Britain's biggest-ever common completes historic double

Britain's biggest-ever common completes historic double

Britain’s biggest-ever common has been caught – by the same man who caught the second-biggest UK mirror.

Chris Caddick caught Tarka from the Avenue in Shropshire at 64lb 6oz. That’s four ounces heavier than the previous biggest common, the now-deceased Benson from Bluebell Lakes.

 Chris Caddick with Tarka at 64lb 6oz - its new top weight

Chris Caddick with Tarka at 64lb 6oz - its new top weight

The 48-year-old, who has been a member of the Rob Hales syndicate since it opened eight years ago, also caught the infamous Big Rig twice from the same lake.

The controversial giant mirror, which weighed 71lb 4oz at its peak, was transferred to the water from a stock pond at a high weight and, on that basis, was denied an official British record before it died last summer.

Only the freakishly distended 83lb 4oz Wingham mirror, which is also now dead, has ever topped it.

“As far as I know,” Chris told Carpfeed, “I’m the only person to catch a 60lb mirror and 60lb common in this country.”

Chris’s initial encounter with Big Rig came in the wake of its high-profile first capture and so the financial advisor decided to release it unweighed. He caught it again in February 2017 at 69lb 12oz.

 Chris caught Big Rig in September 2016 but didn't weigh it...

Chris caught Big Rig in September 2016 but didn't weigh it...

 ...then caught it again the following February at 69lb 12oz

...then caught it again the following February at 69lb 12oz

“It’s just such an amazing place,” said Chris of the Avenue, “There are probably maybe one or two other 60s in there too.”

Reflecting on the capture of Tarka, Chris said: “It was a strange bite, one that makes you wonder if it was a line bite or not. The bobbin tightened up but it didn’t take any line.

“It’s not known for putting up a massive scrap and at times it was like reeling in a dead weight. When I saw it roll as it went in the net I knew which one it was.

“There’s another big common in there called Ellie, which I’ve had three times, so I looked at the tail and was so glad to finally have Tarka. He was massive and I knew straight away it was over 60lb.”

 Tarka is the biggest common ever caught in the UK

Tarka is the biggest common ever caught in the UK

Chris arrived at the venue on Thursday morning and got the bite at 7pm on Saturday, having left that rod in place for 12 hours. He said: “You have to be as stealthy as you can on there. Once your rods are in position, you leave them.”

Tarka fell to a homemade corkball pop-up made from a bit of paste Chris admitted he had “scrounged” from venue boss Rob Hales, who feeds the fish with his own Edge boilies. It was taken over about 2kg of maize, pellets and matching boilies.

Britain’s biggest commons by top weight

  • 64lb 6oz – Tarka, the Avenue, Shropshire
  • 64lb 2oz – Benson, Bluebell Lakes, Northamptonshire
  • 63lb 4oz – The Lee Jackson Fish, Strawberry Fields, Kent
  • 62lb 8oz – The Burghfield Common, Burghfield Main Lake, Berkshire

Britain’s biggest mirrors by top weight

  • 83lb 4oz – The Big Plated, Wingham, Kent
  • 71lb 4oz – Big Rig, the Avenue, Shropshire
  • 68lb 1oz – The Parrot, Wasing Cranwells, Berkshire (official British record)
  • 68lb – Captain Jack, Holme Fen Meadows Lake, Cambridgeshire*

    *Initially weighed at 68lb 8oz before scales check. The same fish was also caught at 68lb 5oz/6oz (two sets of scales) but the captor wished to remain anonymous