FL13 - Page 164



Summer Tactics and Edges
Baiting little and often made this one
slip up.
up to its shoulders, and slid back in
without a sound or even a ripple. It’s
amazing how they do that.
I went back to the swim, more than
happy with the events I had just seen
– three shows and not a stone’s throw
away from my right-hand rod. The
time was getting on. Usually, I would
stay up with the fish being so active,
but I just laid on the bed for a while
and as soon as my head touched that
pillow, I was gone. Suddenly, I was
launching myself off the bed and fumbling around for my boots. The buzzer
was screaming for its life, and as I
pulled into the fish, I knew he would
try to get to the snags. I was facing
down the right-hand side of the
swim, with the rod laid out to the left,
desperately trying to keep him away
from the snaggy margin, when he just
stopped.
I managed to gain some line and,
by this time, I was on my knees, arms
outstretched. Slowly, I coaxed the fish
towards the net. Quickly changing
the angle of the rod to a vertical position, I swept it over my shoulder for
the last time as my prize went into
the net; I reckon I’d had the take
around midnight.
A bank stick secured the landing
net while I got the necessary kit
ready. I grabbed the unhooking mat
and gave it a good soaking in the lake,
and then lifted the net out of the
pond. I recognized the fish straight
away as Star, a fish I’d had the previous season, but this time he weighed
in at 26lb-plus. I already had photos of
the fish, so I decided to put him
straight back. I was so pleased. I was
using a new bait from Mainline, the
New Grange, and getting a bite on my
first night, taking into account that
the lake was fishing hard, filled me
with confidence. These fish can be
incredibly fussy about what they eat,
and the spot that I was fishing had
been proven to be a winner. I made
up my mind to cut the session short,
and leave in the morning so I could
get back the following week and do
two nights. The water that I was
going to look at the next week could
be seen today.
I jumped back in the bag, set the
alarm for 4am, and was just nodding
off when a fish crashed out to my left.
I slipped my boots on and made the
short walk to The Dog Leg. Rings
were spreading across the lake, and I
had a little chuckle to myself as coots
broke the silence, screaming as they
ran across the top of the water
towards their hideaways. It was obvious where the fish had crashed out. I
could see the white, foamy bubbles
bobbing on the surface. It was the
area that I had baited earlier and the
thought of him down there, ripping it
up, searching for more bait made me
smile once more. I made a brew and
sat back, muttering away to myself,
convinced that it was my target fish,
The Dink, that had caused the disturbance. I turned my back on the lake to
light another cigarette, dismissing
any thought of sleep as the fish starting an acrobatic show in front of me.
After a while, they started to drift
down the lake toward the bars, and
The Secret swim. A friend of mine,
Slippery John, once told me that the
fish are very active on the Road
between 1 am and 3 am. I had to ask
him how he knew this and he said,
‘I’ve seen them.’ No way could he
have been up at that time of the
morning with the amount of Red
Stripe he consumes! He was right,
though. He lives up to his name does
Slippery.
My eyes kept trying to close, and
since the acrobatic show had well
and truly moved on, it was time for
FREE LINE 161

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