FREE LINE 03 - Page 68

Return to the Grand Union
(Above) 22.04
(Below) 25.08
Just before packing up at 6am I got
a blistering take on the towpath rod. I
hit into it and the fish just kept taking
line from the off. It was a couple of
minutes before it started slowing
down, by which time it was some
40yds up the canal, where it boiled on
top. I made some line on it, but then
suddenly it all went slack. I wound in,
checked the rig and the hook felt
okay, so I could only guess I must
have just had a weak hookhold. I was
happy that I’d had a fish, but being a
repeat and then losing what felt like a
good fish, well on fighting terms anyway, I went to work not exactly in the
best frame of mind.
After that didn’t get down the canal
for a few weeks, as it was now the
start of the old season and a lake I
was on had just opened up again. I’d
kept the bait going in, and I got back
onto the canal at the end of June. I got
set up about 10pm, a little later than
normal, and I baited up the spots as
usual with around 20 18mm baits on
each spot. I broke a few boilies up as
well, and swapped my rigs around
again, hopefully keeping those fish on
their fins. Two hours into the session,
and I had a ripper of a take on the
towpath rod, similar to the take on my
previous trip down. I played this one a
bit more gently, and it was starting to
take the pee out of me, tanking off to
my left, then turning toward me then
tanking it past me to my right, then to
the left again, then to my right. If I’d
had a spectator watching behind me,
they would have got tennis neck, left,
right, left, right, etc. The runs started
getting shorter, but it just kept bat-
tling away under the rod tip, and I
guess everyone reading this has had
the same question in their head that I
had – how’s the hookhold? Eventually
I got the fish into the net on the
umpteenth time of trying. It wasn’t a
massive fish, but all I could see was
the big tail. It was broken linear,
where I guess two or three scales
have come off over the years, otherwise it would have been a perfect linear, weighing in at 21lbs. I gave the
fish the name Rudder, and you can
see why in the pictures.
The following week I was down for
an overnighter again, after I’d baited
up twice during the week. On the
night I was fishing I just topped up
with a dozen baits around each rod.
I’d got down at a more reasonable
time of 7pm, then I settled back and
listened to the footie on the radio, and
I hit the sack dreaming of fat canal
carp. I was woken to a slow take on
the reed bed rod. I picked up the rod,
wound down and struck into the fish.
The fish boiled straight away by the
reeds, then took off slowly into the
middle of the canal. It felt like a reasonable sized carp, with its big
lunges, but it never really powered off
on any long runs. It started playing up
when I was trying to get it into the
net, but in it went eventually. I could


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