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Five Forties
It all started for me on Theale
Lagoon as a schoolboy fishing for the
bream (yes, bream) and tench the lake
contained. I spent many a sunny day
in my school holidays fishing for anything that was foolish and hungry
enough to take my meagre offering.
Back in those days it didn’t matter
whether I caught anything; I was just
mad keen and addicted to fishing. It
was never always about catching;
just being there was enough for me.
All my pocket money, birthdays,
Christmas presents and any money I
could scrounge off my parents were
spent on fishing. When I was 16 years
old, a new lad, James, moved into the
flat next door. He was as mad keen as
I was; he was a couple of years older
than me and had a little more experience than I did. He offered to take me
for a night on Theale Lagoon to fish
for the bream and tench. I was as
eager as ever and couldn’t wait to go
night fishing, as this was the first time
I was allowed to go night fishing with
a friend.
27lb 14oz Theale Lagoon fish and a
nice pic on Theale Lagoon.
The night was the typical warm
summer’s night, and after catching a
handful of bream, the lake fell into a
deathly silence. Suddenly the silence
was broken by what can only be
described as the most vicious take I
have ever heard. The rod was ripping
off at some speed, and as he picked
the rod up, the line parted. We were
both shell-shocked by what had just
happened. That was fire in my belly,
and I couldn’t help think that one day
I would get to have a chance to fish
for fish as special as what James had
just hooked.
The next few years were spent fishing small carp ponds trying my hardest to gain as much experience and
knowledge as I could gather before
going back to the inland sea. I fished
hard on other waters and learnt so
much and was lucky enough to catch
some very special fish up to a 34lb
mirror. I finally felt after three years of
doing my carp fishing apprenticeship
that the time was coming soon to
give the Lagoon a night or
two of my time.
When I was 19, a couple
of good friends and I
planned a four-night ses-
sion on the Lagoon. I won’t bore you
with the countless amount of bream
we had in the first three nights. It was
the fourth day and I still had a lot of
bait left over, so I decided to spod a
area next to a island snag at 50 yards
range. It took me around an hour to
spod the remainders of my bait – pellet, corn, Vitalin, and around a kilo of
Mainline’s Active-8. A simple bottom
bait rig was then flicked out to the
area. Around 5pm a couple of friends
popped down for a beer, and as we all
chatted and sipped on our cold beer,
my rod on the spodded area
absolutely ripped off. At first I couldn’t
believe what I was seeing; I had
always dreamt of this moment happening and finally my dream was
suddenly true.
I picked up the rod, trembling with
fear at the thought of what I could be
attached to. The fight was fast at first
with the fish taking over 20 yards of
line. I soon managed to gain control,
and before long had it on a short line


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