FREE LINE 03 - Page 208



Wherever I Lay My Mat
proceeded to spread three mag-aligners along the silty gully. I’d just got
the bivvy up when the right-hander
was away, but disaster struck and I
missed it! I quickly re-positioned the
rod, and was just slackening off the
line when the left-hand buzzer stuttered. I looked down, thinking I’d
caught the line with my sleeve, and
realised I hadn’t! The clutch began to
tick; I pointed the rod skyward, and
the rod assumed a healthy bend; I’d
only hooked one! Dave shouted, “You
in?” I replied, “Yeah, and it doesn’t feel
too bad either.” A good while later
Dave did a pukka job with the net,
and in she went. We both glanced
over the net, and Dave said, “That’s
The Friendly Linear, mate.” She looked
big! Dave and a couple of the others
confirmed the weight at 39lb 12oz, a
top weight for the fish, and a new PB
by 4oz – awesome!
The next night a few fish came out,
including an upper-20 common to my
rods. I was obviously made up with
what had happened so far, especially
as not much else had been out for a
while, and the weather had turned
30lb 2oz PB leather.
208 FREE LINE
cold, it was -4 with a cold northeasterly that night. After returning the
common I repositioned the rod and
got back in the bag to warm up. I
could hear a couple of birds tweeting,
signalling that dawn was about to
break. I was just dozing off when I
heard my buzzer let out three single
beeps, so I donned my boots and
leapt towards the rods. As I looked
down I noticed the hanger was at the
top. I paused for a split second and
the clutch started to fizz as the buzzer
screamed, and I picked up the rod,
which bent right through. It seemed
to take forever to get the fish to the
bank, and for every 10yds I gained she
seemed to want 20 back! Eventually I
put the net under a thick set dark
looking mirror. I peered in and knew
straight away which one I’d caught. It
was Nigel’s Fish that I knew had last
been out at 41lb-plus, and she looked
immense! I called Dave and he confirmed my suspicions. We hoisted her
up on the scales via a weigh bar, and
I’ll never forget the words that came
from Dave’s mouth “40… 40… F**k
me, Andy, 43lb 6oz, mate!”
“Eh?” I said, not believing my ears.
Dave repeated, “FORTY THREE SIX,
MATE!” We turned the Reubens
round so I could see for myself, and I
must say that watching that needle
pass the 40lb mark turned my knees
to jelly. What a great end to a blinder
of a year; a truly magical and fantastic
moment. Dave completed that
moment with some awesome photography, and off she went, all 43lbs of
her! That was my first 40, a new PB
and a new venue record – it was all a
bit mad really, and I’m still grinning
about it now.
After getting over that little lot we
had a social on the Blue Pool where
the mag-aligner came up trumps
once again – multiple captures and a
bloody good jolly with two good
friends. That’s about it for socials and
nights for me this year. I’ve just got a
Frimley ticket (days only), so I’ll hopefully be down there soon to drown a
few maggots and harass a few carp.
Maybe I’ll even manage to stay put
for more than a few sessions.
P.S. I reckon that mag-aligner
thingy’s all right Rob, don’t you? n

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