FREE LINE 03 - Page 74



Return to the Grand Union
on the reed bed rod, just to try something different. It was a similar setup
to the chod rig, but replacing the stiff
boom section with 7ins of 10lb Merlin
braid and a size 6 ESP Big T hook. I
preferred the Big T hook to the Stiff
Rigger with the supple Merlin braid.
The light was just starting to fade as I
put my rigs in place, and again I
placed about a dozen Choc and
Orange Nut boilies just past each of
the hookbaits. Then I got under my
brolly as some nasty looking black
clouds were starting to move in.
At roughly 1am the reed bed rod
took off slowly. I jumped out of the
bag and noticed it had been raining
as I slipped on the wet grass, nearly
landing on my rods. I wound down
and struck into the fish, which nearly
pulled the rod out of my hands, and I
just about managed to loosen the
clutch in time to let the fish take line.
The line was coming off the spool at a
slow and steady rate, and every time I
tried to slow its run down it picked up
its pace. The fish was some way down
the canal to my left at this point, and I
could also feel that it had taken me
through a weedbed. I had to walk
down towards the fish to give it some
24.04 – New Stretch
74 FREE LINE
pressure, and then it came free of the
weedbed and once again took off, this
time to my right. Eventually I was
standing back where I’d started, with
the landing net at the ready. The fish
was really powerful, and it took some
time to get it up to the surface. My
arms were starting to ache as it swam
towards me and dived down the towpath margin to my right, boiling on
I just could not
believe the
needle was
shaking around
the 39lb mark!
the surface and turning, going under
my feet to my left, when I quickly
scooped the fish into the net. The fish
wasn’t ready to be netted, as it kept
on trying to swim off, but it started to
settle down.
So with the net hanging over the
towpath and a big lump of a carp sitting in it I got my mat and scales etc
ready. Then the fish made a sudden
bid for freedom, with me just grabbing the net in time as it tried a furt h e r t h r e e t i m e s t o g e t a w a y. I
grabbed a bankstick, and secured the
net so I could get my camera gear
ready for some self-pictures. I then
took the net apart and rolled it up and
as I started to lift the fish out. It was at
this moment that I realised how big
the fish actually was, and I grabbed
the mat to protect it before lifting it
out. I then realised that this was the
big fish I’d been after for so many
years. I lifted the fish out and onto the
mat, where the fish was still angry
and fighting with me as I took the
hook out, after which it calmed down
a little. I put it into the sling to register
the weight, and I was shaking like
mad. I just could not believe that the
needle was shaking around the 39lb
mark! I knew then that taking pictures by myself was going to be hard,
so I placed the fish into a sack for a
few moments. I tried to ring a couple
of mates, but at 1am no one
answered, so I had to call home to my
girlfriend. She answered sleepily, and
I asked her if she could take some pictures for me, as I wouldn’t be able to
do it myself. Like an angel she turned
up about 20 minutes later. I got the
fish out to hopefully get a good reading on the scales with my nerves
slightly calmer. The needle was still
shaking between 38lb 13oz and 39lb
4oz, and I settled for 38lb 13oz as the
final weight. Caroline took some great
pictures as you can see – thanks,
sweetie.
I carried on fishing the stretch for a
while, but it just dried up, and then I
started to get hassled by tench,
bream and crayfish. Early in August I
managed to catch No Fins again, this
time weighing in at 27lbs. That was
my last carp from the area, which
notched up my 20th fish over the 20lb
mark from that stretch in an 18month period. I then decided to move
and fish somewhere else, five miles
away from the original stretch, and in
an industrial area – not good for midweek overnighters it has to be said!
I’ve had a mixed bag of results so far
with a few fish to 24lbs and a lot of
blanks, with crayfish also causing a
problem. I know that this area has
done a mid-30 a couple of years ago
though, which is also a different fish
to the one I caught, so maybe I will
get lucky in 2008. n

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