FREE LINE 03 - Page 213

North Carping
we caught 37 carp in that time, and
both of us broke our personal bests;
Dave had a long lean common of
24lbs, and I had an Italian mirror that
made 23lbs. We caught fully scaled
mirrors, other lovely commons and
Dave had a bonus leather carp that
rounded it all of quite nicely. To us at
the time, that’s what it was all about,
hard work lining up your targets, and
taking it out in such a short space of
time. It was a once in a lifetime experience; sometimes you think you’re
just born to do this carp fishing.
So after the successful campaign
on the Mere, I was left with no option
but to look further afield. I was well
happy to do this, as I thought at least
I had enough experience in my
armoury to take up a totally new challenge. I’d heard about a water in the
lovely Shropshire area through my
mates; I managed to get the address,
and quickly got a letter off in the post.
I knew it would be a bit of a wait to
gain membership, but it would be
worth it. As it worked out at the time,
a different club ran the Crewe length
further up the lake, and I was able to
get hold of a ticket for this part of the
water, which came in very handy
indeed. Not only could I do a bit of
easy fishing, but I could also keep an
eye on the main lake at the same time
– talk about killing two birds with one
I used to get my head down in the
back of my mate Dave’s bivvy at the
time because he was a member of the
main lake. We used to do some big
sessions back then, and still do so
today. I would get up early in the
morning, have a bit of breakfast, and
get myself up the Crewe length to do
some carp fishing. It held loads of
carp, mostly doubles and a sprinkling
of low-20’s. Rumour has it that Chris
Tarrant had a 30lb carp out a few
years back, whether that is true I
don’t know, but I can well believe it.
Anyway, at the time I was using
Bandit Baits, which my mate Dave
owns. I think I was on his fishmeal at
the time, and it absolutely murdered
the place; you could catch well into
double figures throughout the day, no
problem – and what great sport that
was. However, the main lake was a
totally different story; to catch a couple of fish in a session was a great
result. It was hard work, end of story,
but the rewards were there to be had
if you stuck at it. Some fine fish were
Dave, Eccleston Mere 1990, 24lb 4oz big common.
on offer too, with the likes of Black
Spot, the Gut Bucket, Arthur, Wax
Back, and the Italian to name but a
few. Surely stealth and patience
would play a big part in putting some
of these great fish on the bank?
Watching some of the anglers for that
first season really opened my eyes.
This lake demanded every ounce of
effort you could muster up, and nothing was given on a plate; you simply
had to work damned hard to get your
results. I was well aware of the challenge that lay before me, even though
I couldn’t fish it, and at the time I was
gathering valuable experience that
would stand me in good stead for
when the time came when I could fish
So that first year flashed by, and
during the closed season, a white
envelope dropped through the letterbox with ‘Shropshire’ stamped on it,
and I was all excited opening it. I’d
got in, so I ran down to Dave’s to tell
him. That closed season was spent
getting all organised for the start, and
I couldn’t wait; Hawk Lake had me in
a headlock. Back then we came up
with something to start the season
off; we were going to dehydrate our
baits just to be that little bit different.
Mind you, you had to prepare them
properly, slowly drying them out over
time, and by the time the season was
upon us, they were rock hard and
ready to go. From memory, we started
off slowly, with nothing for three or
four days, then bang, the fish got on
them. I think we had about 16 fish
between us on that session, which
was exceptional at the time; a season’s worth of fish in one session.
Then again we did do almost three
weeks on the lake without a break, so
no wonder we were called ‘The Bandits’. Well, we were off and running
after that, catching quite consistently,
not many fish, but enough to keep us
ticking over. The bird food seemed to
be keeping up with the fishmeal too,
and we were well happy about that.
Now, this brings me to something I
will always remember, at the time I
called it a ‘twist of fate’ and here
It was the month of July; the lake
was quite busy at the time, and after a
good mooch around we found some
fish in the main pads area. I decided
to drop in the right side; I would have
preferred the left side of the pads but
another angler was in there, and I
think Dave went up on the Leak


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