FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 102



International Virgin
shown me on the previous trip. Jo
was due to pop down in a couple
nights’ time, and I was thinking of
sending him a text, asking him to see
if he could drop off a picture of the
common to keep me motivated and
spurred on for this and future trips.
Just before the light started to fade, I
baited up around six spots with just a
few boilies for a couple of hundred
yards to my left on the near margin. I
then got my left hand rod back out on
the opposite margin, and topped up
the spot with around six baits just to
its left. I left the right hand rod alone,
but topped up with some Perfection’s
Choc and Orange boilies, Dynamite
Tigers and Hemp.
Just before midnight the left hand
rod was away with a slow but steady
take. I struck into the fish sideways as
I was using back leads, felt the fish
instantly, and the rod took on its battle curve. It felt a powerful fish, but did
not fight like the previous two fish. It
took a few runs, but I got the fish into
the margins quite quickly. Then the
fish came alive and got caught round
my other line. I flicked the bail arm
open on the offending rod, kept the
pressure on the fish, and slowly I
made progress. It looked like a common, but it was so dark I wasn’t 100%
sure. With some difficulty I got the fish
into the net. I had problems lifting the
net, as it had snagged on a bramble
bush and was being held down by the
(Top) 28lb12oz – first from KK 6-7.
(Right) Last evening on the last trip.
102 FREE LINE
other line. I put my knee on the landing net handle and stretched for my
head torch by the bivvy. I bent over
the side of the canal, flicked on the
head torch, and it hit me suddenly
that I had just landed the big common
– it just swallowed up the bottom of
the net. This was surely going to be
my biggest fish ever. I sorted out the
lines, broke down the net, and rolled it
up. Somehow I managed to get the
fish and net onto the unhooking mat
floating in the margins, then lifted the
fish out of the water. With my new
scales, the needle settled on 58lbs
exactly, I placed the fish in the sack
and sent a text to pretty much everyone. Eggy said he would cycle round
in the morning to help with the pictures. I obviously I didn’t sleep for a
second, getting up every few minutes
to make sure the fish was ok. Eggy
came round and did the honours with
the camera, and we then returned her
to the canal. I started to pack up for
the final time on that particular
stretch, and I wouldn’t need those
pictures from Jo anymore, as I now
had my own. I wished Eggy good luck
in his chase for the Belgian record
fish, as he got on his bike and cycled
back to his bivvy.
I moved onto a new stretch of the
KK and a new challenge, where I’m
lead to believe lives a mid-60lb common, but again is not an easy stretch,
and a bit of a circuit stretch unlike the
previous one. The first night I managed a common of 28lbs 12oz, and
had the stretch to myself. Eggy and
Nicole popped over to say hello before
heading back to Holland, and Jo came
over to help me celebrate with a few
Belgian beers one evening, which was
really nice. A couple of other local
people had heard about my catch,
and stopped by to give their congratulations. On the Friday, the final night
for me, everyone descended on the
stretch, and I must have had more
than a dozen anglers either side of
me. I had a bream for my efforts
before leaving, but a good lesson had
been learned for future trips – avoid it
at the weekends. I’ve since heard
from Eggy and Nicole – Eggy landed
the record fish at 78lbs after a 30minute battle. I dream that I may get
a chance to do the same sometime in
the future. I have to say it has been a
lovely experience so far, and reminds
me in a way how carping was over
here when I was younger. I’ve also
met some wonderful people so far. I
raise a Belgian beer and hope it may
continue. n

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