Mike’s mate tarka returns @ 63lb

History repeated itself for Mike O’Neil as he caught what could be Britian’s biggest living common for the second time in six months.

The giant known as Tarka weighed in at exactly 63lb at the Avenue in Shropshire yesterday [Feb 20], slightly down in weight from when Mike caught it in September at 64lb.

The 43-year-old told Carpfeed: “Conditions didn’t look great so I wasn’t expecting to catch, but it was almost exactly the same as last time.

I fished the same combi rig at 80yds and baited with 10mm Mainline Essential Cell covered in hemp oil and a nut mix.

The rod had been out for 24 hours and the bite was exactly the same – this fish seems to know when it’s hooked. It just pulled the bobbin up to the top and sat there shaking its head.

When it was fighting it did exactly the same as last time. I said to the lads, ‘I know this fish’. We saw it about 30yds out and when we saw its dorsal we knew it was Tarka.”

The communications engineer from the Wirral presented a 12mm Mainline Essential Cell pop-up on a size 6 Fox curved-shank hook to 20lb Korda IQ2 and 20lb Korda Kamo.

Tarka, named after a brush with an otter early in life, is likely to be Britain’s biggest living common.

The Lee Jackson Common in Kent’s Strawberry Fields was caught at 63lb 4oz in 2014, but we are unaware of any subsequent bigger captures.

Benson from Bluebell Lakes in Northamptonshire peaked at 64lb 2oz before its death in 2009, making it the biggest British common ever caught.

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