FL11 All pages - Page 169



In Search of Monster Carp
which I don’t think Pete was quite
ready for at the time. I suppose neither of us were really. We drove down
to the famous Church Swim at
Chantecoq, just as two Dutch guys
had packed up and gone home, so we
were lucky. We got in that swim,
which was probably the best-known
swim in Europe, and we were lucky
with the weather as well, as it had
been red hot all week, and everyone
around was catching nothing. This
guy came round to us, and he said,
“I’ve been here all week, and haven’t
had a bite yet,” and I thought Christ, I
thought it was going to be easier than
that
But that night, the rain clouds
moved in and it started raining, the
wind got up, and as it happened we
just turned up on the right day. The
guy who hadn’t caught anything, and
whose last night it was, came round
with three sacks in the morning for us
to photograph his fish. It all started
happening; Pete had the first one I
think, at 28lb, and I caught a couple of
doubles. All of a sudden, it was just
going off all the time, but it was very,
very difficult fishing in other ways.
(Top) Shortly after Cassien we were
off to the Secret Beach, a small water
in France that wasn’t easy, but once I
was on them it started to happen big
time!
(Below) About to return a ‘Secret
Beach’ 40; it was a magic trip.
There were so many snags out in
Chantecoq; we were using tough
English gear, with 15lb nylon and 4oz
leads, that sort of thing, but looking
back now, it just wasn’t up to the job
on that sort of water. But we did catch
loads of fish, and I caught a 40lb’er.
Pete definitely had the snaggier side
of the swim, which was just the luck
of the draw, because we didn’t know
before we set up, so he lost more than
he landed, but he had 30’s. We both
had 30’s, and I had the one 40.
I went back a few weeks later with
Joan and fished Chantecoq again, but
the other side of the lake, which was
about five miles away – Chantecoq
was huge. We caught even more; it
was getting to the stage where you
could catch as many fish as you
wanted to catch. It was just a matter
of how much you could put up with
the rowing and walking through the
mud. The water level went down so
low, and literally it was knee-deep in
mud. You couldn’t set up on mud, so
you had to set up on the hard ground
behind, and you had to walk through
the mud to the water’s edge to land
fish or put baits out, which could be
like 60-70 yards away. It was exhausting work to actually get three or four
rods out through all the mud, and
then go out and catch three or four
fish on those rods was hard work too.
In the middle of the night, if all those
three or four rods had gone off, you
had to put them all out again if you
wanted to carry on fishing, so that’s
what you did. It was really hard work,
FREE LINE 169

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