FREE LINE 03 - Page 108

In Search of Monster Carp
31lb common – Birch
wanted to fish there and you had any
problems getting back to the car, as
the gates closed sharp on the hour, or
the minute should I say, and if you
missed them and they’d gone home,
you were knackered. I don’t actually
know anyone who got stuck, but
these days we’ve all got the mobile
numbers of the bailiffs and everything, but in those days we didn’t
have that, or at least I didn’t, because
I probably wasn’t in the know then.
You had to leave an hour before the
gate shut to make sure you got back
to your car before they bloody shut
the gates, which probably was some
of the best fishing time.
But anyway, I turned up that day
with a friend of mine, and I went
down the far end, opposite the rushes.
It was early-ish in the season; they
hadn’t mowed the grass, they’d let it
grow, and if I remember rightly, the
grass was probably 4-5ft high, so it
was lovely. You’d get in your swim,
and the banks were all strawy and
grassy, and you’d lie back, and the
sun was out – fantastic, and as I say
the wildlife is brilliant. I knew where I
wanted to go; there’s a swim down
the far side, opposite some rushes
called the Little Tree. To be honest it’s
a grass bank, so where they get Little
Tree from I don’t know, but we all give
these things silly names. There were
only three people that I can remember
on the complex, and they’d got there
before me. In those days I don’t think
it made that much of a difference
whether you were half hour late or
whatever. So I just made the walk
down to the reservoir, went up the
grassy bank, looked across, decided
to go down to the tree, pushed my
gear all the way down the far side
with my friend, and sat there for a
couple of minutes, knackered, and
sweating my guts out. I wanted to
cast my rods out, but I didn’t have the
energy, and then I saw a fish out in
the middle. Now we’re talking probably a 90yd cast, or maybe a little bit
more. I think it was Terry Dempsey
(excuse me if it wasn’t you, mate)
fishing to my left up the bank a little
way. He’s a top angler, been around a
lot of years, and he wasn’t there for no
reason. He, like myself, knew there
were some nice fish in there, and
obviously it speaks for itself.
Anyway, I saw a fish showing out in
front of me, and I cast the three rods
out. I can’t actually remember the bait
I was using at the time; I know I said
that I was using the pineapple popups on Sutton, but I didn’t have a lot
of confidence in the big open
expanses of water at that time, and
then just using a small bait. I wanted
to use something fairly bright and
large, even though the bait probably
didn’t really matter. I was just confident that what I was using worked,
and that was it really, so I cast the
baits out into open water, and I had a
take. From what I remember, it was
probably a low double, but I went on
to have five fish that day, which I am
going to go on and explain about, but
it was the best hit I have ever had out
of that reservoir. Hopefully, though, I
will better it some year – who knows?
It was a fantastic day, with wispy
clouds blowing past, a slight breeze
on the water, and no major troubles at
all. The wind was blowing directly
from behind me, so I was getting that
extra 10yds out in the reservoir. It
averages 22ft deep, so it is quite a
deep water. I had never fished anywhere with this depth before; you
cast out, and literally you have to
count your lead down. If you just put
it on the rest straight away, your lead
hasn’t hit the bottom yet; it’s a weird
sensation, and as I say, I’d only
recently been fishing a three-acre pit,
which had an average depth of 6-7ft.
They are no comparison whatsoever,
total opposite ends of the spectrum.
Anyway, I went on to catch a 27lb
common, a fantastic fish, and an


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