FREE LINE 03 - Page 199

In Search of Beasts and Beauties
(Right) The gap.
(Below) First of the year.
ensued. I’d hooked the fish up against
a snaggy bush in the margin. In these
situations, it is important to show the
fish who’s boss, but I was starting to
wonder. Thankfully, I was triumphant,
and ten minutes later, I had a good
20lb common in the net, and was
searching around the complex in the
fading light for a willing photographer. I couldn’t find another angler,
but I did bump into the fishery manager, Paul, who was actually looking
for me in order to shut up shop. After
a brief bit of chitchat I asked him to
do the honours with the camera as I
had one in the net. The fish was
weighed at 27lb 12oz, had his photo
taken, and was returned, none the
worse for his ordeal. The fishery manager hung around whilst I gathered
my kit up, and during conversation he
mentioned the lake was not that busy
of late, but did seem to be fishing well
to the few that were making the
effort. Just what I wanted to hear, and
with that a plan was hatched. Without
that little bit of info, I would have
p r o b a b l y f i s h e d e l s e w h e r e, a n d
missed out on a very enjoyable year.
So I went full steam ahead that
winter and fished hard, moving
around a lot to try and build up a picture of each swim. The lake is small,
about five acres, has two islands close
together with a channel running
between them, plenty of margin
snags and safe havens for the fish. It
is mainly a deep water with the odd
plateau or bar dotted around. The
average depth was around 10-14ft,
with about 6ft in the margins, and
shallower water around the islands.
The stock of fish is around 40 carp,
and a lot of the old, original stock
were named fish and most were real
corkers; each capture was very special. I would say ten of the fish were
30lbs-plus, and five of them were in
the mid to upper-30 bracket. That


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