FREE LINE 03 - Page 103

Small Carp from Small Rivers
prised me from such a clean feeling
area. Eventually I managed to get it
moving and inch-by-inch a sodding
great sofa cushion appeared upon the
surface, my hook nicked through the
fabric. Some years later having spent
countless hours walking the Gipping I
eventually got my first sighting of a
carp, albeit not very exciting – a tiny
ghostie of around a pound sitting in
the middle of the river, no doubt an
escapee from a garden pond just asking to be eaten by a pike.
Then, one fortuitous day, my boss
mentioned a stretch of the Stour he
had match fished years ago, where
people were often getting smashed
up. Interesting, I thought, so relentlessly badgered him for info for the
rest of the day. After work I was
straight over to where he had said
and found a wonderland. Unlike the
Gipping this stretch was unspoilt; the
beautiful banks untarnished by the
filth of human occupation. I hadn’t
walked far, mesmerised by the abundance of carpy looking features, when
I came across my first sighting. In the
next couple of hours I had several
more, and whilst none of them looked
over 20lb I was very keen to get my
hands on some. Foolishly I opted to
tell a mate who was fishing at the
Waterpark, as I knew it would be right
up his street. I took him down there
for a look the same day, and of course
he was just as impressed as I’d been.
We set about concocting a plan and
so emptied every ounce of bait in my
van into the stretch with the intention
of returning later on. Another mate’s
missus had offered to cook us all dinner that night, so we nipped round
there for that, but in our excitement
couldn’t keep our mouths shut. He
(being older than us) said it was old
and almost forgotten news and that
the stretch was rumoured to have
done thirties in the past before SVC
hit it. He accompanied us up there
that night and the three of us set up
full of anticipation.
The place was fantastic and the
fishing productive too. One mate took
a lovely soft fleshed, old looking grey
mirror of 25lb and a two or three small
commons, the other a similar looking
23lb-plus mirror and a couple of small
commons, and I managed three small
commons. Admittedly I felt a little
cheated by the weights and wondered whether I should have perhaps
kept it quiet for a while, but after such
a result on the first trip, I felt that it
would turn out OK in the end. However after many more sessions none
of us have managed to bank another
twenty. I had taken several small
commons and the very occasional
mirror up to a new river best of upper
doubles for my efforts, each one cherished as the prize it was though.
A couple of trips there spring to
mind for more humorous than successful reasons. Firstly, my mate had
hooked a carp, and in an attempt to
dissuade it from reaching a large
weed bed he opted to play it towards
it. It didn’t work, and from my spectator’s viewpoint it looked like he’d just
pulled it straight into the weedbed,
which I suppose he had, so I was ribbing him a bit. Hoping to get closer to
it, he jumped into the margins and
found them much deeper and siltier
than he’d expected. Then having
splashed water over the lenses of his
Polaroids he took them off and went
to throw them to safety on the bank,
at which point a big gust of wind
appeared and curved them back out
and into the river – gone. Thankfully it
had a happy ending, and the saga finished with a double figure common in
(Top) My mate.
(Left) Old father Thames.


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