FREE-LINE 01.pdf - Page 130



The Frozen North
back to the “banker” spot.
The rest of the day passed without
anything seen or caught, not even a
roach fart. Stu left mid-afternoon, and
once again I was back in the sack at
around 7pm. At 10.45pm, nearly the
same time as the previous week, a
few short bleeps had me up and out.
It was the right hand rod again – what
a good little spot that was turning out
to be. I hit into the fish and felt a
heavy resistance on the end of the
line. It didn’t do much in open water,
just allowing me to slowly coax it into
the margins. I knew straight away it
was a good fish; you do seem to know
usually from the sheer weight of them
when you’re cranking them back to
the bank. I didn’t want this one to
drop off, so I stepped into the margins
a yard or so, and eased the fish over
the net cord. I didn’t even look; I just
knew. I went to lift it, and said to
myself quietly, “Yep, that’s got to be a
30.” On the mat I flicked the head
torch on, and peeled the net back. I
recognised the fish as Gazza, last out
at 29lb-plus, and it was definitely
30lb-plus now. I went to retrieve the
rig, and to my delight the new rig was
about 3in inside, bang in the middle of
the bottom of its mouth – it must have
liked the bait and I wasn’t losing that
one! I weighed it at 32lb 10oz, and I
sacked it up for the pictures in the
morning. I was buzzing – my first
Banton’s 30lb-plus, and a real corker
in its winter coat. I would have been
happy to blank all winter from now on
after that one capture – after all my
target for the winter was a Lancashire
30, and I’d nailed it on the third session. I didn’t get anything else that
session, and I actually broke my hand
the day after I went home. It was a
bad breakage, and I was in a pot for
the rest of the winter. Gutted – just as
things started to come together, I’d
messed up big time. I did a couple of
sessions after about two weeks away
from the lake, but the cold was a
nightmare, and casting was awkward
with a pot on my right hand, so I gave
up until after Christmas, happy with
my early results from the previous
weeks leading up to that point.
I didn’t go back on Banton’s for
about a year. I fished The Wyre mostly
for the main part of 2007, losing a fish
half way through January on there,
then blanking until March/April if I
remember rightly. It was a tough year
for me on Wyre; there was a lot of
pressure, and it slowed the fishing
down a bit, I managed three different
27lb-pluses, but didn’t get any more
30’s. As the year progressed through
to the back end, I was starting to plan
Winter on Wyre. Jamie with a nice mid 20.
130 FREE LINE
a winter attack on Banton’s again. If
last year’s results were anything to go
by, maybe I could carry on where I’d
left off a year earlier…
Oh, the best laid plans and all that
hey! I planned to start my winter on
Banton’s on the 4th November 2007,
but unfortunately on the 3rd I got
attacked by a friend’s dog, which left
me with no bottom lip, a lacerated
right arm and serious shock. I was
rushed to hospital where I received
immediate surgery to reconstruct my
lower lip, which meant pulling my top
lip round and stitching it together
making my actual mouth opening
5 0 % s m a l l e r. I h a d a b o u t 7 5 - 8 0
stitches in the end – bad, bad times, I
can assure you. Being a resilient sod,
and still fishing mad regardless of the
attack, I was keen to get on Banton’s
ASAP and get going. Being off work
for ten weeks, what better time than
now I thought! I came out of hospital,
finished my course of antibiotics, and
after a week, I saw the doctor and
decided the best place for me was by
the lake. It wasn’t as if anyone was
going to stop me going anyway, and
the missus came with me as well. I
blanked the first session, but it was a
much-needed trip, and it was so nice
to be on the bank after the last two
weeks’ events, one thing was for sure,

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