FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 82



Urban Legends…
A baiting pole is a great edge on a canal.
ing point off the main canal. I made
my way to the water’s edge and I
froze in disbelief. My eyes bulged and
were out on stalks… There basking
next to one of the boats was a carp of
epic proportions. It must have
weighed in excess of 35lbs easily! It
was a thickset black mirror that just
hung there motionless, without a care
in the world! From the corner of my
eye it was joined by two smaller commons. All were in excess of 20lb, but
the big black mirror dwarfed them.
The commons were light in colour. I
was feverish with excitement, and I
nearly wet myself when a huge battle-scarred common made its way
through the gap of the marina and out
into the main canal! The common
was well in excess of 30lbs, and I just
couldn’t believe what I was seeing!
These were easily the biggest canal
carp I had ever seen by some considerable margin! Suddenly I heard
someone shout, “Oi! What are you up
to?” As I looked around, the marina
security guard was making his way
over. I quickly hopped back over the
fence and made my way off up the
towpath… but I knew I’d be back!
Over the next few weeks I couldn’t
get those fish out my mind. They
occupied every thought, so a few
weeks later I found myself on the
towpath opposite the marina. I fished
three overnighters without so much
as a gudgeon farting, but at night I
could hear them crashing in the
marina opposite. You couldn’t cast far
82 FREE LINE
enough into the marina, as there was
a bridge that went over the entrance,
just high enough for the barges to
pass under. It was heartbreakingly
frustrating, as I knew what was in the
marina, but I couldn’t get to them! I
was sitting at home one night and
couldn’t get these canal monsters out
of my mind when suddenly I had a
brainwave (a rare event)…
It was my fourth visit to the “monster marina” when I put my plan into
action. I arrived just on dark with my
brother and cast onto the bank opposite. I slackened off my drag and made
my way up to bridge, 50yds to the left
of where we were set up. We crossed
the bridge, and I jumped the marina
fence, leaving my brother the safe
side of the fence. My brother passed
me the baiting pole, and I made my
way to the little bridge that went over
the entrance to the marina. My
brother followed the fence towards
the little bridge, and he quickly found
my lead. He attached my rig/stick and
made his way to the little bridge and
waited for me. I shipped out the baiting pole under the bridge out towards
the main canal. My brother put my rig
and handful of Tor Baits Squid and
Tangerine in the spoon and made his
way back to the rods. I slowly eased
the pole back under the bridge and
glided it to the side of the first boat
where I stealthily deposited my rig
and bait right next to the boat where
I had seen the monster mirror! I made
my way back out the marina in full
stealth mode and down over the main
canal bridge to meet my brother stationed at the rods.
We sat there and giggled like two
school children at our mischievousness! It took several hours and we
were into our fourth brew when suddenly the tip flew round and the
receiver vibrated in my pocket! I was
fishing locked up with 15lb Pro Gold,
and I just held on for dear life. It takes
some conviction not to give any line,
and my heart was in my mouth. The
Fox Warrior rod was bent double and
my little Shimano Baitrunner was trying to give line, even though it was
fully tightened. I clasped the spool
and dipped the tip below the water. I
had watched the match guys do this
at Drayton reservoir to gain control of
large carp on their light setups. It
worked a treat, and I managed to turn
her. The entrance to the marina
rocked as the fish came through the
gap to our side. I raised the rod, and
she spent the next five minutes sending up huge boils and vortices in the
torchlight. Up she rose, and we
caught our first glimpse of her, a pale
common that looked every inch a
good 20. My legs had turned to jelly,
and I just prayed the hook wouldn’t
pull. I needn’t have worried, as a few
minutes later, up she popped, and I
led her over the waiting net!
“ YES ! ” I s ho ute d i n c o mpl e te
ecstasy! She was mine! We peered
into the net, and we could see that
she was indeed a good 20. My bro
sorted out the mat, scales and camera, as I was shaking from the adrenaline that was coursing through my
veins. We lifted her onto the scales,
and at 25lb 2oz she was my new canal
PB. I was buzzing and smiling ear to
ear as I held her up for the camera.
She was a wonderful; almost ghostlike in colour with not a scale out of
place. As I slipped her back I thanked
her for making me one very happy
carper! It was a fantastic feeling, and
although I knew there were bigger in
there, I was just so happy to have
caught such a wonderful carp.
I did indeed go on to catch my first
canal 30 from here on one summer’s
morning, but that’s another story for
another time. My brother is currently
targeting his first canal 30 (or possibly
bigger) so I can only disclose the
night picture of my 25lb 2oz common,
but watch this space… It just goes to
show that canals do hold some truly

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