FL09June - Page 81



In Search of Monster Carp
A couple of nights later, there were
a couple of nights when this group of
big fish moved in. I had been for a
meal in Pierre’s restaurant; we were
living on nothing on the bank, just
stale bits of bread and all that, so
every three days we would treat ourselves. Well in the restaurant were
Johnny Allen and Albert Romp with
some of the Germans. They were having a right old party with bottles of
wine all over the place, and they were
all a bit worse for wear, like they normally were every time we saw them
in those days. But it was the first time
I had met Albert, and I remember he
leaned over, wobbled about a bit, and
said, “Have you seen the shoal of
big’uns yet?” I said, “No, no I haven’t,”
thinking, Christ Almighty, what’s he
been on? It’s stuff of dreams, old
wives tales and that, a shoal of
big’uns. Well I went back after that,
and this shoal of big’uns turned up in
front of me! I knew the first time I saw
them, or rather heard them, because it
was during the night. I didn’t actually
get a run, but this fish crashed out
and woke me up. In fact when I woke
up I thought, that couldn’t have been
a fish, because the sound it made was
just too big, but then I saw the ripples
coming into the bank, and I thought,
Christ that must be a fish. So I went
down on the little beach and sat by
my rods, and then there was another
fish, and another one, and they were
all massive. It’s the old story; they
sounded like cows falling in, but
that’s just what they sounded like – I
had never heard carp like them jumping. So I got all my rods in, re-baited
them, and put them out expectantly,
thinking this is it; it’s going to go off in
a m i n u t e. B y t h e t i m e t h e y h a d
stopped jumping, it had started to get
light, I was still sitting there waiting
for it to go off and it hadn’t happened.
But this shoal of big’uns was there.
The last night of the session was
the second night that this shoal was
there. Well, I don’t know if it was the
same shoal of big fish, but there was a
group of big fish, and they were jumping. I thought oh, it’s probably going
to be like the other night; I’m not
going to get one. I had fallen asleep,
and the next thing I remember was
the spool just screaming on one of my
reels. I had these little reels, they were
Ryobi something or other 3.5’s, and
they didn’t have a baitrunner, but
they had a clutch that you could
adjust from the back. I just remember
waking up and hearing the noise of
the clutch going, running down the
beach, and in one movement,
grabbed the rod and got straight in
the boat. That was the thing to do,
and I just got towed out into the lake
by this fish. If you could get them over
deep water before they hit the snags,
it was the thing to do, and I remember
my line grating and thinking oh God,
here we go. Then it come free, and I
ended up out over the deep water in
the middle, and it was flat calm. It was
midnight, and I just had this thing on
the end pulling me about all over the
place, and it was just an amazing
experience, because I was alone in
the north arm. There was no one else
there, just us two, and it was silent;
there was no sound from anywhere,
and all I could see was the village up
the end of the north arm, and all the
little lights twinkling. That was the
May 1987 I was back at Cassien, and bumped into Pete Jones and Travolta.
FREE LINE 81

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