freeline-22 - Page 156



Five Forties
As it was the start of November,
they would be feeding up for the winter, so I decided to basically fill it in. I
was putting 10kg of Cell and New
Grange in every week after leaving
from the overnighter, spreading it all
along the margins of the lake. The
baiting up was obviously working, as
the margin spots were getting cleaner
each overnighter. It was my third
night of the winter and the forecast
was due to be a cold one with a heavy
frost and high pressure – not the most
ideal conditions to be out fishing. I
still felt so confident, as I felt the baiting would have been working. Since I
started the baiting, the fishing was
spectacular – the catch rates were
soaring and I knew it wouldn’t be
long till the big’un turned up.
Carl and I arrived at the lake around
midday and decided to fish the top
end of the lake on the back of the
wind, as it felt ten degrees warmer
there. I placed the rods close in
around 5ft from the bank in 6ft of
water just on the bottom of the marginal slope over a good kilo of mixed
Cell and New Grange. After around 30
minutes of setting up and getting the
rods out, a violent take on the right
close-in rod soon had a pretty, scaly
upper double in the net. We sat by the
32lb 12oz club lake mirror.
156 FREE LINE
rods that evening and watched the
sunset; it was clearly going to be a
cold night ahead. I remember the fish
being really active that night, and
both Carl and I had fish, but nothing
massive – a 23lb mirror being the
biggest. Soon we were getting in the
bags for the night, as the temperature
had really plummeted to minus four.
Luckily the night went past with the
bobbins staying motionless.
I woke up at first light to a really
harsh frost with the grass coated in
diamonds as the first rays of sunlight
made it glitter. It was one of the classic winter mornings with the air so
crisp and fresh. A take looked well
and truly off the cards; it was the
worst conditions imaginable, so it
was almost unbelievable when the
left rod in the margins showed a
steady, stuttery take. As I picked up
the rod, which was still covered in
frost, I immediately thought it had
picked up a branch, as it felt unbelievably heavy. I couldn’t feel any grating
or strange movements coming up the
line. My mind started to go into overdrive; I was convinced this was the
one I was after, and Carl was telling
me, “Don’t lose it!” It wasn’t a powerful fight, just a slow, dogged one with
the fish staying deep the whole time.
I must have been playing the fish
for five minutes when it finally started
rising off the bottom and the leadcore
broke the surface. Then another slow
run had it back down the marginal
slope, and finally after a couple more
minutes the fish started cutting up
through the water. Carl was waiting
patiently with the net, still commenting on how I didn’t want to lose this
one. The fish again started to cut up
through the water, and finally out the
murky depths came a fish so wide
and so deep, and Carl quickly shuffled
it into the outstretched net. Finally I
knew the job was done, and we both
danced around like excited kids.
After I had calmed down, I rolled up
the net to have a peek at my prize.
The fish was one of the widest I have
seen. It wasn’t the best looking carp I
had caught by far, but a proper character all the same. As Carl lifted the
fish from the water he said, “It’s over
forty easily.” It looked it with its
bulging belly obviously full from the
bait I had supplied to its dinner table.
We set up Carl’s new weigh tripod
and recorded a weight of 42lb and
ounces – my first winter forty and the
conditions couldn’t have been any
harder. What a result! My fourth UK
forty! n

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