With only 14 fish to go at Spitfire Pool in Norfolk isn’t for the faint hearted. Run by Rich Wilby of Airfield Lakes places to fish the legendary water are very much sought-after. It isn’t a syndicate or an open ticket as there are only 12 weeks a year when anglers can fish there. You book a week and that’s your lot until the following year when you are invited back.
All of the carp have an amazing pedigree with most residents now over 30 years of age. The two everyone want are the Long Common and Wood Common which are both very close to the 50lb barrier, but every fish you catch from Spitfire is very much hard earned.
I was so looking forward to my trip but I knew from talking to others who had fished there before it needed a bit of sun to get them moving. There had only been four fish out in the three weeks leading up to my trips so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. To just land one fish was all I wanted.
Bait for the trip was the ever faithful Key Cray which I did so well on last year. I chose not to bait heavily as it was early spring and the fish were likely to be picking at food rather than heavily feeding. Just a few freebies around the hookbait was all that was necessary, with me opting for simple rigs made from size 5 Fang Twister hooks and 25lb braided rigs and 1½oz leads.
Although the weather wasn’t very warm, I couldn’t believe how well things started when I was into a fish less than hour after putting the rods out. I knew there were only three commons in the lake so when I saw the common scaling heading towards the net I hoped I’d got lucky. It turned out to be the smaller of the three commons at 30lb 8oz but I was mega happy to have my first fish in the net.
It’s fair to say the commotion of the fish sent every other carp into hiding. The lake went quiet for a few days before they came out to play again. I ended up cocking up by chasing them too much, but I did sneak out another fish weighing 32lb 8oz before my trips came to a close. Known as the Italian, it was a hard fighting mirror which put up a tremendous battle on the 9ft 3lb Scope I was using. I ended up having to go out in the boat to net it because it just wouldn’t give in.
I’ve always been of the opinion that small waters like Spitfire are the toughest to tackle. The carp always know you are there so to get a couple of fish this spring from a tricky little water like this was enough to put a smile on my face. I’m now counting down the days to going back again next year as I’d love one of those two big commons in my album!