FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 217



Learning and Earning
butt as it shot forward on the
rest. This fish came in easily
enough, but close in gave nothing, hugging the bottom and
sending up huge vortices that
betrayed it to be a big fish. Just
for good measure it threw in the
classic wrap round the other line,
complete with back lead to make
things even more fraught. With
this line tangled I had it beaten
on the top, but was unable to
reach it as it lay agonisingly a
few inches from my outstretched
net. Finally, with one last scoop
she slowly folded into the mesh
and in the gloom I could see from
its length and width it was a 40.
There then followed that peculiar
dance seen round lakes in the
dark called, “Where’s the head
torch, scales, sling, mat and
stuff?” I had the steps perfected,
and the more I quickstepped, the
more it descended into sweet
chaos. I even let out a couple of
prayers to the carp gods begging
them for it to be the Little Grey. It
wasn’t. But was I disappointed? Not a
bit, with 41lb 8oz of angry mirror that
I didn’t recognise, nailed in the corner
of its mouth by the Mugga. In the
sack she went as I sorted the tangle,
despite the tiredness forcing myself
to retackle and get the rods back out
there for the few hours I had left.
I was glad I did, because at 6am the
same rod ripped off. This one had no
intention of coming anywhere near
my bank, and it powered off at such a
rate the clutch was fizzing even with
the fish out at 90yds. At one point I
clamped the spool to stop it going any
further, and the fish boiled on the top,
way out in the pond like I’d hooked a
marlin. This continued for some time
as I began to wonder what I had
attached, but whatever it was, it wasn’t happy. Eventually it came closer
in, and I got a glimpse of it; the clear
water giving me the impression that
it actually wasn’t that big after all.
I got a bit blasé then, giving it loads
of sidestrain with the Hi S buckling
over at full compression. I bundled it
into the net at the first real attempt
and gazed down on a beautiful looking linear I put at mid-20s … until I
went to lift it out that is, when it
became apparent that it was substantially bigger. I lay it out on the mat,
revealing an awesome mint-looking
linear that weighed 37lb 10oz.
Another one I’d not had, and one I
recognised to have been caught by
one of the other members from the
snag tree some weeks earlier. Sure
enough, I’d got the fishes’ route right,
not by luck or festering in a baited
swim, but by getting out and looking.
I’m sure that every time you observe
fish in their homes you’ll learn something, and this had really helped me
plot a route to success.
Despite this success, my next trip
found me on the opposite bank in a
swim I hadn’t fished as yet this year.
There were fish in there though, and
however easy it was to jump back in
after the last result, to my credit I
stubbornly stuck to the battle plan.
The bar swim didn’t look right, and a
warm southwesterly blowing into the
other bank pushed me toward this
new area. I knew it hadn’t been fished
either, as my first three casts hit a perfectly positioned branch above my
head sending three leads sailing way
out into the lake. At least I knew the
clips worked well! Finding the spots
proved easy, as by now the weed was
taking a grip, and in the sunshine I
could see the weedbeds and pinpoint
the darker clear areas between them.
I cast at the weed and, as the lead hit,
I began pulling back, feeling it sinking
down until it hit firm bottom. I had
learned to make the weed a friend
rather than become intimidated by it,
Another swim change – 30-plus.
and as it spread, I had the knowledge
that these clear areas would hold
more and more promise, as the spots
became fewer and fewer but also better. The following morning I had a
33lb mirror from one of these clear
spots, and again the plan had worked.
I was having a real run of success,
and not through luck but by actually
enjoying my fishing more than ever,
and without waking to that same
view from the bivvy every trip.
Again, the desire to return was
strong, and I had a feeling as I left that
the bar swim was again to have its
day. That entire far bank trip I had
monitored it but not seen much,
except the constant daily presence of
the fish in the snag tree. A friend was
down at the weekend and opted for
the bar swim. I checked my phone on
the Sunday morning and the message
from Gary read 42lb 12oz. I knew it
was going to be the Little Grey as I
was dialling, and sure enough it was.
I went down to see it and do the photos, delighted for Gary, and the opportunity to see this fish on the bank.
I’ve been back down and I’m fishing
it hard with that fish’s image burned
into my memory. To date, I’ve rigidly
stuck to the plan, and it has continued
to bear fruit. I’ll let you know exactly
what sort of fruit next time out.. n
FREE LINE 217

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