FREE LINE 03 - Page 203

In Search of Beasts and Beauties
leaving no bait on the spot. On these
occasions we couldn’t walk away
leaving the spot with no bait, so put
another 1kg out and left. This way of
baiting worked wonders later on in
the year when the fish really got on
the bait, allowing us to fish singles
and stringers out in the pond when
the birdlife became unbearable.
The year didn’t really start as
planned, and by the end of April only
(Top) The awesome black common.
(Below) Si with L.C.
five fish had been out. I’d managed
one of them, a 28lb common in February, and managed to lose a few. Si
struggled a bit to begin with, but
needn’t have worried as on a Thursday overnighter he landed his first
carp from the lake, and would you
believe it – the biggest fish in the
pond. The fish hadn’t been out for at
least two years, when it had been
38lbs, but this time it weighed 42lb
4oz. The following day at work, Si was
on cloud nine and not much use, due
to a bit of a celebration at 5am! (I
wasn’t much better!). We returned
after work to do the weekend along
with the rest of the crowd. No one
else had a fish that weekend, but Si
had another, a mirror called The
Hoover at 35lb 8oz (steady on bruv!)
The 42 was a common that didn’t
have a name, and as Si was the first to
have it at 40lbs-plus, so everyone
thought he had the right to name her,
and he did after someone very special
to him, Nina (rest in peace). Funnily
enough it turned out to be one of the
commons I landed back in 2000, but
almost double the size.
Since my fish in February, I managed to chalk up a fair few blank
nights ‘til my next fish, a 27lb 8oz fish
called the Black Common. We both
did our fair bit of struggling, in fact
everyone did. But it all started to click
into place, as it does when things
start coming together and you have a
few captures to draw info from. By
this stage our preferred rigs were 6ft
brown leaders, 3oz sandy inlines and
short, stiff hook links of about 4ins,
and a size 10 super strong G-Point,
fished with a long hair accompanied
by a small bag on the hook containing
six 15mm baits, one of which goes on
the long hair. This allows me to fish a
long hair and know it hasn’t tangled.
These rigs were used for fishing hard
bottoms. It was around June when it
really started happening, and all the
effort of baiting up was really paying
off. Obviously I can’t detail every capture but there were some memorable
times. I started to do a bit of time in a
swim called Second Snags near to
one of the spots we were baiting. This
swim didn’t really get fished due to
the swim being very tight and
snaggy. I’d fish two rods, both locked
up, but with slack lines. I’d place the
rigs by winding the rigs right up to
the tip ring, and with a bit of jiggerypokery and some careful maneuvering with the rod tip under the water, I
could drop the rig right under the
branches of the bushes about 1ft from
the bank, either side of the swim, both
on cracking spots right on the patrol
route in and out of the snags. It was
hairy fishing, real stealth business. If I
dropped something, scuffed my feet
about or actually stood up, the game
was over. If I took my eye off the ball,
or rod, I could have a take and lose it
in the blink of an eye. I wouldn’t recommend it to the faint hearted or anyone who doesn’t know what they are


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