FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 101



International Virgin
watched the water until the first
barge came chugging through the
early morning mist.
I then felt I needed to pack up,
change clothes, and get all cleaned
up. I went into town to get some more
food, and I decided it was time to
have a go on the quiet stretch for a
night or two. On arriving, I kept
myself as quiet and low as I could,
and set up behind some brambles. I
set my traps on both rods on the near
margin pre-baited spots, I then placed
the backleads on the line, and set
about getting what I could dried out
from the night’s rain, now the sun
was shining through the gaps in the
tree canopy above. I put the kettle on,
and could sit back and relax. The
barge traffic was lighter on the KK, so
I could do some fishing in the day.
Only an hour had gone by when my
right hand rod was pulled round
viciously with the line being ripped
from the spool. It was my first take of
the day. I hesitantly picked up the rod
and struck, but the fish just powered
off and kept going and going and
going – I could only hold on. After
about ten minutes in the clear water I
could make out a long common,
twisting and turning. I dropped my
other rod out the way, as I knew I
would have to, and the fight went on
for some time. My arm was starting to
ache, so I had to switch the rod from
one arm to the other to keep up the
pressure – I must be a wimp. I kept
getting the fish into the margins, only
for it to power off and down the shelf
out of sight. This happened about half
a dozen times – this was hardest
fighting fish I’ve ever hooked; it was
one angry powerful fish. Eventually
the pressure started to tell on the fish;
it was starting to make shorter runs,
and eventually I got its head out of
the water, when it turned on its back
and into the waiting net –
yessssssss!!
It was a long, dark common, which
you wouldn’t have said no to catching
out of an English lake. Once on the
mat, I could see it was trailing another
rig, so I dealt with that first, and then
removed mine. I felt pleased to be
able to remove the rig. The fish was
showing some signs of damage, so I
treated those areas, and got the fish
into the weigh sling, with the scales
registering 34lbs 2oz. I then lowered
the fish back into the canal, where it
powered off and soaked me in the
process. An hour later Jo, who I’d met
on the previous trip, parked up behind
me as he recognised my motor. We
talked for some time, and I showed
him the photos of the mirror from the
previous trip. He laughed, as he
thought when he left me last time
that I must be mad coming over from
the UK and doing only a couple of
nights on this stretch, as my chances
were slim. I then let him know I’d just
landed my second carp from the
stretch, and showed him the pictures
my camera. He just shook his head,
and laughed some more. He then
showed me pictures of the big common he’d had in the spring from the
same stretch at 57lbs – it was just
stunning. We then bid each other
good luck, and he set off to a lake
close by. Nothing occurred that night
for me, but I was well happy with the
r e s u l t s s o f a r. I p a c k e d u p a n d
decided to return on my next trip – I
don’t want to be pushing my luck
after all. I popped into to see Jo, and
he had not faired any better, but then
the lake he was fishing was no
pushover either. I returned to the Dessel Canal for my final night of the trip,
but it was an anti-climax with not a
single bleep all night. I packed up
early and headed back to Dunkerque
and home, yearning to return soon.
It wasn’t long before I returned for
my third trip last year. I headed over
on the first Sunday of October, and it
rained heavily all the way. I went
straight to the quiet stretch, where I
baited those two spots again. Then I
was off to the Dessel, and set up for
the first night. The rain was relentless
all night long. I set up at the same
place I’d fished on the last trip under
some horse chestnut trees, but they
I have KK 6-7 to myself.
were now falling on the bivvy and
into the canal with their prickly shells.
I thought, this cannot be a good sign
for the fishing. I found a couple of
areas clear from the tree canopy, and
put some bait in. I also put some more
bait in on the KK before heading off to
Mechelen to meet up with work
mates for some lunch, but I was quite
eager to get back fishing again, so I
bid them all farewell. The Dutch couple, Eggy and Nicole, who I’d met on
the last trip, were setting up on the
entrance to Sibelco, so I popped over
to say hello and to see how they were
doing. Then I set off to get fishing
myself. I decided to give the quiet
stretch a go, as I wasn’t sure where
else to go. I really wanted to bait up
for another night or two, but light was
already starting to disappear. At least
it wasn’t raining anymore. I placed my
left hand rod on the far side, where I’d
caught the mirror the year before, and
the right hand rod on the near margin
where I’d taken the long common on
my previous trip. Both were fished
with black Amnesia knotless knotted
with bottom baits, air-dried then
soaked in canal water, and a quick
lucky dip in choc and orange dip.
Just after midnight I had an aborted
take on the close in margin, I wound
in and everything appeared fine, with
no damage or marks to the hook or
hook bait like you can get from small
fish. Nothing else happened during
the night, and once the first barge
came through I dropped the other rod
onto the near margin for the day as
well. I was sitting there just trying to
picture the big common that Jo had
FREE LINE 101

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