You’ll struggle to find a more perfect first visit to a venue than the one enjoyed by Dave Pullin, who just two hours into his debut session at the Bluebell Lakes complex landed this 51lb 8oz common.
The Perfect Common is one of the most sought-after fish at the famous East Midlands complex and lives in the 12-acre Swan Lake – a water known for being notoriously difficult.
With little prior knowledge of the lake and living over fours away, Cumbria-based Dave called on all of his watercraft skills to tempt the huge common.
He explained: “I hadn’t planned to be fishing that week but after doing so much overtime at work I took some time off and headed down to Bluebell for three days.
“Swan was always the lake I wanted to fish but after having a walk around I could see there were quite a few other anglers on and I might have had to go elsewhere.
“Luckily a guy was packing up in a swim just where I wanted to be - right on the end of the wind.
“I was so exhausted I just wanted to sleep, but after seeing a couple of fish roll I soon refocused.
“Not wanting to cause too much disturbance, I cast two bottom-bait rigs and a zig out towards the area where they were showing after being told that the lake had a fairly uniform depth.
“Two hours later one of the rods was away and the fish flat rodded me from the start.
“I was certain it was a catfish from the powerful fight, which took me through the swim of the angler next door.
“Eventually it surfaced and the chap from the neighbouring swim scooped it up and confirmed it was a proper lump. He the said, ‘I think it’s the Perfect Common’, and I started shaking in disbelief.
“On the mat it was so impressive - it certainly deserves its name!”
The remarkable fish fell to Dave’s own Covert Baits dumbbells, half a Fruit Special and half a Garlic Lobster.
These were presented on a multi rig with a size 4 ESP Cryogen hook over 2kg of freebies and mixed particles.