FREE LINE 03 - Page 104



Small Carp from Small Rivers
the net. Secondly, when walking the
river without gear it didn’t seem too
far, but laden with tackle it was a different story. We’d spent the night
there and the river had risen. He hadn’t noticed, being asleep, and woke to
find water beneath him. Worse was
the fact that his sleeping bag had
been touching the ground and so
sucked up a huge amount of water,
making it at least twice as heavy to
cart back to the van… rather him than
me. Sadly we started seeing carp and
bream carcasses littering the banks,
and our enthusiasm ebbed with each
one, then the lure of Yateley and the
Colne Valley drew me away from the
area at prime time for several years,
and I left it alone apart from the occasional walk.
One of the bailiffs at the Waterpark
took us to see some other stretches of
the Stour that apparently produced
the occasional carp. One a small weirpool looked promising, so we spent
the night. Not long after dark we
heard some splashing and started
getting the occasional liner and our
excitement and anticipation continued until the sunrise when we could
see what had been responsible – an
otter. Hope dashed, we packed up
and left shortly after. Another stretch
he took us to proved more productive,
My one and only Gipping carp.
104 FREE LINE
as on one of the nights we fished I
actually caught one. The river was
flowing hard, a torrent, with bushes
and traffic cones and all sorts flushing
through. Somehow a small common
of around 10lb found my bait and
ended up in the net. Then due to the
rising water we had to move to higher
ground. Another trip on that stretch
produced a PB chub of 5lb 9oz, and as
I was holding it for the photos an otter
came up the weir behind my mate’s
(taking the pics) back and slipped into
our swim. At that point, little did it
know it, that chub was safer in my
hands than had it been in the river.
I‘d been fishing a pit on the Norfolk/Suffolk border one winter, which
had a serious knack of destroying my
gear. My rods, eventually, had begun
falling apart too, so I had been looking
for some new ones. A mate I’d met at
the pit had mentioned a deal on some
rods whereby I would get some free
reels I could use specially for piking. I
asked him to get me some and I
would pay him back, but when I met
him he’d only gotten two. So, to get
my third I needed to visit the shop in
Norfolk myself after all. I had intended
to go to the shop then drop in at the
pit for a dangle on the way back.
However, as I passed by it I noticed it
was frozen over. Having brought my
third rod I asked my mate if there was
anywhere local to the shop where I
could do a night or two that wouldn’t
be frozen. Only the river sprang to
mind between us and so I found
myself on a stretch of the Waveney by
a marina, where it was rumoured that
carp had been caught. Having parked
up on a busy road by a bridge I loaded
the barrow then set off to find a spot
not too far from the van.
My memory of the trip gets a little
hazy here, and I cannot recall if I did
just the one night or two. I do remember catching a couple of fairly hefty
bream, but my main recollection was
the following: I woke to a vague feeling that I’d dreamt of a procession of
noisy people walking past me. Then,
upon peering out of my doorway up to
the right realised it was no dream, but
more of a nightmare. Starting from no
more than ten yards to my left was a
line of twenty-plus match men sitting
on boxes and spreading right off up
river. Furthermore, there was a moron
in the boat who had anchored up to
fish almost directly opposite the first
match man to my left. Suffice to say I
was much less than impressed with
my brief time on the Waveney, though
I know from mates that there were
results to be had.
Whilst fishing Horton I met another
lad keen on his river fishing and so
roped myself into a few trips on the
Thames with him. It soon transpired
that Bod appeared to know all the
most horrible stretches of the river
that anyone might be unfortunate
enough to fish at weekends and proceeded to drag me to them. Needless
to say that over however many nights
I accompanied him, neither of us
caught a carp, just chub and bream,
but there were laughs and lessons
aplenty, none more so than when he
had hooked into a canoe containing a
kid who had been intentionally (I’m
sure) irritating him by passing by so
close to his line. The kid’s face was
priceless as he realised he was in
trouble, being winched backwards
towards an irate and outstandingly
foul-mouthed angler. Eventually the
kid escaped and didn’t come back.
Whilst fishing at Wraysbury 1 I’d gotten friendly with a fellow angler who
had moved into a shack alongside the
Thames later, whilst I was full timing
at Yateley. He offered me the use of
his facilities, and before long I was
bivvying up in his garden trying to

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