FL11 All pages - Page 171



In Search of Monster Carp
(Above) Chantecoq was very hard
work in the conditions, but the carp
were lovely.
(Below) I had my first winter trip to
Cassien in 1994.
the big fish in, so I wanted to have a
little go there, but it had a reputation
for being quite hard. I thought the old
fishmeal bait would work down there.
I set up one the evening, and the following morning there were a few of
the lads talking down the bank, and
one of them came up who was a
bailiff. As I showed him my ticket, I
had a bite; a few bleeps. I saw the line
cutting through the water, and he
said, “Oh that won’t be a bite; it’s just
a liner,” but it wasn’t, and there was
one on the end, but after about 30
seconds it fell off. Going back to what
I said before, I quite often would get a
take quickly on a water, but I don’t
always land them, which is a real
pain. Again it happened there, and it
was a hard water, but they liked the
fishmeals.
I kept fishing there right to the end
of the season really, and I did catch a
few fish. I gave up with the fishmeals
in the end, and went onto the pop-ups
as winter moved on, and they seemed
to be a bit better if anything. I never
caught anything big out of there, but I
caught some lovely fish. One that I
remember sorting the picture out of
the other day was this fully scaled
mirror that I caught, called the
Armadillo. I remember that because
they came round and said it hadn’t
been caught for two years or something, and it was a lovely fish – not
massive, but I was well pleased with
that one. I enjoyed my time down
there; I didn’t fish it much, but it was
a lake that enjoyed fishing, and I met
a few nice people on there. But it was
never a lake I was going to carry on
fishing; it was nice and there were
some nice fish, but there wasn’t anything really to keep me going back for
more.
I was looking for a new challenge if
anything, as I hadn’t really got my
teeth into an English water for a
while. Harefield was probably the last
water that I had committed a bit of
time to, because there was something
there that I really wanted to catch –
lots of 30’s. I was looking for a new
water, and one came along that I had
heard about before, called Summerleaze Lake. About the time I was
starting to fish Harefield, a guy who
fished Summerleaze Lake, Matt, had
been fishing there for a few years, and
he caught a 40 too. He said, “Why
don’t you come up and have a go at
Summerleaze?” Well at the time,
Harefield was just starting to happen,
so I didn’t want to go anywhere else.
I just forgot all about it really, and it
seemed like everyone did too. Hardly
anyone knew of Summerleaze before
then anyway, but there were some
good fish in there. It had just been
totally overlooked by people other
than Matt, and he just happened to be
down at Farlows a lot of the time.
I suppose it was during the closed
season that year, or the early summer,
there were a few of the guys down
there, and all of a sudden we got the
idea to have a go at Summerleaze.
They were thinking about starting a
syndicate on there, and I think before
then you literally just had to go into
the tackle shop and buy a ticket over
the counter, which was probably why
no one bothered; it was all too easy.
All of a sudden when it was a syndicate, people thought it must be better.
I think there was going to be a syndicate of 20 people on there; Matt and
Paul Boyd were already on there from
before, and you know, the rest of us
were all basically new. Actually even
Matt and Paul Boyd hadn’t fished it
for a few years themselves. Ian Russell, who was already on there, suggested getting a ticket, so we went up
and saw it. The guy who owned the
trout lake next door to Summerleaze
had control of everything, so we went
and got the tickets from him.
We walked round Summerleaze
that first time, and you could see no
one had fished there for at least two
or three years, probably longer,
because all the grass around it was
more than knee deep, and there were
no pathways through it to the bankside. There was a track around the
outside where people used to go and
feed horses on the other side, but you
FREE LINE 171

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