FL09June - Page 155



The Manor
through the winter too, and we had a
few socials over the cold months
when we were fishing in swims next
to each other. He had been a member
of the Manor for three years, and had
caught most of the big fish in the lake,
but he dearly wanted to catch the
Amphibian. He is a bit of a joker, and
he often used to ring up other members who were after the Annie with
an excited voice saying, “I’ve got her
mate, I’ve f***ing got her in the net,”
just to get a reaction. I had been with
him a few times when he had rung
people up in the past, and he was so
convincing it was hilarious. Well, Saturday the 24th of January I received
one of these calls from George, even
though I had already had the Annie
before. It was just after 12.30pm, and I
was at work when he called. When I
answered all I got down the phone
was, “I got her mate, I’ve f***ing got
her in the net.” I just laughed at him
and told him to stop messing around
or words to that effect, but he said,
“No, I have actually got her, mate.” I
still didn’t believe him, as he was
always doing it, a bit like the boy who
cried wolf. Eventually he actually
swore on his dad’s life, and only then
did I believe him.
As it turned out, he had gone over
to the lake to do a session, and
dropped into The Mum’s swim, which
he had been baiting with the Mach 1
for some time. When he got there, a
large part of the lake was frozen, so he
had to wait for some of it to thaw
before he could get his rods out. Anyway, just an hour after casting out he
had the take, and after a short scrap
had the big girl in the net. At 59lb
12oz the Amphibian was at its heaviest ever, and looked absolutely awesome in the pictures. George was well
due that fish, and if I’m honest it
couldn’t have gone to a more deserving man, so well done mate.
I didn’t fish the following weekend
due to other commitments, but the
following week I was back. It was the
1st of February, and when I left the
house to get on my way there was
light snow falling. I had checked the
weather reports earlier that day, and it
said that light snow was forecast, but
would clear by early evening, so I
wasn’t too bothered. I spoke to a
friend whilst driving to the lake, and
he said that I was mad as it was going
to get worse, but I told him that I had
checked the weather reports, and it
was going to be fine. Around 20 minutes into my journey the snow started
to settle on the dual carriageway I
was on, but me being a stubborn bugger, I was determined to get there and
get the rods out. It took me an extra
hour to get to the lake that night, but
when I pulled up at the gates at just
after 9.30pm the snow had slowed up
to a light flurry again. The wind was
blowing southwesterly up to the far
end of the lake, and I thought the fish
could be up there too. I decided to try
up that end and give the End Pads a
go. This would also give me a good
view of the rest of the lake, as you can
pretty much see everything from up
I sat up and
looked out the
bivvy door only
to see nothing
but white!
there. There was only a light scattering of snow on the ground, so it didn’t
take much extra effort to get the gear
up to my chosen swim. Around an
hour later the rods were out, the bivvy
was up, and the kettle was on. The
snow was still falling, but only lightly,
and it wasn’t too long before I was in
bed and asleep.
At around 4am I was woken by a
strange creaking noise from outside. I
sat up and looked out the bivvy door
only to see nothing but white! The
snow had obviously been falling all
night, and by the looks of it quite
heavily too, as when I opened the
door everything was covered. I
stepped out into a good 6in of snow,
and my rods were completely buried
as I was using short sticks. The creaking noise turned out to be the weight
of the snow pushing down on the roof
of my bivvy! I looked across to the
M25 motorway, as you can see it from
the Manor, and the traffic was at a
complete standstill! It didn’t look
good. After putting the kettle on, I sat
with a cuppa or two waiting for it to
get light.
The snow soon started to come
down again, and I had to make a decision on whether to stay put and possibly get snowed in, or to try to get off
the lake before it got too much worse.
Once it was properly light I could see
that the motorway was moving again,
but only slowly. I made the decision
that I was going to pack up and try to
get home, as it didn’t look like it was
going to ease. I packed everything
down and started to get all the gear
back to the van, but the snow was too
thick to push the barrow through, so I
had to make a few journeys in order to
get it back to the car park. After struggling to get all the gear to the van I
was knackered, but it didn’t end there.
I then had to dig the bloody thing out
as it was completely buried! I eventually got home, but it took me ages. I
did the right thing in packing up
when I did, as the weather just got
progressively worse. All in all it turned
out to be a nightmare session, and I
should have listened to my mate and
Hard work all this photography lark.
FREE LINE 155

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