Salmons takes down Tyson

Korda-sponsored James Salmons has an incredible start to the summer with a brace of massive commons. Here’s how the Nottingham-based angler landed two 40lb-plus target fish in just one day…

This lovely dark mirror was one of three smaller fish caught during the same session

The fish were really on the bait...

After a good first year on my syndicate, I came back this spring still hoping to bag one of the lake’s bigger commons, which was the only thing that had eluded me up until that point.

Luckily, I hit the ground running and started to get amongst the fish pretty quickly and, since then, I’ve had what I can only describe as the best spell of fishing I’ve ever had!

I managed to catch one of the lake’s A-team towards the end of April and it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. By staying as mobile as possible and moving on to fish as soon as I felt I needed to, the spring just kept getting better as each weekend passed by and I added a few of the lake’s other prizes to my tally.

By early May, my attention was solely focussed on two specific fish that were due out. Unfortunately, they both came out a week apart and left me hoping that one of them would make another appearance before I left the lake for a summer away. Both fish are lovely commons, but out of the two I’d thought my best chance was the smaller one as it comes out a little more regularly than the lake’s largest resident, which can be a very random fish. So it was this one that I thought may give me the perfect end to an already brilliant spring campaign.

On my latest session I arrived at the lake at 3.30am in order to watch the water at first light. Not much happened but I did notice a few fish show next door to my mate, so I dropped in there and got the rods out. After getting the rods out I watched the fish show over me for a fair amount of the day but I had no takes.

The next morning my mate was away so, seeing as the swim had fish in front of it and I knowing the area well, I decided to move in behind him. The swim also gave me a few more open water options.

During the morning, I’d noted fish showing on one particular area out in front, so as soon as possible I had a quick lead around to locate what was out there. This is something I like to do if I can get away with it as I believe finding what feels like the feeding spot amongst an area is the place that I want my rig on.

Rig choice for the session was the old faithful multi rig. Since I’ve started using it I’ve done really well on it - I like the fact that it’s such a simple rig to tie and it tends to present itself over most bottoms.

Another important aspect is the fact that I can change hooks quickly. As I sharpen my own, hook points can easily burr over on the retrieve or when I’m lucky enough to catch a fish. When I do catch, I want the rig back on the spot ASAP and this is easily achievable when I can just slip on a new hook. Fished in conjunction with a lead clip and anti tangle sleeve, I find that I never suffer tangles either and this removes all doubt as to whether the rig has landed correctly or not.

The one thing I’d noticed during the recent weeks was the weed in the lake had started to really come up and this area was no different. I did, however, find a small, hard silt spot amongst the light onion weed so I placed one bait here and two out in open water in-between a bigger weed bed.

The next morning at 3.30am, I had a take on one of the open water rods. The fish came in among a mass of weed but I managed to net it with no dramas. Just as I was picking the weed away from it I heard a ping behind me. Just a few seconds later, the clutch on one of the other rods that I had dropped off the alarms to keep the line down started peeling and I was in to another fish! Luckily I managed to set up a second net and get it in without any mishaps. The resulting brace of commons weighed in at 23lbs 2oz and 19lbs 8oz.

As I knew there was a decent wind coming in later in the morning, I took the chance to re-do all the rods and stick out a couple of kilos of bait over the areas. Just as I was doing the last rod, the wind started picking up and I sat back happy with the morning’s work and waited for the wind to increase, which it duly did.

At 11.30am, the rod on the silt spot tore off, resulting in a lovely 25lbs 8oz mirror. I got the rod back out straight away and then left them out as there was no need to disturb the swim - something that I think is very important once the traps are set.

During the last hour of light I saw a few fish show straight over the open water rods. One looked a real good fish too. A pair of tufties also went down over the area only to leave in a blind panic so I knew something was kicking off down there. I went to sleep confident.

At 3am, an open water rod pulled up. As I leant in to the fish, I thought it was in solid weed as it felt like a dead weight coming towards me that was making me earn every inch of line. After five minutes of winding, the fish came to the surface 20 yards out and wallowed. It sounded like a lump and what’s more, I could see no weed on my line whatsoever. I managed to net the fish soon after and as it went over the cord I realised it was indeed a good fish.

I looked down in to the net and it took me a while to work my way through all of the fish that it could be… leaving one! It couldn’t be - surely?! As I rolled the fish on to its side for the final time, the reality hit me, it was the lake’s big girl! I stood there repeating it over and over, “I’ve got her!” – a moment that I’ll never forget.

I hoisted her up on the scales to record a massive weight of 49lbs 14oz, which blew me away! The fish, known was Tyson, looked so impressive and huge under the torchlight. I quickly slipped her into a sack and then sent out a message to everyone. This resulted with congratulatory phone calls straight away! I sat there buzzing and drinking coffee, waiting for dawn to come around.

When I opened up the sack, the first thing that was apparent was the carp’s condition - it was immaculate in every single way. I just looked down on it in awe. The other thing that was apparent was that the fish had been well on the bait as it was all over the sack! With the shots done and the boys doing me proud, she bolted off back in to her home.

The rest of the day was spent on a massive high and sleep was hard to come by. Seeing as I was off home at 2pm, I thought I’d get my head down. That didn’t last long I was awoken at midday by the sound of a huge fish clattering out in the waves. My mate called just after but the phone call was cut short as the rod on the silt spot absolutely roared off!

The fish felt big straight away and kited on a long line. When it surfaced 30 yards out, I could see that it was a big fish - as it slipped in the net I knew my day had got even better! I thought the fish was the other one I desperately wanted at first but I soon realised it was a recapture of the fish I’d had in April. I weighed her for the record at 44lbs 9oz and had a couple of quick returners as I slipped her back.

I drove home that day absolutely shattered, but absolutely ecstatic - what a result!