FREE LINE 03 - Page 196

Essex 40s
as The Vein. Over the winter there
were 30 new carp stocked into the
lake from 10lb to 22lb, which was
going to make my quest for Swirly a
lot tougher. In May I had 15 carp to
30lb 2oz. The 30 was a repeat capture
of the Long Common. June was much
the same; I caught thirteen carp to
22lb, but just couldn’t get amongst
the better fish. I decided to spend the
rest of the summer on another lake I
have a ticket for. I had great fun over
there taking carp to mid 20’s from
right in the edge. It was so exciting
seeing big tails wafting out of the
water eating all my bait. I lost a couple of better fish, but I’ll be back there
next summer, that’s for sure!
At the end of August I decided to
head back to the lake in search of
Swirly. My first night back I had two
20’s from the Snags, and I also had a
couple more doubles. I didn’t manage
to get back to lake again until September 14th, and when I got there it
was packed solid. I had a few swims
to choose from, and opted to plot up
in the end of the Path Swim. The
weather forecast for the next day was
hot and sunny. The end of Path Swim
is down the shallow end of the lake;
there is a reed bed all along its right
hand margin, and Swirly had been
caught from here twice during my
first year on the lake. The first night
was quiet, but the next day I climbed
the tree down the shallows, and saw
Swirly 41lb.
a couple of carp patrolling the reeds
to my right. I put my chest waders on,
and walked through the reeds until I
got to the water’s edge. There was a
big bank of weed up against the
reeds, so I waded out past that, and
dropped a chod rig in 5ft of water next
to the weedbed. I then scattered 20
broken baits around the rig, walked
back the 30yds up the margin, and set
the rod down on the Delkim. I locked
the rod up, as I didn’t want any fish to
pick up a head of steam and bury
itself in the weed. That morning Neil
and Darren Messenger came round
for a chat. A few cups of tea later, and
Darren asked me why I wasn’t resting
my swim like normal. My answer was
that I knew Swirly was coming out
soon, and I wanted it badly! Neil and
Darren shared some stories of their
Yateley days with me, and we chilled
out most of that morning.
About 2pm they headed back to
their swims, telling me I would not
have to wait long for Swirly! At about
4-ish I dozed off. It seemed like I had
only just closed my eyes when my
waded-out rod was calling for some
urgent attention. The rod was at full
test curve before I lifted it off the
buzzer. As I lifted into the fish, I made
no impression on it at all; it had
buried itself in the weed. I knew it
was a good fish, so I wriggled into my
chest waders – not easy when you’re
still asleep. By now the fish had come
to a complete halt in the thick Canadian pondweed. I walked out to the
carp, throwing the net forward, and
picking up the slack line as best I
could. As I got almost above the fish it
kicked and moved left on a tight line.
I just followed the fish, trying to take
my time, and again throwing the net
in front of me. The fish rose up in the
water, and rolled on the surface. I
thought I saw the scales of a common, but could not be sure, as the sun
was in my eyes. I eased off the clutch
in case the fish bolted at the last
minute, and hoisted it up over the
landing net cord first time. Once the
fish was safely in the net, I looked up
at my audience of anglers, and Neil
shouted across the lake, “What is it,
At this point I knew it was Swirly,
but for some reason I could not get
my words out; I was in total shock
and awe of this huge common carp in
my landing net. I had dreamt about
this moment many times over the last
18 months, and the whole experience
was a bit much to take in. All the lads
came round to do the photos, and
Darren christened his new EOS with a
40lb common. She went 41lb exactly,
not that it mattered, as I’d caught the
Swirly common. I will remember that
day forever; the whole thing was like
a dream, and thanks to all the lads for
making my time at the lake unforgettable. n


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