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Canal Carping A Tale of Two Records
full view, picking at the odd leaf on
the surface looking very catchable.
Very gently I presented a small piece
of crust. A few nervous moments
passed, and it swam close to the
crust, stopped, flicked its fins and
swam away. That fish was undoubtedly disturbed by the presence of my
crust.
Dragging my net away from the
bushes with some force, whilst trying
to watch that departing carp, I set off
in pursuit, but lost sight of it. Consolation was found in the location of a
very big common grubbing about in
gin-clear water. A small piece of paste
was flicked past the fish and drawn
back in its path. Unfortunately, whilst
trying to gain the last few inches, my
bait caught on a stem and came off.
Unable to move, I could not rebait
without spooking it. Before I could
decide on a plan of action, the fish
moved over my hookless bait, dipped,
sucked it in and swam off the same
way as the mirror.
A bit dejected, I set off in search of
them again but thought I had blown
it. After a short while I found a group
of smaller commons happily grubbing
about, very close in at a depth of no
more than a couple of feet. Belly
crawling close to them, I was able to
present a bait by casting and drawing
back. The rod was gently placed in
the rest with a pinch of bread as an
indicator hanging at the butt. The
reason for the indicator was because I
could see the fish from my low level
but not the bait. The fish seemed to
fade away as if aware of my presence.
Not wanting to waste too much time,
I crawled up into a bush for a better
view. My bait was visible, but the fish
had gone.
Evening was drawing near, the sun
was beginning to retreat like a burnt
out fireball, my hopes were wearing
thin. On what was by far my best ever
spotting day I looked like drawing a
blank. Clinging to the bush, I was
daydreaming of what might have
been and thinking of heading back to
the van some mile and a half away.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye,
there was a dark shadow moving
towards my bait. It was the big mirror
again. The feeling of excitement was
tremendous. I was sure that fish was
going to take the bait. The whole of
my body was trembling as I slid back
down to my rod, and not daring to
breathe, settled to await events.
Almost immediately, the indicator
twitched. An instant strike, and the
water erupted. The situation was
close to chaotic. I held on hard to prevent it from reaching a fallen tree
branch some 20 yards to my right. It
wasn’t an especially dramatic fight,
just a bit awkward due to my
restricted position. The half-rotted
lilies all tangled to the line, and it
surged through the water like something out of Jaws. Within a few minutes a massive mirror was wallowing
on the surface. I pushed the net into
the vegetation, and one of the arms
broke off. It must have got damaged
when it was caught in the bushes earlier. There I was, the biggest carp of
my life waiting to be netted and a broken net lying useless at my feet.
Somehow I managed to wade in up to
my knees, I laid the net beside me
using one hand as a spreader block
and dragged the fish over it. In one
frantic move I dropped the rod,
grabbed the net, lifted, and she was
mine.
Lifting that magnificent mirror up
the bank was the most satisfying
moment of my life. I stood there soaking wet and trembling with excite-
(Top) Cyprinus Carpio, the executive
bivvy bow exit.
(Left) An admiring glance from
grandson Rhys with a winter 15lb 4oz
carp that showed signs of liking
Robin Red.
46 FREE LINE

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