FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 209



Making The Most Of It
impressive bow wave through the
surface. The fish was way out beyond
the worst of the weed but I really
never felt in control until I slowly
began to get some line back and the
carp started coming toward me. It
was all looking good until suddenly I
had that awful jammed-solid feeling,
and the fish became stuck fast.
N e v e r m i n d, I w a s b y n o w a n
accomplished carp-landing boat-man
and I was soon out there and above it,
carefully hand-lining it in an inch at a
time. This one was really stuck and I
was almost at breaking point when it
began to rise and I managed to get
hold of the lead core, now knowing it
was only four feet below. I had felt
several deep head-shakes, so I knew I
was still attached and this one was
not happy at being pulled from its
weedy refuge. I let go of the line and,
on retrieving the rod, wound down
and bent into the huge ball that was
slowly, almost painfully, ascending.
Suddenly, the tip slammed down and
the fish powered off, free from the
weed and tacking hard to the right
but with my line still going through a
huge clump of floating weed. As the
fish shot off in the upper layers I had a
clear view of the shining purple plates
of the big linear. When I say ‘big’, I
mean it. It looked massive and I
started to have a little wobble then,
praying aloud that it would stay on. I
managed to haul it back into the
weed-ball still clinging to my line, but
I couldn’t then get any control from
the boat as I swung round and round,
never seeming to be facing the right
direction. I think knowing what I had
on certainly didn’t help and although
I had had this fish before I certainly
wasn’t going to shake it off!
Several deep vortexes appeared,
but eventually I had him floundering
on the surface, but I was totally
unable to reach it with the rod right
back behind me and my other arm
extended. Time and again the net
came up agonisingly short. I was
praying aloud at this point to anyone
who would listen, as the fish lay there
confused at what I was trying to do. It
all seemed to happen in slow motion
as I inched the net below it and tried
to get the fish moving closer. Slowly,
more and more of its bulk was over
the net and I went for my chance.
Dropping the rod and lifting the net
with both hands as it tail wrist
dropped inside, I let out the victory
cry and didn’t dare let go of the net in
case the fish would somehow escape.
Exhausted, I wrongly thought it
was all over until I had to somehow
row back to my swim with one paddle
and this fish in the net beside me. I
swear it was swimming against me as
payback, because it seemed to take
an age to get back to the bank. I bit
the line, folded down the rod and, on
attempting to lift the fish ashore, I
knew I’d caught a personal best. I
placed it in the sack and called a
friend who was there in a few minutes. Together, we placed it on the
scales which flew round further than I
had ever seen before. The trembling
needle of the Reubens settled on
48lbs 2oz of awesome linear, and a
great send-off for my final session
before the new baby arrived and ate
my fishing time. I added a 26lb common that night, before loading the
boat and rowing back for the last time
this year. My thoughts since have
been of the big one which was larger
than the linear. How big? Well, who
knows, but one day I really, really
hope to be giving you the exact
answer to that one. n
FREE LINE 209

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