FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 215



Learning and Earning
margin had a good 15ft depth, and
used to be one of the real banker
swims on the lake. It hadn’t done a
fish for nearly two seasons, but anyone who saw how incredibly carpy it
looked would be rushing back for
their gear in double-quick time.
I only ever fish two rods in the small
bay swim because, although it was
easy enough to get two lines right
down with no weed this early in the
year, I felt any more in the confines of
the swim would work against me. So
the third rod was in the swim behind,
fired 70yds across to within a few feet
of the far bank. This really smacked
down, and if it hadn’t been for the
swim’s recent poor form I would have
been extra confident of some action
on that rod. I set up the Ultra Lite
bivvy in the bay and crossed
my fingers for some early signs
that I’d got it right. At 7 pm I
received a screaming take,
which, as I was looking at my
bay rods at that exact time and
nothing was moving, certainly
had me confused. Remembering the ‘snide’ behind me, I
scrambled to it, and almost in
disbelief bent into something
that felt heavy way out in the
darkness. Once it was away
from the treeline, I had a good
measure of control, and could
actually enjoy the fight rather
t h a n t h e p r e v i o u s w e e k ’s
chest-grabbing thriller in the
little bay. A few meaty-sounding deep rolls later and I pulled
another big one over the net
cord. You can’t really
allow for size, but this
one too went 37-plus.
Lucky, perhaps, but
more than welcome,
and it was the first fish
from that swim for a
long time. I also added
a 25lb linear from the
bay swim at 8am the
following morning
before heading home
delighted. Just when I
thought I was on an
unstoppable roll, I
threw in a couple of
solid blanks in the bay,
which by now had
been subject to substantial pressure. It
was time to get out
looking, as it had become clear with
the increase in water temperature
that the fish had moved out into the
main lake.
It didn’t take long to find them, and
in predictable style the following
week I found a number of fish in the
big snag tree at the other end of the
lake. I watched them coming in and
out, and was able to recognise a number of the lake’s residents, some of
which had been on the missing list for
some time. One of the fish I saw was
the 37 I had caught from the bay a
couple of weeks earlier, with the big
distinctive scales on its side. This was
a result too, as knowing its size had
me going on a number of occasions as
bigger fish drifted in and out of the
snaggy sanctuary. Many of them
were covered in clay, and were well
awake after the cold winter, and I
often watched them dart out from
under the trees to feed heavily on naturals before jostling alongside each
other beneath the submerged
branches. One of the fish in there
really had me going. It looked huge,
but after nearly falling in for a better
look I knew it was one of the lake’s
real jewels, a highly elusive fish called
the Little Grey, that to my knowledge
hadn’t been out for at least three
years. It had to be that one, with its
pale colour and huge shoulders making it look more suited to the front
row of the scrum than in a lake! It was
top of my wish list, too, and as I gazed
at it, I became more determined than
ever to catch her. I spent a couple of
nights in the corner swim next to
these snags, fishing one rod about 6ft
from the bank, but despite losing a
good fish I became more and more
convinced that I wasn’t going to
really strike gold, or grey, from here.
However, the more I sat on the high
bank and watched, the more a clear
pattern began to emerge. This was
where picking the swim days beforehand from in front of the plasma at
home was hindering me, as I saw the
fish arrive in the mid-mornings and
depart in the early evenings, always
from the same direction. This was the
lake’s central bar, and I became sure
they were using this bar to guide
(Top) I like a fluoro in the spring.
(Below) Baiting up was now left to
when I was fishing, not before.
FREE LINE 215

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