FL12Sept - Page 94



Off With a Bang
within its fleshy lips. I picked up the
net and in a moment’s lack of concentration the pressure was lost as I let
the rod go slack. I knew within a second the result, and suddenly the rod
shot back straight and the fish was
gone. Gutted, I reeled in the rig, and as
expected the blowback ring sat tight
to the eye of the hook – a sure sign of
a hook pull.
Despite this loss I quickly got my
head together and repositioned the
rod complete with PVA bag as accurately as possible. The night sky was
slowly clearing, and switching on my
phone to check the time confirmed
my thoughts – 4.30am, and daylight
less than an hour away. I lay back on
the bedchair and closed my eyes for a
few minutes when the same rod
ripped into life once more! Determined not to let this one escape, I
arched the rod over and held on, as
once again a powerful fish pulled
back hard in its bid for freedom.
Whether skill, luck or just sheer
bloody-mindedness was the factor I
don’t know, but either way after a
great battle in the early morning light,
I soon had a lovely looking mid-20
common safely secured in the folds of
(Top) Doing it my way – spod, marker
and hard work!
(Right) Safe, reliable clips are a must
in weedy waters.
92 FREE LINE
the net. Switching on my headtorch
for a better look revealed, as I thought,
a lovely common of around 25lb.
“That’s better,“ I said, to no one in
particular! I staked out the net in
deeper water, and after making sure
the fish was safe and secure, got the
rod back out hopeful of another bite.
There were a few other anglers
fishing at the time, and a quick walk
up the bank had two chaps from
Bolton helping out with the weighing
and photos. At just over 24lb it made
a welcome start to the day. With the
morning stretching ahead, I noticed a
number of fish showing in the general
area, and with the weather conditions
getting better all the time with a drop
in pressure as low cloud moved in
from the west, it came as no surprise
when another take had me scrambling to the rods. The now familiar
battle followed (boy do these fish
fight), but with a little patience and a
lot of luck I soon had her gliding
safely over the outstretched net.
Another common lay trapped in the
net, and as I popped out the hook I
knew she’d make a good 20. After the
usual weighing ceremony and recording a weight of 27lb 2oz, I roped Gavin
the bailiff into helping out with the
pictures, and after doing an excellent
job with the EOS we slipped her back
to fight another day. After an initial
slow start, this trip was turning into a
very satisfying first trip. The afternoon
was spent preparing another bucket
of bait and generally getting prepared
for the final night. I still had the rods
out fishing, but to be honest my
thoughts were elsewhere; the tiredness of the last couple of days was
taking its toll, along with a bout of
heatstroke from the previous day’s
sunburn!
With that I was a little groggy when
the next take came at just after 4pm.
A slow tightening of the bobbin, and
a steady take had me reaching for the
rod. Almost immediately the fish
kited, crossing my other line in the
process, and despite trying my best to
avoid the tangle, the fish picked up
the other line. I had no option but to
open the bale arm and let the fish take
line from the other spool. Slowly but
steadily I gained line, and when the
fish rolled on the surface only 20yds
shy from the net, I instantly knew it
was a good fish. Just as I was thinking all was going well and I might
soon be looking at one of the lake’s
stunning 30lb’ers, the line fell slack
and all was lost!
I stood there for a second or two in
disbelief before reeling the rig back to
hand. I stared accusingly and with
some frustration at the end tackle,
hoping for some clue as to what had
gone wrong, but all seemed fine. Perhaps it had just been a poor hookhold.
I wasn’t sure, but whatever the reason, if I wanted another chance I had
to reposition both rods and keep topping up the baited area, and this
process kept me busy for the next
couple of hours. The wind was now
blowing strongly from behind me,
which made things a little easier as

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