Craig has been enjoying some great sport at Cranwells Lake!

Craig Runham was absolutely gutted to lose Cranwells Lake’s big common at the net, but he managed to put it behind him to bank several other cracking carp over a couple of sessions.

Prior to losing the big common he’d managed to land a 28lb linear mirror, and then returned for five fish to 29lb during an overnight session, and the following weekend added this magnificent 32lb 12oz common along with a 26lb mirror and low-20 common. So he is still edging closer to his ultimate goal of catching British record carp, the Parrot!

Craig explained: “I felt very confident when I arrived as on recent trips I’ve been getting a fish or two each time, and it definitely felt more like spring now.

“Not much had been out and I didn’t see any signs of fish until I got to a small reed-lined bay, where I climbed a tree and peered down into the water beneath an old oak tree. There lay several good fish, but two of them stood out – one because of a white area on its tail and I realized that I was looking at a linear called Floppy Tail, which is a mid-40. Then an even larger fish glided in alongside her and I could see it was the big common, which usually is around 47lb but was looking seriously plump! I’d seen enough and quickly dropped a bucket in the swim and went back to my car for my gear.

“I hatched a plan to intercept them on their way out of the bay, but this area is very ‘choddy’ and has dead weed all over it. I’d been doing well on a soft hinge rig and felt that this would give me a good presentation, and for my hookbait I used Key Bait Solutions pink pop-ups over some crumbed Maxi Nut boilies, plus a few dumbbells.

“It took until the last few minutes of daylight before one of the rods pulled round and I was straight on it and putting on pressure as a decent fish erupted in the shallow water. All the way in I had visions of it being the big common or Floppy Tail, and as it neared the net I could see a row of scales.

“I peered into the net and could see that it was neither of those two fish, but a cracking linear of 28lb – although I must admit that I felt a little bit robbed as it would now be impossible to get the rod back out onto the small spot I’d found, until it got light.

“I got the rod back out again at first light, and at 10am the bobbin pulled up slowly and there was mighty eruption over the spot. I didn’t give it an inch of line and eventually it chugged out into the open water and I knew I was connected to a decent one. Eventually a very long, dark common broke the surface about ten yards out – far bigger than any I had ever caught before – but then it turned and took a final few yards of line and at that point everything went slack and I felt gutted and defeated, knowing what I had just lost.”

Craig didn’t let this loss defeat him though, and a couple of days later he returned for another go, but arrived to find that the fish had moved.

“I’d put some bait in when I left but when I made my way round to the reedy bay it was devoid of fish and even some of the bait was still lying on the bottom. So I walked round and hadn’t seen anything until a common cleared the water in front of the woods swim, so I got my gear, and as I was stood in the swim another one showed, so I quickly got my rods ready. Over the next 18 hours I landed five fish, including a cracking mirror of 29lb, and I knew I had my tactics right and everything was clicking into place.

“I managed to get back down the following weekend for two nights but arrived to find that the lake was very busy. However, some anglers were pulling off that afternoon so I decided to make sure I located them before choosing a swim. I saw two fish show in front of a swim called End Beat, and as I chatted to the guy in there, who confirmed that he was leaving around 6pm, two more showed.

“Finally, with an hour before dark, I managed to get in there and quickly got three rods out onto the shallower water. I didn’t have to wait long as just on dark the middle rod burst into life, but the hook pulled seconds later and I was gutted.

“A couple of tench kept me up during the night, and during the day I could see signs of carp on the shallows, with fizzing plus the odd back breaking the surface. I had to wait until 6pm though before my right-hand rod was almost pulled off of the rests as a large bow-wave headed across the shallows.

“After what seemed like an age, I could see a good common in the crystal-clear water and I breathed a sigh of relief as moments later I slipped the net under it. The size 6 Choddy hook was an inch back in the mouth, and the fish weighed in at just under 33lb.

“Again, the only action during the night was from tench, but the next morning I landed a low-20 common and that was quickly followed by a stunning 26lb mirror. As I packed away that afternoon I was smiling, as once again Cranwells had been kind to me!”