Car Park Gem - Adam Sturt

Adam Sturt banked one of Yateley Car Park Lake’s most sought-after gems, the Big Common, and tells us how, right here…

“I arrived at the lake in the early hours of Thursday morning, feeling rather worse for wear, after having just landed from a heavy few days in Ibiza. Fortunately for me, the missus told me to go fishing for a couple of nights to sort my head out.

There were a few lads on the lake, but after doing a couple of laps and having a few cups of coffee, I decided to set up in a swim called Dessie’s. To be fair, I was surprised to see it was free; I put it down to the amount of weed on the lake this season, making fishing more difficult. I managed a nice thirty-seven pounder called G's Big Stocky a few weeks earlier from this swim, so I knew the spot and was still clipped up from my last session. After a few casts I was on the spot, but decided not to fish on the spot, instead to fish both rods side by side on a hard silt or clay, as I felt the spot was to obvious. I baited with around two kilos of mixed particles and a few tigers. That night went quietly, which was good to be fair, as I needed to catch up on some sleep.

After 10 hour’s sleep, I woke up with a fresh head as a few of the other lads started turning up. The lake was fairly busy, as it normally is on a Friday. I cast both rods at around 1pm and baited up with another two kilos of particles. The rods went out perfectly, both about 10ft from each other. I sat back to watch the water with a few beers. There were a few fish showing, so I felt confident and settled for the night.

At around 4am my right-hand-rod absolutely screamed off. My mate Scotty from the other end of the lake even heard the take. As soon as I struck it flat-rodded me, at this moment my legs started to shake as I tried to slow it down. It slowly stopped and had weeded me up. Knowing I had a good couple of hours before sunrise, the boat definitely wasn't an option. I kept the pressure on and after about 10 minutes the fish had come free. I was now attempting to reel in a fish with a huge ball of weed over its face.

Once close enough to net, I had to lay the rod down and tear some of the weed off my line. At this point, I wasn't sure if the fish was still on, as I couldn't see anything due to the massive amount of weed! All of a sudden I could see the fish and just hoped when I scooped the net under it that it was in there. Sure enough, there it was; what a relief, the fish was netted and so was I.

I carried on ripping the weed off my line, and out of the net like a mad man. I couldn't wait to see what the prize was; when I got a good look, there was The Big Common. A few of the lads came round to do the honours. This fish hadn't been out for over four years so it's seen as the gem of the lake. It’s definitely proven to be one of the hardest to catch.

This was my fourth fish so far this season, I'm absolutely buzzing, it's already made my season, get in!”