If you’ve followed my fishing over the last few years you’ll know all about Big C from Emmotland and how it has been a bit of a thorn in my side. I’ve fished the East Yorkshire venue on-and-off since 2010 in the hope of catching the big common but it’s somehow managed to avoid me. I’ve never knowingly lost it but I’ve been through all of the stock (which totals about 70 fish) numerous times, including all of the A-Team members and one particular fish which I’ve had ten times!
I won’t deny it’s been a bit of a frustration trying to track down Big C. I even started to believe it was the one carp of my career that I was destined to never catch. However, I’ve stuck with it and kept on plugging away whenever I could get on the venue. It isn’t like a syndicate where I could just keep on fishing whenever I wanted to. It’s an open access venue which gets booked exclusively by small groups of anglers.
I’m fortunate in that I have an open invite from the owners to fish it whenever it’s free. I don’t visit much in the spring and summer as it’s quite busy, plus I’m usually elsewhere but my syndicate was closed because of spawning and there was no-one on so I decided on an overnighter. Big C can be a bit of a funny fish, sometimes only getting caught once a year so I wasn’t full of confidence. The lake had been fishing quite slow since the beginning of May when Big C made its first appearance since last summer.
I rocked up around 6pm on the Sunday night and headed straight for the swim that gives access to most of the water. It was clear that a lot of the fish were in the middle area as they were active around the thick weed beds. I saw one or two good fish showing, and with the stock having at least five good thirties and around twenty 25lb-plus it looked good for a decent fish.
I have a couple of ‘banker’ spots I always cover and I put these out first, then dropped a third rod close to where the majority of the fish were showing. I never use four rods on the lake as it’s only three acres and I like to keep pressure to a minimum. However on this occasion I put a fourth out on a spot which has done me the odd fish in the past. All four rods were baited with a scattering of 20mm Key Cray before I settled down.
Due to the activity of the fish I was surprised I didn’t catch in the night, and I was woken at first light by the first sound of my fourth rod absolutely ripping off! The fish hit the surface straight away and then went on a couple of hard fast pulls. It didn’t feel big but when it went on a couple more powerful surges to the right I started to think differently. I then saw a big golden flank when it was in the margins to my right trying to bury itself into a reed bed. It was at this point when I began to wonder if it was at last Big C.
A short while later my suspicions were proved correct when I saw the irregular scale on its left-side flank as it broke surface just in front of me. Surprisingly I remained calm as I guided it to the net a short while later. It didn’t actually begin to sink in until I had it on the mat and I started talking to it! I was sure my face was a picture as I had a massive smile on it all of that day. In fact I still have today as I write this a few days later.
The big common weighed in at 42lb, but in all honesty the weight was irrelevant. It was only a low-thirty when I first set out to catch it eight years ago and I’d have been just as happy to catch it at that weight.
It fell for a single 20mm Key Cray bottom bait straight out of the bag. This was fished on a size 6 Fang Twister hook, stripped 25lb Combilink hooklink and 4½oz lead. I completed my set up with a 12ft Nash Toro rod and BP 10 Big Pit reel loaded with 15lb D-Cam line.
A massive thank you to Andy and Julia Kitchen who own Emmotland, and also to Jamie Martin who helps run the complex. Big C has made me one seriously happy northern carper and yet again it was one of the amazing Key baits which did the business for me.