My Biggest-Ever Carp! – Jon Mann

Jon Mann describes his recent Gigantica session, which was to yield his biggest-ever fish!

“Having come out 6th in the draw, I was fortunate enough to get a swim that had been one my top three choices, The Stink.

Within five minutes of unloading my tackle from the truck the heavens opened and unleashed a downpour of biblical proportions, which was accompanied by large helpings of hailstones. All I could do was to proceed with setting up, as within a nanosecond every item of tackle was drenched. I had managed to throw a groundsheet over my clothing bag, hindering the rain’s penetration on my week’s attire.

The Stink is a very versatile swim where you can angle spots up to 120 yards out or as close in as 40 yards, which I decided to do on one rod. This rod was fished on a clear area next to a weed bed. I choose not to fish any further out on this rod, as there was woodwork down the right-hand margin, which the fish (given a chance) would kite straight into. Needless to say I fished this rod locked up. It was also nice to be fishing at catapult range on a 35-acre lake! As this spot was near to weed and snags I treated it as I would to lake back in the UK, putting no more than 2kg of free offerings at any one time, as I saw it as a natural holding area. The bait was the ever-consistent Mainline Hybrid.

I’m not the longest of casters but found an area between two beds of onion weed at about 90 yards straight out in front of the swim. This was good for two reasons. One, I could reach this area irrespective of wind strength and direction and two, being as boats were not allowed on our week, all baiting up had to be done by hand so any further than 90 yards and I would have struggled to get bait to the spot. For this area I weighed out 4kg of Hybrid, which I distributed with a throwing stick. When you actually weigh out a set amount of bait it puts into perspective what certain quantities look like.
It also takes a long time to ‘stick’ out four kilos of bait and leaves you feeling like you’ve just run a marathon.

The rigs were the same on all three rods, Safezone Hybrid clip leaders in clay colour, fished with six inches of Hybrid stiff and a size-four Kurv barbless hook. The hook baits were lightly balanced 20mm Hybrid boilies bored out slightly and plugged with 6mm cork sticks and tipped with a piece of pop-up, which had been soaking in Perfect Peach Goo. At around 13:45pm on the Sunday I opened my account on Gigantica with a sprightly mid-double on the margin rod, it wasn’t a Gigantica giant but a real beauty of a fish and one for the future. This area produced four bites in total throughout the week, including an unknown 36lb common, which I named the Sovereign due to it being so rounded and golden, and a 37lb mirror known as The Unattended. The spooky fact about this spot was that all four takes were always with minutes of the 13:45pm bite time.

It wasn’t until the Thursday morning that the long spot came into play. The hole seemed alive with carp and I was receiving constant knocks and liners on the long rods. It was nerve shredding, as I knew something was going to happen, it was just a case of when. To distract myself from what was happening out in the pond I decided to write the word Gigantica in stones on one of the steps in the swim. I was about to too lay down the final ‘a’ when the middle rod started pulling tight. After a moderate fight I slid the net under another of Gigantica’s pearls. It was another unknown one. This carp became known as Pebbles due to my pebble-based artwork.

Finally, early on Friday afternoon my middle rod signalled another slow but definite take. I lifted the rod and connected with something big and angry! The fight was heavy and plodding and I was under no illusion that I was attached to a sizable fish.
Rob Willingham, who had been with me for four of my bites, and has witnessed hundreds of carp being played, also commented on what might be on the other end. Not a lot else was spoken between us but there was a tension in the air, which was only emphasised but the audible creaking coming from my rod and line. Then disaster struck as, no more than a few yards from the bank, the still unseen beast locked up in a weed bed. I felt sick and Rob and I fell in to panic, what to do next?

Right, the only thing was to get life jackets and get out in the boat; not the scenario I had in my mind but as Rob was about to depart to find said life jackets there was slight popping sensation and a raft of weed hit the surface followed by a huge scaley flank of a common carp! Rob waded out and netted it first time, the relief was unbelievable particularly as it was close to absolute disaster! The Immaculate Common, as it is known, looked stunning in the bright afternoon sunshine and totally lived up to her name. At a smidge under 60lb it is the biggest fish I had ever caught and no words could describe my emotions. I had a great week’s fishing in the company of great friends, all capped off with some stunning carp.”

To book Gigantica, simply give Jon a call on 01268 820440