FREE LINE 03 - Page 112



Wellington Boots and Waders
cold with the forecast predicting biting northerlies over the next few days
with a few snow showers thrown in
for good measure. The Boathouse
Point hadn’t been fished over the
weekend, and as it was one of the
areas that I had agreed with myself
that I was going to fish I decided to
bivvy up there as it is a double swim,
and Tony had an idea of the areas to
fish to since he had fished it before.
For the first time I had actually
brought the two-man extended winter wrap for my pram-hood because
of the forecasters warning of bad
weather coming in. Surely the best
thing to do would have been to stay
at home, especially as I hadn’t been
out of hospital too long.
I carted the mountain of extra gear
that I would need down onto Boathouse, and decided as I was there first
to flip a coin to decide who fished
where. Surprise, surprise I won, so I
elected to fish off the side casting
towards my favourite area at
Lawrie’s. I informed Tony that he lost
when he arrived and he had to fish
into the Animal Farm Bay – honest,
aren’t I? The cold weather arrived just
as the weathermen had predicted and
with gale force north winds blowing
straight at us with intermittent snow
Selftakes of a biggie off boathouse.
112 FREE LINE
showers things were not looking too
good. To be honest the best thing to
do would have been to go home, but it
was so cold that once outside the relative warmth of the twin-skinned
bivvy it was only a matter of minutes
before you were so cold that you
couldn’t feel your hands. We decided
the best thing to do was to stay put,
and just have a social and spend the
time in each others bivvies and chill
out. We had plenty of decent grub, hot
drinks and top of the range clothing
and minus-40 rated sleeping bags, so
we were able to stay really comfortable in the bivvy.
Tony lost a big fish on his second
night, which we think was the Turtle
as it was caught a few weeks later
with a relatively fresh hook mark in its
mouth. As no other fish had been
reported lost over the next few weeks
we assumed that was the fish that
Tony had lost, but we will never know
for sure. On I think the third morning I
had a take just after first light, and as
I stood trying to get my chesties on
with a fish pulling back I wondered
who was maddest - me for being out
in the freezing weather, or the carp for
feeding? Thankfully it didn’t fight for
too long, and I was glad to finally see
a double figure common on the end,
which meant that if it didn’t fall off I
could simply unhook it in the net and
let it swim off without having to
weigh it or even take it out of the
water, it was that cold. Once it was in
the net that’s exactly what I did, and
then I put the rod back on the buzzer
and went straight back to the sleeping bag. We eventually packed up
mid-morning, and even the water in
the kettle had frozen in between
brews it was that cold. The only thing
that had stopped the lake from freezing was the relentless gale force
winds we had experienced all trip.
Over the next couple of weeks I
made a couple of trips down, ended
up fishing off the Boathouse itself, and
managed to catch on both occasions
with fish of 37lbs and 34lbs, both
caught in the middle of the night. My
health still wasn’t brilliant, and on one
of my trips to the hospital my consultant gave me a date for my surgery
unless I was rushed in again as an
emergency, in which case it would be
done then. He was looking at early
May and that meant I only had a few
weeks left before I had to go in. I had
been catching regularly all through
the season, and had set myself a target of 20 fish over 30lbs, which I had
just managed to achieve, but what I

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