FREE LINE 03 - Page 214



North Carping
swim. As I recall there were some
decent fish out in front of me, and
some of the better fish as well. They
were throwing themselves about
everywhere, and I could not believe
my luck. A very good fish was to be
had if I played my cards right.
I remember getting some bait on
them, and just sitting back and
watching them boiling, fizzing, rolling
– right heart-stopping activity it was.
Anyway, I was very restless that
night; you could cut the atmosphere
with a knife. Sometimes you just
know something is going to go off,
and it certainly did. Just after midnight the rod just tore off – talk about
midnight screamers. I fought with
this beast for ages, and I shouted to
the angler next door, but he must
have been in a coma. Eventually I had
it in the net, and I couldn’t believe it –
I’d caught Arthur at 27lbs, so I was
well peaking, I can tell you. I sacked
old Arthur up and went and told the
lads what I had caught; I was so
excited I couldn’t wait until morning.
Naturally, everyone was well made up
for me as any named fish always
causes a fuss amongst us, and I
would see them in the morning for the
photographs.
Shropshire 36lb 12oz.
214 FREE LINE
Morning came; I reeled in my rods,
and asked the angler next to me to
keep an eye on the fish while I nipped
off up the lake to get everyone. It was
quite a gathering as we walked back
to my swim, but on approaching
something just came over me. The
angler who I’d asked to keep an eye
out was looking a bit white in the
face, and then I saw a face I did not
recognise holding a dripping empty
sack – my sack! My worst nightmare
had come true – yes, he had released
Arthur into the lake. His excuse was
that he wanted to fish the peg that I’d
sacked Arthur up in, and he thought it
had been forgotten about. Well the air
was blue, and he was lucky it was my
fish he had put back because if it had
been someone else’s, he would have
been swimming with the ducks rather
swiftly. What can you say after that, a
dream fish put back like that? Everyone felt for me at the time, and some
asked how I could be so cool about it,
but that’s the way things go sometimes.
Maybe it came too early; I don’t
know, but the best advice I got came
from my mate Dave who said it was
fate, and that I’d catch it again.
“Christ Dave,” I said, “It’s hard enough
catching them once never mind
twice!” But he was bloody right; I
went on to catch Arthur again the following season. I couldn’t believe it; it
was meant to happen I guess, and I
guarded that sack as if my life
depended on it. So events like this do
happen for a reason, it’s just recognising why they do. My thoughts were
simple; it happened too early for me,
and Hawk wanted its pound of flesh
off me. I did write a little poem about
it one time, which summed it up for
me.
Anyway, we stayed on Hawk for
another couple of seasons, and
caught some great carp along the
way. Another capture springs to
mind; I can remember the lake was
fishing really tough, and Dave and I
were up in the Maze area struggling
with the rest of them. I was in my
favourite swim, 109, and Dave was in
the Leak. We’d already done a couple
of days without so much as a bleep,
but that was not to last long. One
morning I had the Italian out at a little
over 23lb, and then I heard Dave had
got Wax Back sacked up at 26lb. We
just had to have a brace shot of these
two great carp together; it was like
having the paparazzi around for the
morning with all the cameras going
off. That catch just seemed to gee
everybody up at the time, but it’s
always nice to see fish on the bank no
matter who has caught them.
The following season some of the
lads decided to move onto pastures
new, one water being Redesmere in
Cheshire. I did have a go myself, and I
caught a couple of nice fish, but it
was not my cup of tea; I just could not
take to the place. Dave stuck at it and
did well on there, as did other anglers
I knew, so hats off to them, as it was
not easy. Most of us had dropped our
tickets by now for Hawk, so I was
back flitting between my local
waters. I did rejoin Hawk six years
ago, and I must say it was great to get
back into the groove. The place hadn’t
changed that much at all, the only difference being that they had built a
road right up the lake’s length, which
is great, as you haven’t got that massive walk any more, which is just as
well because I don’t think I could
manage it these days.
A lot of the older fish have passed
on now but the lake still has that
magic, and some quality fish to catch.
We did have a bit of a problem with

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