The biggest common carp in the country made a full-moon appearance to eclipse all James Coleman’s expectations.
“I can't describe it in words, but I was buzzing and smiling – what a creature!” said James after catching the 57lb 3oz beast from Kent’s Strawberry Fields.
The West Sussex rod timed his 24-hour session to coincide with a full moon and added: “I do believe in this moon phase, especially for big commons, and I had a hunch this would be the time to go fishing at Strawberry as there are a couple of big commons in there that were due out.”
James arrived for his session at 9am but kept his lines out of the water until he had sussed the fish’s patrol routes. Having baited with PVA bags of crumbed RG Bait 365 boilies and pellets he finally cast out as evening approached.
He said: “At around 11.30pm I had a take from a margin rod but it was only on for around 30 seconds before it unfortunately bumped off. I wasn't too disappointed as I took it as a positive the fish were feeding in the very bright full moon.
“At 4.55am I received a few bleeps before the fish tore off from the zone I had been baiting the previous day. To be honest it felt like a small fish and I played it as normal, then I saw the tail rise up and saw it was a common.
“Thinking it was a good twenty, I continued to play it and then it powered off to this bush that dangles in the water. I managed to turn it but then it kited left to right and when it did I saw a distinctive mark on the side of its body and I realised it was the big one!
“After 20 minutes she rose up to the surface and the huge size of it was unbelievable.”
The fish, known as Lee Jackson, fell to a trimmed-down 12mm Nash Scopex Squid pop-up on 5ins of Rig Marole Camo Hydro Link and a size 10 Gardner Mugga hook.