FL09June - Page 206



From Horton
to Paradise
By Derek ‘Ladders’ Mallows
I
t was Sunday the 18th May
2008, and the draw / BBQ at
Horton Church Lake was to
be held that day. I had booked
the first week of June as
annual leave so I could fish
Horton for the opening week, if I was
lucky enough in the draw. Del Smith,
the Church Lake bailiffs, and all the
lads gathered eagerly around the
lodge for the 2pm draw. I was asked
to do the honors with the names in
the hat, and I had never before witnessed so many keen anglers turning
up for the draw. There were 46, and
with only 34 swims on the lake, my
fingers were crossed tightly for an
early kick-off so to speak, and out of
the hat at number ten will do nicely, I
thought to myself. It was well worth
taking the week off work for, as now I
knew that I’d got a reasonably good
draw.
Saturday 31st May was soon upon
us, and I had a plan in mind to fish the
east bank lodge end of the lake,
depending on where the first nine
drawn decided to start off. There are
three swims along that bank; my plan
was to start off in a swim called The
Slot, and fish in the margins hoping
that with all the pressure the lake’s
residents were about to be subjected
to, a few of them may well decide that
a little munch in the margins was
their best bet. Well that was the plan
anyway, but after five nights and days
in The Slot and no action to my rods, I
was getting itchy feet. The angler
who had been fishing a swim called
The Spindly Tree was going, and I was
thinking of a move there. Bulla, the
assistant head bailiff, had been fishing
the next swim up from me, one called
Pub Pallets, but had since pulled out
from there so that swim had become
vacant as well. So with that I popped
into Pub Pallets just to have a nosey,
and to my delight there were three
large tench with their heads down
and feeding on the gravely ledge. I
took a step back and lo and behold,
206 FREE LINE
three very large carp entered the
swim; two mirrors, one that I instantly
recognized as Merlin, and a good
upper-30 common. They obviously
knew there was bait there, and had
perhaps been feeding on it a bit earlier.
With that I went back to The Slot,
got my rods and bait bucket, and then
placed them in the back of the Pub
Pallets swim. This in turn gave me
plenty of time to up sticks and move
without disturbing the feeding fish,
my train of thought being that if they
could get their heads down on that
shelf and have a good feed without
any lines in the water or being
hooked, all the better for my chances
of a take in the next 48 hours. Once
the house moving was completed, I
was then ready to start fishing in the
new swim. Not wanting to put to
much bait in, I decided to make up a
small bucket of hemp, sweetcorn,
2.3mm pellets and half a kilo of whole
and chopped KG1 boilies. The swim is
aptly named Pub Pallets because it’s
very easy to get to the Five Bells
through the adjoining field. I think it
should be renamed the Padded Cell
because once you’re in it, you need to
have a stealthy type approach as your
fishing under an overhanging willow.
I t ’s a v e r y g o o d s w i m t o d o a n
overnighter in, but not so good to do
three or four nights in – the word
claustrophobia springs to mind.
Anyway getting the rods sorted
was my next task. I didn’t want to fish
the hookbaits where I could see them,
so I had a lead around in the slightly
deeper water under the middle of the
willow, which was approx 6ft to 7ft. I
found one spot to be really solid so
that would do for the right hand rod,
and the left hand rod went slightly
further out in approx 8ft depth. Both
these rods were fished with 14mm
KG1 bottom baits, knotless knotted to
25lb Merlin hooklinks and TFG 48in
Secret Traps as leaders, all joined on
to 20lb X-Line (sinks like a brick and
lies nice and true on the lakebed). I
then scattered the contents of the
small bucket of particles over and
around the two spots, and placed my
hook baits right on the money.
No action came my way on the
Thursday night or Friday morning, so
after a shower then a social with the
lads in the lodge, it was back to my
cell; I mean swim. Time was not on
my side now, as it was my last night.
The angler who had gone into The
Spindly Tree swim was doing really
well, and had landed four or more
carp, I was thinking that should have
been my choice, but you win some,
and you lose some. Little did I know at
the time my turn was about to
come…
After getting the baits back out on
their spots, I chopped up another half
kilo of 14mm KG1’s and spread them
out on and around the two spots. I
knew the tench had still been feeding
up and down the ledge in front of me,
and along the margins to my left and
right over the last couple of days, so
bits and pieces of the bait was being
eaten by them, if not the carp. That
night I hit the sack around 10pm as
the previous six nights were by this
time starting to take their toll on me.
At 2.30am I was awoken by a onetoner on my right hand rod. Once I
had connected with the fish, the fight
was hard but swift, and in the net he
went at the first time of asking. I had
a quick peek into the net and
unhooked the carp, not thinking it
was anything really special at the
time. Then after securing the fish in
the net, I got Vince and Guy round to
help with the weighing and photos.
On the scales he went 35lb, a long
lean mirror carp called The Boxer, a
fish stocked from Thorpe Park and a
much sought-after resident of the
Church Lake.
One week of the new season gone
and I was off the mark with a truly
marvellous fish. My feelings at the
time were to stick it out along the

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