It been a tough one for me this year, with very limited time on the bank due to work and family commitments but I have managed to catch a few with what time I’ve had.

One week in particular was very productive for me where I found myself chasing a fish that has eluded me for many years, a carp known as the Chinese Common. I have fished the lake for many years and had most of the residents that swim in there, but this one has never graced my net.

With my wife due to visit her side of our family I decided to start baiting the extremely weedy lake the week before, hoping to clear a spot ready for the next week. I also raked it on the first visit, as the surface weed would have been almost impossible to get a rig into.

The area of the lake I chose was the wider end, which is a bit deeper. Due to the water levels being very low it was only about 3ft at the deepest, I suppose the lake must have been at least 3ft down from its normal levels. I baited the area every other evening leading up to the first night, putting in about 2kg of boilies on each occasion, and on arrival the first night it was no surprise to see fish fizzing on the spot!

After the fish drifted off I put two rods on the spot which happened to be next to a big area of floating weed, each primed with a wafter on a lead clip set up and a size 4 Mugga hook on my favourite ‘German Rig’. I actually use this rig for all my bottom bait fishing; especially as the spot had been polished, I knew this set up was going to be perfect.

Within no time I was bent in to a very angry carp that was tearing from one weed bed to another until it slowly came in with a rather large bed of weed over its head. On this occasion it turned out to be the baseball-bat common weighing just over 20lb.

The remainder of that night was pretty manic! I think I landed 5 carp and 2 bream for my efforts and at first light I was off to work for the day! Bearing in mind my wife was up north for the week, I still had 4 more nights in amongst work collecting the dogs each evening from home to then drop them back on my way to work it was going to be a bit of a grueller!

The next two nights went pretty much the same, with numerous fish gracing my landing net. I managed to bag the big mirror that was down in weight at around 32lb. I had caught his particular fish back in 2011 at 23lb so it was very pleasant to see it doing so well!

On the 4th night I managed to see the one I wanted only 5ft from the spot. This gave me great confidence for the last two nights but unfortunately it was not to be as the next two nights slipped by and although I snared 11 more fish to show for my efforts the common was not to be seen and still today, at the beginning of January it has still not made a visit to the bank! She has been seen on many occasions so that’s one I might try for again in the spring if I see the opportunity. Otherwise I have enjoyed a slightly different type of fishing this year catching two 40lb catfish on the fly rod, something I nether thought I would do but it was great fun! Right now I find myself walking the banks of the Thames searching for a monster chub as the weather is turning a bit colder. Now we have started the New Year it won’t be long until I will be visiting the lakes again in search of some mega carp.

Good luck to you all in 2019!