freeline-21 - Page 211



Five Forties
The small day ticket 29lb 12oz stunner.
fish. My legs were shaking as the fish
slowed. There was a large boil on the
top and it then turned, kiting left and
taking another 15-20 yards of line
from a tight clutch. To my left was a
buoy around 30 yards out and the fish
was getting dangerously close, so I
clamped down and the rod reacted by
bending to breaking point. A large
boil five yards from the buoy showed
the fish was beaten, and slowly I
started gaining line. The fish, now
under the rod tip, was staying deep
down, sending the occasional sheet
of bubbles to the surface as it ripped
through the weed. It then turned and
slowly but steadily started stripping
line off a tight clutch down the left
margin with me following into the
lake to get an angle as it was near the
branches.
Again it boiled under the branches,
beaten, and again under the tip. I
could feel it rising; the leadcore
appeared then a big black back of a
mirror popped up to the surface like a
cork. I couldn’t believe the width of it.
“Don’t lose it – please, please be good
to me.” I pushed the net out with my
weak arms after the fish had battered
m e, a n d i n i t w e n t f i r s t t i m e. I
punched the air and shouted as loud
as I could, “Brute, come on!” I couldn’t
believe my luck. I didn’t realise I had
an audience on the far bank – they
were all clapping as they had
watched the battle in full. I rolled up
the mesh, peered in, and there lay one
of the best fish around. It looked simply stunning in the net although not
as dark as normal due to an algae
bloom.
Before long I had everyone from
round the lake in my swim and three
or four unhooking mats were laid
down with goalkeepers either side of
the fish in case of it flapping. The fish
was well and truly looked after, and as
I kneeled there with it in my arms, I
couldn’t help but feel like the luckiest
man alive. As I returned the Brute
there was a big cheer and a holler,
and a beer was then handed to me
followed by a bottle of champers
delivered by Glynn. The day went by
in a bit of a haze – there was a proper
electric atmosphere between everyone, and a great day and night of cel-
ebration was ensured. The Brute was
the only fish caught in the competition. A free ticket for the lakes for the
following year was my prize.
I went back to Pingewood the following year and was again lucky
enough to catch two more fish in my
first two nights. Pingewood had given
up another one of its finest in the
shape of the simply stunning Pretty
Linear at 33lb, an amazing old Leney,
and to this day it rates one of the most
stunning fish I have ever caught. I
also had a 27lb common known as
Snubnose the same morning as the
Pretty Linear. After these quick captures I felt a cold reception every time
I was down at the lake, so I pulled off.
The other anglers didn’t want me
down there any more for fear of me
catching Brute again… sad really.
Thanks Pingewood for the memories,
and maybe one day I will return and
give the place another go, as there are
so many more I would so dearly like to
catch…
That’s all we have room for this
month. Catch Craig again next month
as he tackles a 130 acre gravel pit. n
FREE LINE 211

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