freeline-23 - Page 150



Tail of the Nene
(Above) The view of the prebaited
spot from up the climbing tree; you
can just make out the glowing gravel
where I got them feeding.
(Bottom) The area the fish were
holding… Keepnet Bay on the right,
the small reedy bay on the left and my
baited spot in between.
The day I was due to leave was the
sunniest day for a while and there
seemed to be about 10-15 minutes of
sunshine every hour which encouraged the fish into the bay, although
they would drift out again when the
rain started. I tried a zig a foot under
the surface, but it was ignored, even
though it was right in the carp’s route.
I wrapped my kit up and put it on the
barrow and had one last look in the
bay. I had put a couple of handfuls of
broken baits in a clear area in close,
and as I peered in I could see the spot
150 FREE LINE
had coloured up. In amongst the
plumes of grey clay I could make out
a carp’s tail wafting away. As I stood
there and watched, the carp raised
itself above the gloom for a second
and I could see it was a mirror, and a
good fish as well. I was pretty certain
it was the Dumpy Mirror, one of the
ones I really wanted to catch.
As a mentioned earlier, Cut Tail was
my main target fish. Swirl is the next
biggest and probably the best looking
fish in the lake, but it only seems to
slip up once a year and my time is too
limited to chase a rare fish on a busy
lake. Then there were two mid-30s
that I rated: the Triangle and the
biggest mirror, Dumpy. So I quickly
raced back to my gear, unpacked a
rod (that was still baited) and a net
and had an hour in the bay. Even
though I waited for Dumpy to drift off
the spot and into the pads before I
lowered the bait in, I still think he
clocked me and refused to feed on the
spot again. So I called it a day and got
my gear in the car, but not before I
baited up the entrance to the bay. I
had found a couple of spots that I fancied in the area for when the weather
turned a bit warmer, so I baited these
and spread the rest out in the area to
get the fish on the bait – The Edge
from Aqua Dynamix.
On my days away from the lake, I
received a phone call from the company I used to work for asking me if
I’d like to return to work for three
months to help manning levels. The
money they offered was too good to
turn down, so I put my year of fishing
and family on hold and took the job.
This meant I returned to the lake for
two nights a couple of days later to
get some fishing in before my start
date. The weather was once again
overcast, wet and had a chill in the
air. The fish were again refusing to
break surface, so I dropped back into
the Plantation swim and spodded
most of my free offerings onto the
long spot. The first night passed without action, but at 7.30am the bobbin
on the long rod tightened up and the
tip started to bounce. I put on my
chesties and grabbed the rod, but I
knew straight away that it wasn’t a
carp, and when a 7lb tench rolled into
the net I wasn’t surprised. One of the
regulars on the lake, Paul, had just
turned up on the far bank and saw the
action so he came round to see if I
needed a picture. I couldn’t get the
rod back out straight away, for a couple of reasons (one being the previous
night’s vindaloo wasn’t agreeing with
me). It took me about an hour and a
half after the tench, and I must admit
I waited until Paul wasn’t looking
before I cast to the middle.
At around dinnertime Paul was out
in the boat with one of the bailiffs
playing a fish. They managed to net
the fish although it looked dicey in
places – I don’t think Sportyaks are
designed for two people! When they
reached the bank they signalled that
it was a good fish, so I wound in to
lend a hand. When I got round there I
saw it was Swirl! She looked stunning
and dragged the scales round to 42lb.
We got some good photos done, but I
couldn’t help but notice that she was
excreting my bait out over the mat!
Had she been feeding on my spot earlier in the morning and had the tench

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