FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 123



Wellington Boots and Waders
Wow. Can you imagine this one when it’s over 30lb.
where near me it exploded on the surface and went off on long powerful
runs across the surface pushing itself
through the waves. The line was
singing, and all I could think about
was the fact I had a bloody gudgeon
hook on. It didn’t matter what I did I
could not get the fish anywhere near
me, and I was also struggling with the
net. God, I would hate to hook the Turtle when the water was warm and it
could fight properly! It was the most
frightening fight I have ever had in my
life, and after an absolute age I finally
slid the net under a huge framed fish
that looked like it might have been
the Turtle, as I thought I saw the outline of a hump behind the head just
before I lifted the net.
I stood for a while and wanted to
compose myself before looking into
the net at what I thought was going
to be the Turtle. I turned my head
torch on and peered in, but it wasn’t
the Turtle, it was the Big Common,
and she looked huge. I knew I had
finally broken a PB and caught what I
had always been after; I just didn’t
know quite how big she was.
Thoughts of the Turtle had gone as I
had caught something that I felt was
an even greater prize. She didn’t just
look huge, she felt it too, also and
once I had unhooked her and placed
her in the sling and onto the scales I
wasn’t surprised to see the them go
past the 40lb mark, settling on 40lb
12oz. I can remember putting the
sling back down on the mat and
shouting as loud as I could, “Happy
Christmas to me!” I sacked her up
and then started to make the phone
calls. If anyone was asleep they
wouldn’t be for long, as I had just
caught a 40-plus January common.
Tim had heard all the commotion
and had seen my head torch on and
phoned to find out what was going
on. I relayed the news and found out
that he had indeed caught, having
landed three I believe, with the best
being Lumpy at around 38lbs. I
phoned all and sundry, and woke poor
old Ken Beech who was trying to get
a few hours sleep before his long
drive down from Stoke in the morning. I told him he had no choice but to
get into the van, come down straight
away and chuck ‘em out because the
big old girls were on the feed. Ken
being Ken, and from up north, he is
well hard and arrived at the lake a few
hours before sunrise, but wasn’t interested in fishing, just sitting with me
and waiting to see the common. He
had his gear but left it on the barrow
until after the pics were done in the
morning. Leon had now decided to
move around also as he hadn’t caught
fishing into Bramble, and it was obvious that there were a few fish down
this end of the lake.
Andy had also come around to do
some pics, and before I took the sack
out I packed all of my gear away as I
was still being sick, and Andy said he
would give me a lift back to the car. It
took a while for me to pack away as I
kept nipping into the bushes, until I
finally got the mats and water ready
for the commons photo call. I felt so
proud as I removed the sack from the
water and placed her on the mat. On
revealing her flanks when I unzipped
the sack, the sight was greeted with
all kinds of expletives from the crowd
with cameras.
She behaved as good as gold,
almost as if to say, “Look, I’m over
40lbs and I deserve a good picture to
be taken.” I finally managed to get
home by mid-morning but fell sicker
and sicker as the day went on, and
within 24 hours I found myself back
on a hospital ward. Still, what a way
to start 2007! n
FREE LINE 123

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