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In Search of Monster Carp
(Left) Tackle Box’s Kevin Peet with
Cotton Farm’s then biggest resident,
Geriatric (now deceased).
(Beow) The surreal Cotton Farm.
would go round there in the evening,
bait up a few spots with chickpeas or
something like that, and then get
there in the morning. Now bear in
mind that even though I would start
work as a dustman at 7am, I would
get down there at 4am, first light, fish
for maybe two hours, and then make
my way to work. You were supposed
to fish within fish-landing distance of
the water, but there were very few
swims, and most of the time you were
fishing off the top of these cliffs about
20ft up. So I would walk around and
find a little group of fish. Most of the
fish I caught on there were on slivers
of freelined luncheon meat. I used to
cut it into a sliver to freeline it down
in front of the fish, so it used to tumble
down through the water like a bit of
flake, and the fish used to dip down
and suck it in. You would hook them,
and then it was fun and games
because you had to make your way to
a swim to actually land them. You
would let them run out into the lake,
162 FREE LINE
and backwind your way to the nearest swim, slide/fall down the bank,
and get them in from there. If I
couldn’t find any fish to stalk, I used
to sit there on the baited spots. The
fishing was absolutely incredible; I
caught loads of fish, some weeks as
many as 17 fish in just a few hours in
the morning before work. It was a lot
of effort, and when I think about it
now, I don’t think I’ll be doing that
any more – getting up at 3am, and
getting down there at 4am. I’m more
likely to be getting up half an hour
before work nowadays.
Another thing about the Blue Lake
was, and still is to this day, that it
always had a lot of mystery about it,
but the biggest carp I caught out of
there was 24lb. I think that was probably about the biggest I saw in the
water too, apart from one. In the
closed season, there was this concrete stage at the top of these cliffs,
and the fish used to congregate in
this little bay. I used to get home from
work, grab the dog, and go down
there with a bit of floater cake and
feed the carp in the edge. Prior to this,
a few days earlier, there had been
droplets of oil coming up from the
bottom. Because it was so deep, quite
a few people used to dump cars in
there to do an insurance job on them
and what-have-you. That particular
afternoon I was feeding the fish in the
edge, and I could see what looked like
an oil drum, but all of a sudden it
came nearer, and it wasn’t an oil drum
– it was a carp. It was absolutely massive; I think at the time it was proba-

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