Kingsmead 1 – The Up Front Com­mon

Carpworld - - HORTON COMPLEX SPECIALS -

Be­fore join­ing the Hor­ton com­plex I had spent years fish­ing wa­ters in the Ox­ford area, be­fore mov­ing over to Yate­ley, where I fished Sand­hurst, The Match Lake and South Lake, be­fore join­ing Swan Val­ley. There were plenty of com­mons caught along the way but the mag­i­cal 40lb com­mon had al­ways avoided me, and to catch a com­mon of that size is some­thing that I had wanted to do since my ear­li­est fish­ing days. The larger com­mons al­ways ap­peared a bit wil­ier than some of the larger mir­rors on a lot of venues and, from ex­pe­ri­ence, tended to be trick­ier to catch for one rea­son or an­other. Pretty much ev­ery venue had that ‘big com­mon’ swim­ming around that some an­glers favoured over the mir­rors – and the Hor­ton com­plex was no dif­fer­ent. The Up Front Com­mon from Kingsmead 1 was one such crea­ture. It was a fish that was moved from the Hor­ton Back Lake in 2008. It was be­lieved to have been moved from Wrays­bury af­ter the Red­mire com­mons were stocked there and were deemed pests with many end­ing up be­ing moved to sur­round­ing wa­ters. The UFC is the king of Kingsmead 1 and prob­a­bly one of, if not the most dif­fi­cult of com­mons to tar­get be­tween the two main lakes. How­ever, the fact that be­ing a male fish its weight was con­sis­tently over 40lb, meant I had a feel­ing this was my best chance of catch­ing a 40lb com­mon.

At the time I was fish­ing K1, an­other an­gler, Greg El­lis, had re­cently joined as an RK Leisure gold card mem­ber. Af­ter hear­ing the story about his frus­tra­tion of try­ing to catch the UFC while stalk­ing, and the way it was able to avoid his rig

The sec­ond year on Vaux­hall saw me land 32 fish, pos­si­bly half the stock at the time, and it was no co­in­ci­dence that this rig had played a sig­nif­i­cant part

on more than one oc­ca­sion, it gave me the idea of us­ing a rig that I had used back on my days on Vaux­hall Pit (Stan­ton Har­court). Five fish a sea­son was seen as a good year on there and, af­ter fish­ing for a year and only catch­ing one fish, I came up with a very ba­sic but small stiff rig which, in my own twisted logic, would be very dif­fi­cult for any fish to eject. The sec­ond year on Vaux­hall saw me land 32 fish, pos­si­bly half the stock at the time, and it was no co­in­ci­dence that this rig had played a sig­nif­i­cant part and was go­ing to be my ‘go-to’ con­fi­dence rig for catch­ing the UFC.

It was July on K1 and I had been mon­i­tor­ing the UFC from the Kingsmead Bridge, reg­u­larly vis­it­ing a shal­low reedy area close to a swim called the Heli­pad. It seemed oc­cu­pied on the roots of the reeds, pos­si­bly feed­ing on snails or other nat­u­rals that lived there. It was look­ing big and I knew if I could get a rig to that area there was a chance it might slip up. I man­aged to sneak into the Heli­pad one warm, muggy even­ing shortly af­ter­wards, and with thun­der­storms in the air, the pres­sure drop­ping and a new moon, it looked ab­so­lutely prime for a bite or two.

The next 48 hours was one I will never for­get. In the rain, storms and glo­ri­ous sun­shine that fol­lowed, I landed 11 fish, in­clud­ing two 40s, one of which was the UFC. I re­mem­ber the bite very clearly. It was dark and, by that time late even­ing, and I had just no­ticed and could make out that there was an el­derly lady stood on her own on the K1 bridge look­ing down into the wa­ter be­low. It was al­most dark, so what she was do­ing there or look­ing at I will never know. How­ever, within sec­onds of me notic­ing her, the rod tucked down by the reeds ripped off and I was into an an­gry fish that dived straight into a huge weedbed. I moved it from weedbed to weedbed and, af­ter pulling in a huge ball of weed and net­ting it, I put the rod down and tracked the line down into the mid­dle of net. What­ever was on the end was def­i­nitely in the net and, af­ter sift­ing through the weed, I un­cov­ered a huge bar of gold. I knew in­stantly it was the UFC and 43lb 12oz of Bri­tish UK com­mon carp was mine, and my child­hood dream had been achieved. The lady on the bridge, how­ever, was nowhere to be seen!

In the rain, storms and glo­ri­ous sun­shine that fol­lowed, I landed 11 fish, in­clud­ing two 40s, one of which was the UFC

TOP Kingsmead’s Up­front Com­mon – a rare vis­i­tor to the bank and one of it’s finest carp to boot

ABOVE Look­ing up the full length of Kingsmead 1 in the height of sum­mer. At this time of year, it can pay to treat it as a one-rod swim

LEFT The Kingsmead 1 bridge

LEFT Sun­rise on Kingsmead 1 in the Grav­elly

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