freeline-21 - Page 232



November
(Above) The big girl going back.
(Bottom) The rods out waiting for
another bite.
until I was left with a barrel shaped
bait that was less that 5mm wide, but
I knew this would fit in well with the
broken boilies I was spodding, and
the fact that the flavour matched the
food bait was a big bonus.
As the sun dipped below the horizon the fish started to show again.
They were in the bay in numbers; the
odd fish showed in the narrow channel again, and a couple put their
heads out right in front of my swim
not too far from my baited areas. I was
again very expectant of a bite so I
stayed up until midnight, but nothing
happened in the early part of the
night, and questions started to creep
into my head… Had the rigs landed
correctly and were they presented
well? Was I putting too much pressure on the same spot with the two
rods, and had I used too much bait for
the time of year? I decided to put the
doubts out of my head, because there
wasn’t much I could do about it, and
get myself to bed.
Sometime in the early hours I was
awoken to the sound of a screaming
alarm. This bite wasn’t twitchy or
half-hearted like the last three or four
I had had from the water – the line
was absolutely flying from the clutch!
232 FREE LINE
Because of the reed-lined margins I
had to have the rods out in the water,
which meant I had to get the chest
waders on before I got to the rod. I
find it hard to get my waders on
quickly when I have a slow steady
bite, but when the rod is ripping off
and I’m half asleep it’s near on impossible to put them on in a smooth, fast,
organised manner. So if you can
imagine me in a freshly woken panic
trying to get into the chesties, missing one boot and knocking them over,
then struggling to find the
top of the other because
they had folded over themselves!
But I finally managed to
get both boots on, but then
I stood up with them still
semi-rolled down and
nearly fell over! I managed
to pull them up far enough
to be able to clear the depth
of water before half jumping, half falling into the lake,
followed by a fantic wade
to the rod whilst try to pull
at least one strap over my
shoulder. All the time the
alarm was screaming for
attention and the take was
showing no signs of slowing down. Once I finally got
to the rod the fish had kited
a long way to my right and
stripped a lot of line off the spool, and
even when I picked up the rod it
showed no signs of stopping, but
eventually it found sanctury in a
weedbed. I could feel a grating sensation on the line every time I gained an
inch on the fish from all the weed it
had run through. Luckily the weed
was very weak because of the reduction in water temperatures, and
slowly but surely it began to break
away and the line flicked off it and
rose in the water.
Before long I was in direct contact
with the fish – well, direct contact
with the weedbed the fish was in!
After a couple of minutes of constant
pressure with the rod bent double, I
started to gain line inch by inch until
the fish kicked free. Its turn of speed
was immense, flat-rodding me and
forcing me to give it line. I started to
feel a grating up the line as it ran,
which I thought was weed to start
with, but when I saw the line light up
from the moon’s reflection I saw the
fish had gone over the shallow
plateau that marked the entrance to
the bay, and it must have been 100
yards-plus away. I had underestimated how much line it had taken on
its runs. The grating got worse before
it found the sanctury of another
weedbed. I kept the pressure constant for a minute but nothing
budged. I thought about getting the
boat, but it was a 600-yard round trip

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