FREE LINE 03 - Page 193

Essex 40s
The weekend could not come
round fast enough, and when I finally
got to the lake on Friday afternoon, I
was pleased to see only three other
anglers on the Lake, thank the carp
gods. I loaded up the porter and got
round to the swim as if my life
depended on it. In the end I decided
to fish the swim left of the Secret
known as the 13. I cast my left and
middle rods out to the middle part of
the lake in between the two
weedbeds, left of the island. To cast
my right hand rod, I had to slip into
my waders and just underarm it the
20 or so yards needed. It took a couple
of casts before I got the drop I
wanted, but I had to be sure I was on
the edge of the clear spot. It landed
bang on the money, so I just fired 50
baits out over the rigs, and the traps
were set. It was not until Saturday
afternoon that my middle rod ripped
into life. The rig did its job, the carp
popped straight to the surface, and I
was able to play it above the weed.
When I got it to the margin I could
clearly see it was one of the better
mirrors. The water in the lake is crystal clear all year round, and it was
heart stopping stuff seeing a fish of
that size so close, and attached to my
rig! The fish made a few lunges under
the rod tip, but gave up fairly easy
considering its size. It was literally no
more than a couple of minutes after
the take, and it was in the folds of my
net – result! I could not believe my
luck; the first fish of the season, and it
was one of the A-Team. I weighed the
carp and it spun the Reubens round
to 37lb 8oz – a fish known as Chunky.
I was buzzing – my first carp from the
new lake and it was one of the big
I didn’t fish much through the summer, just nine nights, and I had
another four carp – two 25lb mirrors, a
23lb mirror, and a 27lb common; all of
them from the 13. I also had a bad run
of losing four carp in September due
to hook pulls. The last Friday of September, and I was back with a plan:
boilie. I also changed two of my rods
over to the chod rig. I plotted up in a
popular swim known as the Snags,
which is directly opposite where I
caught Chunky. I put 6kgs of DT
Pukka Fish out to the silt gully in the
middle part of the lake, and I cast two
rods out to this area, both on chod
rigs. The third rod was cast to the
snags and locked up solid, still on my
normal bottom bait rig. 7am came,
and I was up gripping the first cup of
tea of the day, watching as a couple of
fish rolled over my baited area, and
one came clean out of the water in
the snags – not a massive carp, but
they were in the area.
It was not until 10.15am that I had
a funny bream-like take on the right
rod. I looked out at the spot and saw
a huge bow wave go to the right – no
bream, I thought. I picked up the rod
and just held on as the carp made a
very strong run towards the shallows.
It must have taken 40yds of line
before I was able to turn the reel and
gain some line back. I remember playing the fish very gently – after my run
of hook pulls, I didn’t need any more
mistakes, plus I knew I was attached
to a very good fish. Throughout the
fight, the fish stayed very deep, sending up plumes of bubbles as it hugged
the bottom of the lakebed. Ten minutes or so into the fight the carp
started to tire, and as I applied more
pressure, she came up in the water
and I steered the huge mirror into the
net – yes! After pulling the folds of
the net back, I saw it was Braveheart;
she went 38lb 4oz, a little down in
weight, but I didn’t mind one bit, as
she looked awesome. Kevin, the fishery manager did the photos, and we
got her back home safely. After that I
rebaited and rested the swim for a bit,
and had some breakfast, every now
and then checking my camera to
check the photos were still there –
what a nutter.
I helped my mum move house over
the weekend, and Andy my cousin
talked me into going back to the lake
on Sunday night for a two-night session. I booked the time off work –
sorry that’s a lie – I texted my boss
saying I had the man flu, and turned
my phone off for two days. I really
was starting to get obsessed by this
stage, talking about the lake to anyone who listened. I talked about it so
much even my poor girlfriend was
dreaming about Swirly the common –
I kid you not. When we arrived at the
lake there were a few anglers still on.
We decided to go round to the west
bank where it would be a little quieter, and instead of plotting up in the
13, I decided to actually set up in the
Secret and fish three rods close
together. I put two very tight patches
of boilies out just 20yds from the
bank, and then I flicked some baits in
a line in between the two baited
areas. I put a bottom bait rig on each
patch of boilies and a chod rig in the
middle, shortening the rigs down to
4ins because I had baited so tightly. I
then under-armed the choddy out in
between the two patches of bait to
where I had put the line of baits. At
around 8pm Andy was in my swim
drinking tea and he said, “It would be
nice to see one of those rod tips bend


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