into the rod, too aggressively to be a liner, before dropping back as the fish kited. The fight was similar to the other fish although this time it managed to take out the other line, causing a few problems. I stripped off and waded out to net the fish, which in the dark I could tell was one of the good ’uns. On the scales she went 53lb 8oz and to be honest after that it’s all a bit of a blur!