FREE LINE 03 - Page 133



Springing into the Valley
our historic capital centre, I was
threading my way through the leafy
suburbs until the M3 had me hastily
on my way to the Hampshire borders
for my inaugural session.
Upon arrival at the lake, I was
greeted by my mate, Mick The Greek,
and it was approaching that time to
have a brew as the sun finally decided
to rise and cast a semblance of
warmth over the landscape as a chilly
Siberian wind cut through the flesh
and chilled to the bone.
As we chatted, a few of the regulars
dropped by, and pleasantries were
exchanged, which naturally led to the
subject of carp. I was encouraged to
hear that in spite of the cold temperatures, a few fish had been banked
from a spread of swims around the
lake, so the signs were good. After all
this carp-orientated banter was conc l u d e d, m y s t o m a c h m u s t h a v e
thought that my throat had been cut,
and my hunger pangs, coupled with a
lack of sleep, were causing me to
become a bit irritable, so I cajoled
Mick and Ben into cracking on with
their interpretation of breakfast. I say
breakfast in the loosest sense of the
word, because the culinary carnage
that was undertaken by these two
wannabe Jamie Olivers was, at best, a
gut-wrenching experience. First up to
the pan was bicep bulging Ben
Owen, who immediately deposited a
butter mountain for the bacon to
'cook' in. Naturally the butter burnt
over the roaring heat, and that added
a new dimension to this early morning dining experience, leaving the
bacon fat cremated, but the meat
seemingly underdone! Not wishing to
seem ungrateful, I ate it, but I had a
rather twitchy intestinal tract for the
rest of the day! I declined Mick's offer
of an egg sandwich, and having seen
the mess he made in the pan with the
egg over burnt butter, he certainly
lived to regret it, as his bowels produced a deluge of brown liquid over
the next 24 hours, when he wasn't
being sick and sleeping! What a good
start to my inaugural session this was
turning into. Mick went home feeling
terrible, and my fishing continued in
earnest as I tried to catch one or two
of the syndicate’s carpy residents in
his absence, but it just proves that
these youngsters aren’t made of the
stouter stuff like us older campaigners.
I had just started using my new bait
from the Nash camp, which is going
to be my staple bait on my CEMEX
campaign over the next year, and
whilst I know the pedigree is good, I
am never totally confident until I have
caught on it. The tench were waking
up from their winter inactivity, and
they seemed to have developed a
healthy penchant for the stuff, judging
by the way they were hooking themselves on it at every opportunity. One
would naturally find this a trifle irksome at silly o'clock in the morning,
but I felt it was only a matter of time
before the carp turned up and added
to the tally. My initial 48-hour stint
was rapidly drawing ever nearer to a
conclusion as the velvety cloak of
darkness shrouded this springscape
with its flora swollen in bud. I sat
there in the chill of the night, cupping
my hands round a cappuccino, and
occasionally glimpsing the fading tail
of a shooting star as the night sky
shimmered like a jewel encrusted
robe. With my heat giving drink finished, the temperature began to take
a noticeable downwards turn, and it
wasn’t long before I returned to the
comfort of the bivvy and took my
position in the slumber zone.
The red eyed Tincas were on the
feed again, and throughout the course
of the night, they proceeded to wreak
havoc in my swim. Come dawn, my
eyes resembled theirs, and coupled
with the cold, the morning came as a
severe shock to the system, especially
when I had to prise myself from the
comfort of the sleeping bag and face
the crystalline landscape as the hard
frost glistened in the morning sun.
33lb mirror, first one off the tree spot.
FREE LINE 133

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