freeline-21 - Page 144



Horton, Fosters and Midnight Mixers
Foster’s Common 28lb 8oz.
of my gear still on my barrow the left
hand rod was away, resulting in a
repeat of the Virginian at low 30s. Earlier in the season, Bod had caught one
in the evening and one in the morning
from the swim, and the hope of this
kept me in there for the night, but it
wasn’t to be, and so the next day I
moved into the Slope – sometimes I
just don’t learn! Moving for a night
proved a bit silly as the next day
whilst walking to my van I discovered
they were back in the Lodge Steps
again, and beautifully, it was still free.
This had to be a bit of luck any way
I looked at it, and after bucketing the
swim I was off to fetch my gear. Back
in the swim I got all settled with one
to the left and one to the right in a
slightly deeper bit Ladders had told
me about. The fish had been about for
hours but I hadn’t had a bite. I was
lying on my bed trying to keep quiet
when Stevie One Eye (RIP) turned up
and chucked me a can of Fosters.
After a short chat he went for a lap of
the lake. He hadn’t been gone long
when a real savage take on my right
hand rod had me leaping out of bed.
Grabbing the rod I could see the fish
had made it into the ribbon reed, as it
144 FREE LINE
was folding over, and keeping a
steady pressure on the fish soon
resulted in it breaking itself out. It hit
the surface and I saw it was a common. After a short battle under the tip
it went into the net, a lovely dark one
with a pinkish tinge to its belly. The
light was fading so I rung One Eye to
see if he could lend a hand. He’d
made it to Springate’s, which is about
half way round, but he agreed to help
and soon arrived. We weighed it at
28lb 8oz and took the photos. Somewhat strangely it turned out it was
called Foster’s!
I am aware I was lucky to be able to
keep getting back into the swim, having moved in and out of it three times
in five nights, but I do wonder
whether they would have returned
had I stayed put. Whilst I was in this
swim I found a white earwig, as if normal earwigs aren’t gross enough!
Another day I walked into the lodge
and Del said, ‘I’ve got something for
you.’ With his hands cupped he
dropped something heavy into mine
and I suspected that it wasn’t going
to be very useful to me. A look confirmed it as an enormous hawk moth
caterpillar! Not what I was expecting,
but very interesting all the same, and
in hindsight it would probably have
made a hell of a hookbait.
Foster’s Common was the last of
my action that week, and after yet
another 48-hour blank at the Car Park
(keep on racking ‘em up) I was back
on the 3rd August, but it was to be the
night of the 6th before my next bite,
and a very exciting one it was too!
A lot of anglers at Horton are not
keen on the grass carp it holds, but I
do like them and consider them
impressive creatures. Also they can
lay claim to being Horton’s true originals, apparently having been in there
before they were joined by Jack and
Co! I had managed two by accident in
my previous three seasons with the
biggest being the very odd looking Mr
Bean (a character grassy if ever there
was one) at just over 34lb, but was
keen to catch one of the real biggies
that had been caught up to 48lb. I was
convinced that floater fishing at night
was the way to catch them, but
hadn’t managed to make it work yet.
I was set up in the Slope and had seen
the grassies hanging around off
Springate’s during the day. After dark
I wandered next door into Springate’s
with a cup of coffee and a smoke to
catty some mixers out and sat down
to watch. Soon they were having
them, and it was just a case of trying
to keep them happy. After a while I
decided it was time and went next

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