FREE LINE 03 - Page 126

Curse of the Black Swan
was probably the widest fish I have
ever seen; I could just make out its
immense width underneath the snag
bush to the right, and I was spellbound by it. It didn’t move, so I could
get a better view of it, and then I went
and got my gear and set up in the
swim opposite. I was shaking as I
thought just how big that fish was; it
was an upper 40 without a doubt. I
cast three single pop-ups out as close
as I could, and sat there for next 24
hours blanking my arse off in minus
seven degrees at night, until the lake
finally froze me out, and I had to pack
up – god it was cold. I sneaked a look
on my way round off to home, but
there was nothing in the snags, not
even a jack pike.
The next three weeks were much
the same, with the lake frozen or very
cold at least, and it wasn’t until the
end of December that I managed to
get down when the weather was
more clement, and low pressures
were above the UK with nice strong
south-westerly winds forecast for the
next week or so. The week before I
had been talking to a regular who had
fished the lake for a couple of seasons, and had done very well in the
winter. He had told me about an area
out from the car park that had produced in winters past, so as the far
end was occupied again, I decided to
get the marker out and have a cast
about. This was on the back of the
now very strong wind, and was a
more comfortable proposition for both
the fish and me, I thought. I had a few
casts and just found lots of thick
Canadian pondweed, but on my next
cast I dropped short to about 90yds
from the area I had been told about,
and was met with a nice donk of the
lead. I pulled back and it felt like nice
silt; in fact it felt just like the spot that
I had been baiting and fishing up the
other end. I let the float up and it was
7ft – nice, I thought. I clipped up and
cast it 10ft to the right of the last spot;
again it went down with a donk, and
again as I let the float up. It was 7ft –
that’s the area, I thought. I could get
three rods in there, and it just felt so
good, so I marked the spot out along
the bank in case I was lucky enough
to get a bite over the next 48 hours. I
set my home up, cast my three bottom baits onto the spot all in a line,
and was met with a reassuring donk
on every rod. At last I was fishing all
three rods on a nice deeper area, and
I was well confident.
To cut a long story short, I didn’t
manage to catch that trip, even
though the weather was spot-on –
the pressure was low, and below
1000. But I did see a good fish show
behind the area on my last morning,
and I was sure this was the area I now
wanted to fish for the winter. Looking
back, I was probably a week early to
fish the swim, due to it having been
so damn cold the three weeks before.
I forgot to mention that the water
temperature was down at five
degrees that session, and the more I
take the temperature the more I have
found that really is on the limit of
catching. I would be back the next
week for sure, and as I packed all my
gear away I introduced a couple of
kilos of 18mm to the area -I couldn't
wait to get back.
The weather had stayed mild that
week in between, and as I jumped out
of the van with thermometer in hand
it just felt so mild. We were now at the
start of January, and a new year was
upon us, with new hopes. I lowered
the thermometer into the crystal clear
margins, and sat for a couple of minutes. I pulled it out, and it said seven
degrees! That was what I had been
looking for – a rise in temperature –
they had to be on the move and feeding after their lay up. Again the wind
was strong westerly, and was forecast
to stay that way during my stay. The
rods had been clipped up, and they
sailed out first time perfectly. I
(Top) Bobbins nice and slack, looking
for line bites.
(Left) Looking out to the new winter


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