FREE-LINE 01.pdf - Page 105



Manor Madness Exclusive
(Left) 10mm, 15mm and 20mm – a
winning combination
(Below) Little changes make all the
difference
water; it’s like pulling up a piece of
carpet when you reel in. Once I cast
onto my spots, I slackened off the
line, and I knew it was hugging the
bottom nicely.
Over the next couple of days a few
fish showed in the area, and I managed to nick three fish, a nice low-20
common, a 30lb mirror and a thickset
30lb common as well. My confidence
in my tactics was booming now, and
the stiff riggers were holding their
own in the hook holds, in fact the
hook holds were right back in the
mouth, which told me that the fish
were really confident in the bait, so
all was going well, and the plan was
working nicely.
My next trip down was a couple of
weeks after this, around the end of
April. I had been down in Oxford a
week earlier doing some work, but I
had still been sneaking over to drop
in a bit of bait, and I was gagging to
get back. I rolled into the car park
and saw that again it was quite busy,
but every lake must be busy at this
time of the year, as it can be one of
the best times to catch those whackers at their best weights before they
spawn. I grabbed my bottle and
started my walk round; I wasn’t even
thinking about The Middle Pads
swim, and I hadn’t even contemplated it being free with the lake
being so busy. The weather was due
to turn warmer over the next couple
I hurled myself
down between
the shrubs, and I
could see the left
hand rod bent
round double on
the rest
of days and the swim fished well in
hot weather, as there were reeds
either side of the swim giving the
fish some nice cover, plus I knew a
couple of fish had been out from
there the week before while I had
been away. I was about to walk past
it when I realised that it was free, and
I couldn’t walk past it without having a look I thought. I climbed one of
the trees and slid the Polaroids down
onto my eyes. Peering through the
green leaves in between the
branches I could make out a few
shapes beneath the surface to the
left of the swim just out from the
reeds. After a while, as the sun came
out more the fish came up in the
water, I could clearly see four or five
fish, and I was sure one was Stella as
she looked so much bigger than the
others out there. I ran back to the van
and loaded the gear onto the trolley,
adding some mixers to weigh me
down even more.
On arriving back to the swim I
fired out some mixers, but they were
not too confident; they kept swimming underneath them and weren’t
interested. I then tried casting a zig
out past where they were and gently
pulling it back near to where they
were sunning themselves. At one
point Stella, as I had definitely identified her by now, broke away from the
others and headed towards my cut
down piece of yellow foam. She
came upon the hook bait and it was
if she could sense something was
wrong, because she sped up and
almost foul hooked herself in the side
as she glided past the foam and the
small size 10 hook. My heart was in
my mouth at that moment, and I was
all ready to jump down the tree and
do battle with her; there’s nothing
better for getting you going and
making you more determined than to
see your target fish up close and personal. I stayed up the tree for a couple more hours, but the fish started
to drift away and out into the middle
of the lake as the sun got higher into
the sky. I’d have to stay in the swim
for the next couple of nights as she
was definitely in and around the
area.
I gently cast my 2oz lead down to
the left of the reeds onto the spot,
which was definitely getting harder,
no doubt about it. It had also got a
bit wider, the weed around the spot
was a lovely lush fresh green colour,
and it was getting better and better
each time I fished it. They were definitely visiting the spot, and I was
sure Stella was feeding there too; I
just had this feeling it was happening down there even though I couldn’t see the spot. I cast the other two
rods out, sprayed a few baits around,
and settled in for the night.
That night I just couldn’t settle,
whether it was the caffeine intake I
don’t know, but I was very restless,
even expectant that something was
going to happen. I was so sure of it I
was surprised when I awoke at first
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