During the first couple of years that I fished on Wellington Country Park I mainly concentrated in an area called Bramble Bay, but after seeing The Big Common getting caught several times form out in the main body of the lake it appeared I needed to change my approach. In fact, I can remember one of the old members saying to me “bait heavily and The Big Common will come”, which was handy as I love a baiting campaign!

Looking back, I was lucky enough to see this fish on the bank two or three times and every time I just thought “Wow, what a fish!”. After that I decided that I would love to have that fish in my photo album, and that it was time for a move to different swim.

Instead of continuing my campaign in Bramble I decided to fish Goose Point, because it controls a lot of water. To the left you can fish the channel that cuts through to the little lake, and there is an expanse of open water out to the right, making it an all-round good swim. In the end I mainly fished Goose for three years, along the way I was lucky to land a load of fish which was brilliant, but in the back of my mind I was still aware that The Big Common hadn’t come!

So, it was back in 2018 and I had just started my last season fishing on Wellington Country Park. I still had a few fish on my most wanted list, fish that I dearly wanted to get my hands on. These were The Linear, Willow, The Big Sutton and top of the tree was the Big Common!

carp fishing build up big common welly scenic

Throughout the year I was steadily catching, mostly from Goose, that by now had firmly become my favourite swim on the lake! There used to be a lot of friendly banter about me being in Goose, but at that time if it was empty, I would be in there like a shot!

It was the end of July, and I turned up to find Goose was occupied by a another member so I walked over to have a look in the Finger Arm, and as I had a little peak in this long narrow bay I could see that there was a few carp milling about right up at the top of the arm.

After putting the rods out on Friday afternoon, I was hoping the fish that were present would move back down the arm, moving over my traps. Where I had seen the fish earlier is a sanctuary for them as you can’t fish for them due to it being too high risk. Sometimes they would stay down there for weeks!

Friday night went by without any action, but after quietly walking down at first light, to see if the fish were still tucked in the safe area down the bottom of the arm, I was relieved to se that they were still there. Armed with this knowledge I elected to stay put and leave the rods be and sit and wait for them to visit maybe.

Throughout the day I kept seeing the fish come closer, inching towards my areas. Saturday night went by without success, but the fish were very active, boshing out regularly during the night, so I was hoping that Sunday morning would be the time I would finally find myself doing battle with one.

Sunday went by very quickly, probably because I was still seeing the fish milling about, which is always exciting. Not long after 5PM the right rod bobbin dropped back a little bit and then I saw the GT-HD line just starting to pick up! Finally, I was away, and the fish went bloody crazy. Eventually, I manage to coax the fish within a few rod lengths when it suddenly hit the surface. Straight away I knew it was The Linear, and my knees were knocking as my bottle was well tested – and then it went mental again! After 10 minutes or so I had her under control again, finally teasing her into the net and just stared at her in the net. To be honest I was speechless and a bit emotional. I left her safely in the net and sat on my bedchair and calmed myself down a bit and to myself that’s her ticked off the list. We popped her on the scales, and she went 44lb, which was a decent summer weight for this fish. We did the pictures, treated her and we popped her back. That meant that I now only had 3 more of the A-team left to catch! The 2018 season was an enjoyable one on the park lake, with great carp and good friends.

A new season came around, and with it a new plan for 2019. I felt that I really needed to do something different this year if I was going to complete the list. There was the added factor that that I only had until the end of May, when the ticket ran out, so time wasn’t on my side.

In the end I decided that I would try the other end of the lake, where The Big Common, Willow and The Big Sutton had been caught in previous years. It was March and I did a few sessions with no success. On the last weekend I had fished 1 night in The Wides swim and blanked and I wasn’t feeling it in there at all. After packing up I pushed my barrow past Animal Farm and stopped to have a look in the marginal snags. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw 10 fish milling about including some right lumps! I was supposed to be heading home, but I just had to stay. After putting one rod on the snags and the other two in open water it was game on! It was the next day, Sunday 31st March that I had a 31lb common from the snags in the morning. The move paid off!

Now I was in a bit of a dilemma. Do I pack up or do I do Sunday night? Well you can guess what happened, and I stayed that night. Nothing happened that night, but I had all day and the following afternoon I landed a 34lb common from open water. That was very welcome. The thing was, over the two days I was in the swim I had seen so many fish showing over in front of Secret Boards and all along the margin towards me I knew that the following weekend I needed to be in Boathouse and if that was to happen I could not share my sighting.

The next weekend I was lucky and dropped straight into Boathouse. It’s not a swim I have fished much but I already knew the areas that I needed to fish from my observations the previous week. I fished one over towards Animal Farm near where the I had caught the fish the previous week, and I made certain not to forget the area in front of Secret Boards, which I call the willow spot. I baited both spot very heavily with mixed 16 and 20mm Essential B5 boilies and manage to catch a 34lb mirror and a stunning 44lb mirror from the willow spot, so was very happy with that, as I’m sure you can imagine.

The following weekend I did the same as the previous weekend, but this time had no fish. On the next week I got down on Thursday 18th April. I had 3 nights ahead of me, plus it was my birthday weekend too. Luckily, I got back on boathouse and did the same as previous weekends – baiting the areas heavily. I felt certain that something was going to happen, which was mind blowing. On the Friday, at around 5.30AM I had a crazy battle with a fish I hooked from the willow spot again. Could this be Willow, I thought to myself. After 15 minutes and of one of the hardest battles I’ve ever had the battle fish dropped into the net and it was a common and it was the biggest thing I had seen! Deep down I knew it could only be one of two fish, either the Small Tail Common or the Chestnut common. We did the pictures and it was the chestnut common at a new PB of 57lb 14oz! She was a re-capture and it had not been out for 20 months. Wow!

carp fishing build up big common 57lb common

The following day, once again off the same spot, I landed the Two-Tone Ghostie at just under 50lb. What a birthday session that turned out to be.

The following week I got down late Friday afternoon and dropped into a nice open water swim called Lauries. I got my camp set up and had walk around the lake , bumped into a guy fishing The Wides where we had a tea and a chat and I mentioned that I was going to put a rod over towards the Lodge at short range. He said that he had fished that area before and it as productive. So, after getting back to the swim I put rods out, 2 in open water and one over towards lodge as planned. I went for it with the bait on the short area, catapulting round 4kg of 12mm and 20mm B5’s over the area. To be honest I wasn’t feeling all that confident because I wasn’t too keen on the swim but come midnight it all changed with a take on the short rod. As I lifted into the rod I looked down and the bobbin chain had wrapped around the line because it had been such a savage take. Somehow, I managed to get the chain off the line and put it into my pocket. The week before, when I had captured The Chestnut, I thought that was a hell of a scrap, and this fish was just as bad! It went absolutely crazy. I finally managed to get the fish under control and bang in the net and looked down in the net to see another monster common and I knew which one it was!

There was nobody around, so I unhook the fish in the net, transferring it into the retainer and then carefully lifted the fish out, supported in the retainer, and lowered it onto the mat. Then I weighed it and took a picture of the beast in the mat with my phone of one side, then popped it back into the retainer and gently back into the water! I sat back in my bivvy, had a look on my phone at a picture of The Big Common when someone else had caught it. I compared the two images and there was no doubt at all, it was her, weighing in at 55lb. I was shaking and couldn’t believe that I had finally had the opportunity to hold that fish in my hands, after 5 seasons angling on Welly.

carp fishing build up big common big common

That was it, I had now caught all of the A team of commons and now only needed The Big Sutton and willow of the A team left to catch. Well after that capture of the common I was just going through the motions with only 2 more trips to go. On both those sessions I had fish, but the last couple evaded me and after 5 fantastic seasons it was time to move on…

Gardner Products Used