FL09June - Page 192



In Search of Monster Carp
Winter on Sutton.
there’s still all to play for. I’ll just keep
plodding away until the end of the
season, and hopefully one or two of
the big ones will come my way.
As Rob just pointed out, I forgot
one of my most worthy captures.
Over the Christmas period we’d
arranged for Nigel to come down to
Sutton. He’d never fished Sutton, and
I said to him why don’t you come
down on Boxing Day and we’ll do a
48-hour session over there, which he
was more than up for. I remember
meeting him down there on Boxing
Day, and it was blowing a wicked
easterly wind; it was bloody freezing.
I was walking Nigel round, just telling
him which areas each swim controls
– not too much about what was out
there. We went down into an area
called the Lawn, which this easterly
was blowing into, and we both came
to the conclusion that this wasn’t
where we wanted to be; we wanted
to be on the back of it. So we were
walking round a little bit more, just
taking him through a few more of the
other swims, and we ended up along
the Twins bank. As it was Nigel’s first
session, he said, “Where do you want
to go, John?” and I said, “Look, I’m not
bothered. You choose and I’ll slot in
either side just for a social.” So he
chose a swim called the Unknown.
There’s this one swim on Sutton that
I’ve never had a bite out of; I could
never get a sniff. I’ve been on fish, but
I just couldn’t get a pick-up, and it
was a swim called the Twins. So with
Nigel going in the Unknown, the next
one to him was the Close In, where
192 FREE LINE
you’d basically be fishing either side
of the snag, which I didn’t want to do,
so I went in the Twins.
I remember setting up in there, and
it was just a mad session; everything
went right, from the bank sticks and
bivvy pegs going in, and you just get
that funny feeling. I can remember as
I was setting up, I said to Nigel,
“We’re going to have one,” and he
was smiling and I said, “No, no,
believe me, we’re going to have one;
one of us is going to catch.”
So I walked over and he said,
“What’s out here John?” I said, “A lot
of silt.” He had a bit of a lead about,
found a couple of areas that he liked,
and I went back into the Twins.
Although I’ve fished Sutton for many
years, every now and again I will still
use a marker, just in case there’s
something I’ve missed, or there is
something that is not normally there.
There’s a swim called the Rambler
opposite the Twins, and there are two
bars our there. Everyone who fishes in
the Rambler fishes over the bars, but I
thought I would try it from the Twins.
I went round with the marker into the
Rambler, putting it out to the back of
the bar, but fishing it from the Twins,
so rather than the line going over the
bars, it was fishing parallel to the
back of it. So after mucking about for
about half hour, I found the back of
the bar, and got a rod out there, which
just left the left hand rod. I knew a
couple of other little spots, and as I
was dragging the marker up onto this
hard gravely patch, I remember finding something that wasn’t normally
there. There was a lot of pea shingle
behind this area, and then you locked
up onto the main gravel patch. So I
was more than happy with what I had
just found, and I put a rod straight on
it. Considering it was Christmas and
it had been quite cold, I put about 50
baits around each rod.
We were having a cup of tea and a
chat, and I was starting to get liners,
fierce liners up to the butt and down
again, and this went on all evening. I
was getting non-stop liners on the
right hand rod, but I hadn’t had a blip
on the left hand rod. However, at
about 10pm, the left hand rod was
away to a nice slow take. I picked it
up, played it, and got it in, and it was
a nice low-20 mirror, which was a
nice Christmas present. That would
do me, and Nigel was happy that he’d
seen his first Sutton fish. I got the rod
back out there, and we had quite a
good social that night; a few of the
lads were down, and we got a nice
Indian and build up a bit of a fire. We’d
had a lot of tree work done at Sutton,
so I wanted to start clearing some of
the offcuts, so we had a bit of a bonfire and crashed out about 2am.
At about 10am, Nigel, not to be outdone, had a bite on the chods and it
was a nice 24lb mirror, so he was
happy, and we’d both caught one. I
was still getting liners, and about
11am, I had another take, and as I
picked the rod up, it fell off. I couldn’t
work out but what had happened, but
when I got the rig in, the hook had
caught round the leadcore, so I think
all the fish had done was pick up the
bait and move off with it, and as soon
as I leant into it, the mouth opened
and that was it. So we’d had one
each, and an aborted take. So after
putting the rod back out, I put another
50 or 60 baits round it.
We were all sitting round by the fire
that night; I was still getting a lot of
liners on the right hand rod, and about
5pm, I had an absolutely fierce take. I
went running down, and was playing
this fish, and I remember at the time it
was fighting a bit weirdly. It was sort
of boiling up, and no sooner than it
had boiled up on the left, it had managed to zigzag to the right – it was a
really weird fight. Anyway, this went
on for about 20 minutes until my mate
Steve got it in the net. Over the years
I must have photographed this fish for
so many people, and I remember looking at it and someone saying, “It’s the

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