Rob's Big Common - Rob Willingham

Having secured a week off work before joining Korda, I thought it only right to spend a few nights on the bank in search of a lump or two. My first port of call was to be St Ives Lagoon in the hope of meeting the colossal Fat Lady. After spending the first night there the fish decided to spawn so it was time to leave and there was only one place that I going to spend the next three nights, Snake pit!

I’d already made a start on the lake in the hope of catching the much sought-after Snake Pit Common. Although I was only about a dozen or so nights into the campaign, I couldn’t help but feel close already as for some strange reason there didn’t seem to be many anglers putting in the time down there. I thought that this was strange as she was so due to come out having not been caught since early the previous autumn.

After a quiet first night and a wander around the lake to try and locate some fish, a move was on the cards as it was obvious that the fish were spending a lot of time in the weed beds situated just off a large set of snags in one corner of the lake. After carefully locating a couple of small clear spots among the weed, the rods were positioned and baited in the hope of intercepting the fish on their way out of the weed that evening.

The following morning produced a lovely mid-twenty mirror and it wasn’t long before it was time to repeat the process of re-baiting the rods for the night ahead. The conditions couldn’t have been much better with a lovely warm south westerly blowing and lots of low cloud cover, perfect big fish conditions!

Only a few hours had passed when the right-hand rod signaled a powerful take. The fish proceeded to take line at will upon me picking up the rod. Straight away I had a very good idea which fish was responsible for such a powerful run and just prayed quietly in my head that everything would hold firm. Thankfully, the fish stayed high in the water, just kiting on a tight line and generally feeling very heavy! After a few more tense minutes I had her wallowing on the surface before my mate engulfed her in the net first time.

Even though it was dark we both knew exactly which fish it was but nothing could prepare us both for what we were about to see upon shining the head torch in the net- she was huge! We weighed her in at a whopping 46lb 4oz, which given the fact she had already successfully spawned was a bit of a shock! Apart from a couple of damaged scales from said spawning ritual, she was immaculate and looked awesome for the photos in the early morning light.