FL09June - Page 140



In Search of Monster Carp
Mary 51lb 8oz, May 1996.
other rod in as well.” It was going out
into open water, into the bay, and all
of a sudden it came up onto the surface. I was playing it on the surface
right out in open water, and he said to
me, “That’s the way Mary fights,” and
I said, “Yeah, I know, but it can’t be
t h a t .” A n y w a y I p u m p e d i t a n d
pumped it and pumped it, and eventually I got it in. He slipped the net
underneath it, and it only turned out
to be Mary at 51lb 8oz! He said, “I
don’t believe it – you come here for
one bloody night.”
A n y w a y, I t o o k a f e w p h o t o s ,
slipped it back, and I’ve never been
back since. It’s funny because the first
time I caught Mary was on July 4th at
45lb, the second year I caught it, it
would have been July 4th but it was a
leap year so it was the next day, and
the third year I hooked and lost it out
of the North Lake, when I was fishing
right by Nat West Sailing Club off a
place we call the Turfs. There was a
nice sandy bar off this island, and I
had been out in the boat and put a
load of tiger nuts out there. I put my
140 FREE LINE
bait out there, and it was hot – I just
had swim shorts on. It was mid-afternoon; I had this screaming take, and I
hooked into this fish, which went off
like an express train. It came up on
the surface, and it was going through
my mind that that was the way Mary
goes. Eventually it kited in and I could
see it. Because I only had my shorts
on, I waded out, and I was further out
in the water than the fish. I could see
it, and I thought it was too big to go
under the bushes, but it went underneath, and came out again. I thought
to myself, it’s mine – it was just like
leading a dog on a lead, and bugger
me if the hook didn’t pull. I was gutted, but I’m convinced that was that
fish again.
That was the last time I went to
Wraysbury, and after that, or in
between, I was fishing Horton and the
Island Lake at Kingsmead. It’s funny
because I got permission to go out to
the islands on the Island Lake at
Kingsmead before they allowed other
people to fish off them. I got to make
a few spots on a couple of the islands,
but the most interesting thing was
going around in the boat and trying to
find different spots. It was in what
was the closed season really, about
April time, and it was gin-clear in
places. I would go for ages and ages
without seeing a fish, and I could see
down into 12-14ft of water. I’d bait up
a spot, go back a day or two later, and
all the baits would still be there; it
was disheartening. You think to yourself it’s great to have a boat, but
sometimes it can be disheartening; I
could even see where the swan mussels had been going along the bottom
like. I only fished it for a few weeks,
and I think I had one or two small carp
out of there, but I never saw any monsters. I know there are one or two
there now, but at the time I didn’t see
them.
I had my little boat, and I mean it
was a good little boat, but I can’t
swim. I got out there one day, and I
wish I’d had a mobile phone. The first
time I went out onto one of the
islands I was with Del Smith, and we
went out on a great big boat, which

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