Britain's biggest living common bottoms out scales

Britain's biggest living common bottoms out scales

A day session he wasn’t going to take turned into a memorable trip for Matt Timmins as he banked a common that bottomed out his 60lb scales.

“I wasn’t going to go as it was my father’s birthday,” he told Carpfeed, “But I had a funny feeling about it and thought I could go for a day and come back early. I’m glad I did now!”

Matt caught Tarka, the biggest fish in Rob Hales’s Avenue lake, at well over 60lb. A weight of 61lb 10oz was recorded, but the dial on the scales still had more to travel.

The fish, named after a brush with an otter in early life, has weighed as much as 64lb, making it the biggest living common in the country. Only the late Benson from Bluebell Lakes has ever gone bigger.

Tarka pulled the scales round to 61lb 10oz, but its true weight is unknown

Tarka pulled the scales round to 61lb 10oz, but its true weight is unknown

Matt, from nearby West Bromwich, has now caught the three biggest commons in the lake.

The 33-year-old told Carpfeed: “I got there quite late, about 10am, and had the place to myself.

“I went to an area where I’ve previously caught fish at this time of year, but then I saw a fish show in the middle of the lake. I thought about moving but ended up staying put.”

At 2pm, Matt received his only bite of the short trip.

“At first it was like a bream bite, a constant up and down on the bobbin, but there are no bream in there so I thought it might be a pike in the margins.

“I plodded over to the rod and wound down and the rod hooped over. From then on it was just crazy – it stripped 30, 40, 50yds of line on its first run and I started to panic. There’s a bar in the middle of the lake and I was thinking ‘please don’t cut me off’.”

Fifteen minutes later Matt eventually tamed the fish and saw its distinctive tail flop into the net.

“I never saw the fish until it came up right in front of me,” he said. “When I saw it was a common I thought it was [a 50lb-plus fish known as] Ellie again, but then I saw its unmistakable tail.”

With Rob Hales off site and no access to bigger scales, the fish was weighed on 60lb dials that were capable of spinning just beyond their limit.

“It was so heavy I could hardly hold it up,” said a delighted Matt.

The fish fell to a Retro Baits’ Shropshire Gold wafter over matching freebies. Matt used a size 6 curved-shank hook and a fluorocarbon hooklink attached to an inline lead.