I returned back to Farlows the week after catching the big girl and could tell word had got out that she had been caught as the lake was much busier through the week than normal. On arriving at the lake in the afternoon, I had a good walk around, not seeing much fish activity until finally I saw a decent sized lump lop out near a fallen willow tree in the end of the arm swim. I was not 100% sure, but it looked like one of the Italians. After seeing that fish lop out and seeing a couple swim through the channel into the back bay, I decided to set up in the end of the arm swim, where I’d caught the biggie the previous week.
With most of my fishing being short 24-hour sessions due to boxing commitments, it was great being able to squeeze out a 48-hour session this week. I think my last 48-hours was a good 12 months ago. On getting the rods out, I stuck one in the back bay, one to the left off the main swim where I saw a lump lop out of the fallen willow and I found a nice little gravel spot right off the main swim for my third rod at about 40 yards where I knew fish had to pass through to get to the far islands.
It took only 14 minutes until one of my rods was away. It was the rod I saw the decent lump jump out. Praying that it was one of the Italians, I got it close and could see it was a lively low double but as black as my hat. She was a stunning little character as I slipped her onto the unhooking mat, removed the hook and slipped her back on her way. The rest of the day was uneventful with me losing one on the willow tree rod to a snag, At this point I was slightly obsessed with catching an Italian and I was even writing it all over my Facebook.
The next day came quicker than usual at Farlows with not much happening through the night. I managed to sneak out two small commons through the night on the back bay rod but that was about it. As the bailiff popped up I found out the whole lake was fishing slow, which made me feel a little bit better and less eager for a move. It was about 10am when I received my next run, which was a scraper 20. Within 30 minutes I managed four fish, with all three rods seeing action. Talk about switching on to feed! Nothing really big but every fish is welcome.
As the day was ticking away, my hopes of catching one of the famous Italians was fading away when at around 6:00pm my left rod to the fallen willow was away. As I bent into it, it felt heavy but solid as the fish kited across towards the island. It was a good 10 minutes until I managed to get the fish in front of me with the thought in my mind that this could be one of them. Moments later, as it rolled on the surface in front of me my jaw hit the ground and my legs began to shake as the fish gave away its identity. ‘Get in the net… Italian!’ I shouted to myself as I slipped the net under her.
I could not believe my luck. Straight away I knew it was the Small Italian but phoned good friend Ben O’Connor to confirm it was her by her markings. She went 26lb 6oz on the scales, a bit down in weight, but the weight meant nothing, it was the fish I was after. She looked absolutely awesome for the camera, with some real dark distinctive colours. As I slipped her back, I thought to myself ‘one more target left, one of the original big commons, lets see what the night brings’. Just as I slipped her back and watched her swim away, my back bay rod roared into life with a hard fighting common at 19lb.
The rest of the evening was quiet and it wasn’t until 01.30am when I received a one toner on my back bay rod. As I hit into the fish I knew I had hooked into one of the better fish. With the weed getting worse in the back bay day by day, I refused to give the fish an inch, which paid off and I kept the fish near the surface for most of the fight. It was about 15 minutes later when I eventually managed to slip the net under her. As I switched my head torch on and looked into the net I could see it was a good fish, it wasn’t until I lifted her up and onto the mat I could see her real size, a real long common with a thick set of shoulders, as she went onto the scales she was bang on 28lb. I slipped her into a sack and back into the water to get a few shots and have a better look at her first thing in the morning.
I managed three more fish throughout the night, all out of the back bay with the biggest being a 21lb mirror. It was 6.00am when I decided to get shots of the long common I had waiting in the depths of the margin. As I popped her onto the mat it wasn’t until I unzipped the sack I realised how special she was. She was a common known as the Middle Patch common and one of the originals, I was left speechless as I got a few shots of her. What a session! Two of the nicest and sought after carp in Farlows caught in one session. I was over the moon as I packed up later that morning ending the session with 13 carp. But I still have one box to tick on my ‘to catch list’, one of the big commons.
Find out if I manage to tick that final box in my next blog.
Until then tight lines and be lucky,