Commons: too clever to catch

Some of angling’s biggest names have revealed why a percentage of our largest and most mythical carp have never been caught...and it’s simply because they are commons.

Last week Angling Times lifted the lid on ground-breaking research carried out by a team of German professors who delivered concrete evidence that proved common carp ‘wise up’ to anglers’ baits and rigs much quicker than mirrors.

And former British record-holders Chris Yates and Lee Jackson have added weight to the theory.

Both anglers join a growing list of well-respected names that include Matt Hayes and Rod Hutchinson who believe it is no coincidence that angling history is littered with huge ‘uncaught’ commons.

“This research hasn’t surprised me one bit. I firmly believe that common carp are more instinctive and brighter than mirrors because they are genetically closer to their wild cousins,” said Chris, who set a British best with a 51lb 8oz mirror taken from Redmire Pool in 1980.

“Redmire is still rumoured to hold a massive common known as The King, which is far bigger than my record fish. I was lucky enough to see it seven years after it caught Rod Hutchinson’s eye in 1972. It has never been caught and I believe it has never been seen again.

“I’ve fished a 40-acre syndicate which holds some commons that defy belief and have never been caught. I’ve seen them four times in 17 years ¬ that’s how sly they are.”

Lee Jackson caught the mirror called Two Tone that holds the current British record of 67lb 14oz, in 2002 when it weighed 61lb 7oz and has also seen a huge ‘uncaught’ common that has become the stuff of legend at Conningbrook in Kent.

“It seems too much of a coincidence that all the huge, mythical fish you hear anglers talk about are commons,” said Lee.

“Waters that hold massive carp are seeing more and more anglers, and the fact that these fish are hardly seen and never caught makes you think anglers are missing a trick.”

Gordon Howes runs the popular St Ives complex in Cambridgeshire ¬ a place fished by the cream of UK carp angling. He admits to being ‘blown away’ by the cunning that his stock of massive common carp displays to elude capture.

“I’m convinced that common carp have an intelligence that is far superior to mirrors,” he said. “We have a group of big mirrors in Meadow Lake that are followed around by some huge commons that have never seen a landing net.”