FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 88



Tale of Three Fifties
them half on I hopped over to the rods
and struck while the indicator was
jammed into the bite alarm and
instantly felt the power of the fish on
the end as he went on a blistering
run. After an age with the fish making
several runs, me feeling the power of
it, and the mainline taking a battering
on the stony margin riddled with
mussels, he was starting to tire. After
a moment’s panic with my net getting tangled in some marginal brambles, I got it free and managed to net
my first Belgian canal carp. I then
finally slipped my boots on properly
and grabbed my headtorch to see my
prize. This long, big-framed fish filled
the full width and bottom of my net.
I got myself together and hoisted
the fish onto the waiting mat, then
unhooked and weighed it. The needle
went just past the 56lb mark on my
56lb Nash scales! I settled on 56lbs
4oz, as the needle looked to be about
that much over, maybe a tiny bit
more. I ran down to the guy set up by
sluice 5, and he duly came up and
58lb.
88 FREE LINE
gave me a hand with the photos. They
were not the best, but we did the best
we could in the darkness. I think I
needed to hit the gym, as I’d not held
a fish of that weight before and struggled to be honest. It was too early in
the night for me to sack for that long,
and so I was glad to slip him back,
shake hands with the Dutch guy for
assisting me, and then put the kettle
on for celebratory cuppa, and tell all
my mates what I’d just caught – truly
unbelievable to me. Sadly this fish
died in 2013.
Tale of the Second
Fifty
The following year I had already done
a trip during the spring, and had been
very lucky in catching four fish to
39lbs, one of them being a 34lb common coming from the 4-5 stretch on
the KK. I had bumped into Jo again,
and he couldn’t believe what I was
showing him on my camera – two
nights and two fish on this hard
stretch of canal where anglers have
gone for years without a bite. The first
two nights of the trip, I fished a different canal, the VK, but without any
success. I had baited up the 4-5KK on
each afternoon, planning to move the
short distance on the third day of the
weeklong trip. I placed my left hand
rod on the far margin where I’d
caught the 56 this time last year, and
the right hand rod on the nearside
margin to my right where I’d caught
the 34 back in the spring. It gave me a
lot of confidence knowing I was fishing both rods now on productive
spots. I also placed a small handful of
baits at several intervals along the
canal’s margins. My thinking was to
get the fish confident on the baits
before reaching my hookbait and
making a mistake. The weather was
milder and a lot wetter this autumn
but a lot more carpy.
Just after midnight I had an aborted
take on the close-in margin rod. I
wound in and everything appeared
fine, with the hook still sharp. Nothing

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