freeline-20 - Page 78



Made In England
Martin Poland with a lovely 45lb common.
Done him, I had indeed, because on
the mat we gawped at a stunning
three-foot long, scaly beauty of 33lb
8oz. This was getting better and better. Reg had another in the early
morning, a 21lb mirror, and then we
sat and discussed tactics for the next
24 hours. If anything, the wind was
getting stronger so there was no
thought of moving, and after a hearty
breakfast at a nearby cafe, with mushrooms, we set about getting ready for
the evening. I’d decided that, despite
all the fish coming to singles, I’d spod
a bit of bait onto the bar and catapult
some boilies around the area, as it
seemed that the fish might be moving
up and down the bar, and I thought
Reg was getting just a little greedy.
Two baits were fished on the bar, one
in amongst the bait and the other just
off the back of the bar and a little
away from the bait. By early evening
we’d received no more action so it
seemed that from now until early
morning was probably the time – so
we went to the pub! We’d agreed that
we should go and watch the Champions League final at a local watering
hole, and as we’d already had a great
result, we carried on with that plan.
Thankfully, we’re not Man Utd supporters otherwise our whole weekend
78 FREE LINE
would have been ruined, but we just
revelled in Barcelona’s skills, had a
couple of pints of Guinness, then got
back to the swims just as the sun was
setting.
All three rods were clipped up so it
was Bosh! Bosh! Bosh! and we were
angling again. The kettle had barely
boiled though, when my middle rod
was away and I struck into a fish that
immediately hugged the back of the
bar and buried itself in the weed. I
kept steady pressure on for a minute
or so and could feel that familiar
throbbing down the line when the rod
tip popped back and the fish was
gone. On winding in, we saw that the
hook point had turned over. Whether
that happened before, during or after
was moot. The fish was gone and I
was a bit miffed. Strangely, that was
the last of the action and I left fairly
early the next morning, very happy
with events. A top weekend, in top
company and with some stunning
fish to boot. And if it hadn’t been for
the fish at Ashmead spawning I
would probably never have gone, but
there’s no doubt I’ll be making a
return visit this year, and probably not
just the one.
The following week I was making
the same trip along the M4, but this
time without the rods, but with the
wife. We were going to a Stoney and
Friends bash at a lovely pub just outside Chippenham, and that turned out
to be equally as serendipitous. Unfortunately, even though there were 150
tickets available, only about forty people turned up (despite more than 100
tickets having been sold) but their
loss was our gain because it made it
so much easier to sit and chat with
the likes of John Wilson, Terry Lampard, Martin Bowler and Hugh Miles.
Chris Yates also made an appearance,
but he was buried under a ton of
books which he was tasked to sign, so
I never got a chance to talk with him.
I had a lovely, interesting chat with
Hugh Miles, though, and when I
asked what projects he was working
he mentioned he was doing a film for
the Angling Trust about the damage
that cormorants are causing to our
fishing. ‘You need to do one about
otters next,’ I quipped, but he shook
his head. ‘Pointless. You’re banging
your head against a wall if you think
the public will fall on the side of a
carp as opposed to an otter.’ This is
something I’ve been saying for years,
and I’m not alone, I know. We haven’t
a hope in hell of stopping otters taking our fish, other than to take reme-

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