Soon after, Head Bailiff Jamie who fishing nearby and had heard the commotion, came over to lend a hand too. I gazed into the net and I could feel the energy drain out of me – I genuinely didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. All those blanks were finally put to bed.
Jamie and I transferred the colossal common into the sling and onto the mat that was floating in the water. We carefully made sure she was safely cocooned, with all her fins laying flush to her body, and proceeded to distribute the weight between us and negotiate the steps out of the cramped swim and onto higher, flatter ground. He had already said before we got her out “that’s a fifty” and gave me a proper hug, and it was awesome that he was genuinely happy for me.
We unhooked her and we then set about weighing and photographing my new personal best. On Friday 13th of all days, and weirdly almost to the day 6 years on from my long-standing personal best of 46lb 4oz. The weight was recorded as 52lb’s and I was utterly blown away. This was true Welly magic.
Many thanks to Jamie, as he did a sterling job on the buttons and we returned the most sought after common in the lake, the ‘Chestnut Common’ back to the water no worse for wear.
Soon afterwards Lewis popped down to congratulate me (“fair play”) and I went into the night buzzing, not being able to sleep a wink. Nevertheless, I was off early the next day with a spring in my step having ended my blank run with what is unquestionably my greatest capture to date and hardest earnt fish for sure.