FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 43



Going Hell For Leather
spoken a couple of days before, and
Tim had commented on how he had
seen a fish in the reeds where I’d
fished. He described it as a large fish
that was grey; he couldn’t be 100%
sure, but he thought it was The
Leather, and how right he was!
Lee arrived with Jack and Chloe in
tow, and I lifted her out, making sure
her fins were flat, and laid her down
gently on the Nix mat. I doused her in
water and held her up as Lee clicked
away on the digital. Luckily we took
some with a flash, as the light was
nearly gone, and then I got in with her
for a few water shots. I gave her a kiss
on the nose and thanked her for the
memories I’d collected whilst in pursuit of her. As quickly as she’d arrived,
she was gone, back into the depths to
her rightful home.
I didn’t need to do the night. I felt
strange, like a huge weight had been
lifted from my shoulders, but also that
it would never be the same fishing
there again. I dragged all my gear up
the hill, threw it in the back of the
motor, and was just about to close the
boot when I heard a loud crack! I was
dismayed to see the tip snapped off
the rod I’d just landed The Leather on,
still with boilie attached. “Ahh, balderdash,” or words to that effect! Friday
13th had come back to haunt me! At
least I would know which rod I’d had
her on after I fixed it! So much for all
that bait too. £200 worth of bait rolled
up and ready to use, and I’d bagged
her on a readymade! At least I had
something decent already rolled for
my next target!
To commemorate the fact that I’d
had her, I asked Treena for a portrait
to be done. A local artist named
Robert Frederick, known for his work
with animals and family portraits, was
approached. He had done a portrait of
Rascal before, which was quite stunning. After talking to him, he was
quite excited at the prospect of drawing a fish and captor, and the results
of the oil painting were mind-blow-
ing, it was near-on photo quality, and
it’s only when you get close that you
realise it is indeed a painting, and is
something I look at everyday day with
affection and pride.
So that was it; a campaign spanning over three years, with around 60
captures including 28 30’s and five
40’s, and I’d finally achieve my goal. A
closed chapter in my fishing book,
although having a close affinity with
the lake for so long, it was a part of our
lives. The Blackwater syndicate beckons, along with the possible return to
the Ringwood pits to settle some old
scores! I would like to thank Treena
for her love and support she constantly gives me. Callum’s growing up
fast; he will soon be three, and I can’t
wait to be able to introduce him to
this wonderful passion that we all
share – an appreciation of the outdoors. Hopefully he can savour and
enjoy our pastime its various guises,
and also importantly, recognise our
proud English heritage. Keep it real. n
My obsession, The Leather 43.5.
FREE LINE 43

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