FREE LINE 03 - Page 128



Curse of the Black Swan
refrained from putting any bait out,
and waited until just before dark,
when I sprayed out 20 baits over the
area, avoiding the attentions of the
ravenous seagulls during the daylight
hours.
Everything was perfect on that trip.
I rang a friend who was on a lake further up the M4; he had seen fish, and
was very confident as well. I settled
down that night listening to the wind
blow over the bivvy, anticipating
some action. I wasn’t to be disappointed; the middle rod let out a couple of bleeps before pulling up tight,
and the clutch started ticking in tune
with the ATTX by my head as I slept.
I leapt into the darkness without a
care for footwear and bent into my
quarry. The fight was slow and to be
honest uneventful, but I didn’t care as
I peered into the net to a very good
fish. It was now raining, but I didn’t
care, as it was the fish fish of 2008,
and from the newfound area. Up she
went in the dark, and I squinted as my
head torch illuminated the dial on the
scales, which read 42lb 8oz of winter
mirror. Blimey, I was blown away! I
duly sacked her up in deeper water,
and looked at my watch. It was
5.30am, the barometer was now at
1005, up five from before I went to
bed, and the temperature of the lake
was 7.5 degrees.
We took the photos of this stunning
fish in the morning; I returned her
without any harm, and made plans to
stay another night. I’m glad I did, and
was fortunate enough to have a nice
low-20 mirror, again around 5.30am.
The pressure had again jumped up a
bit at 1010, and the temperature was
a constant 7.5 degrees. I noted the
recordings in my red book with interest, as the pressure had been rising
where I would have thought a constant low or falling pressure would be
the ideal catching conditions. Again I
sprayed the area with a couple of
kilos of bait, and clipped the rods up
to the markers down along the path.
The following week, the weather
was due to take a turn for the worse
with some frost forecast, but the days
before I arrived had been mild, with
low pressure and strong winds, so I
felt as if I had missed the best catching chances. The weather was still
and noticeably colder than the week
before, and the digital barometer
showed 1015 – not good, I thought,
but I had a chance. The water temper-
128 FREE LINE
(Top) My chosen winter rig.
(Middle) Before a pick-up.
(Above) After a pickup, notice the bait pulls the hook home.

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