freeline-23 - Page 176

A Tale of Two Sessions
these fish are the big common that
comes out today, but no doubt they
are still in there. I’ve seen a common
that I’d put around the mid-forty mark
in there myself a few years back, just
yards from the bank; it was an
immaculate and massive fish! The
stories Ian had also told me about
what he had seen fired me up even
more – a huge upper thirty fully
scaled mirror and a huge leathery
looking beast that he only described
at the time as almost Mary big. I
didn’t doubt a word, as he’s not the
exaggerating type. Besides, a few
years back an angler who I sort of
know lost this particular fish at the
net. It seriously wounded him. He’s
also a damn good angler who has
caught English fifties so I’m certain
it’s no tall tale! One day it will be
caught, for sure.
The following year I had concentrated on Elstow pit 2 in the spring.
During the summer I started taking
the odd trip over to St Ives to Long
Reach for a look about as I couldn’t
wait to get back over there. Steve was
still fishing it regularly and had
caught a few stunning commons. I
still had the bug on Pit 2 though. I had
only the Mother and Epaulettes to
catch and wanted to keep going. The
only hang-up I had was that at the
time the Mother hadn’t been out for
three years and was seriously on the
missing list. No one at the time was
sure she was even still alive. I did one
more trip over to Pit 2 in the early
autumn and got talking to guy who
was fishing a nearby swim about St
Ives, as he was also a member and
had been fishing over there in the
summer. That chat fired me up to go
back and have another go. I was getting a little bored with Pit 2 anyway,
and so I said farewell to Elstow, as for
my next trip I was going to the Reach.
The first trip I did that year was
with a mate called Marcus in the middle of September. On that trip, on one
of my many walks around the pit, I
found a bankstick right in the edge of
the lake, semi-hidden in some reeds. I
instantly knew who it belonged to, so
I called him up. It belonged to another
good friend called Rhys. I had also
suspected the bankstick was used to
secure a sack! On answering his
phone he told me he had fished a
night after work and had blanked.
After I told him what I had found he
relented and told me he had in fact
caught one, a common of 30lb 8oz. I
was made up for him. There was no
need to be secretive, as I’m not the
swim jumping type! That evening he
popped over to pick up his bank stick
and to do another night in the swim
he’d been in the night before, right in
the corner of the lake where the
southerly wind was blowing. It turned
out he’d had two, another common of
31lb 8oz as well. I was well happy for
him – that’s a very good achievement,
especially on that lake, let me assure
The next trip I fished was in the
teeth of a mild, strong, end of September westerly wind. I sat there for three
nights and four days without so much
as seeing a fish. It really put a downer
on the place for me at the time. It was
the longest blank I’d suffered in ages,
and to not even have a clue as to
where the fish were really beat me up.
The boats didn’t help either, making
the days boring and unfishable. That
trip did have some significant importance though. Whilst on one of my
many trots around the lake I came
across a guy called Trevor who was
fishing in the Pipes swim, right at the
other end of the lake to me, on the
opposite bank. I stopped off for a chat
with him and had a cup of tea. I was
telling him of my woe and how the
place and the boats were doing my
head in. Two trips in and I was
already fed up. He suggested I go for
a look at the Lagoon, another of the
lakes on the ticket. I knew it contained some good fish as Marcus had
caught a short, dumpy linear in the
summer at 32lb. Trevor then opened
up his tackle bag and produced a wad
of pictures for me to look at!
What fish – some big and some
small, but all scaly, old looking carp. I
wanted to go and have a look over
there as soon as possible! At the back
of his pile of photos was a picture of
the big’un, an old leathery looking
lump they called the Black Pig. It bore
an uncanny resemblance to a carp I
had caught earlier in the year from Pit
2 called Lisa, which was also about
the same weight, 37lb. That will do for
me, I thought – two similar looking
carp from two totally different waters,
and both 35lb-plus. I’ll have some of
The very next trip that I’d planned
to do was a week or so hence. This
was going to be my first trip to the
Lagoon and I couldn’t wait! I was
really fired up, and after the season I
had just had you couldn’t have beaten
the confidence out of me with a stick!
I had walked around the pit once or
twice before, so it wasn’t totally alien
to me as I arrived on a chilly early
October morning. The chill was in the
air and the ash and sycamore trees
had already started to litter the
ground with their dying leaves. After
a good look round lasting most of the
morning, I didn’t see anything in the
way of carp, so I decided to fish the
far side opposite the works, fishing
into what they call the Old Lake. This
was also the swim I believe my mate
Marcus caught the dumpy linear from
in the summer so I knew it did fish – a
good starting point on any new lake.
There is an island that went perpendicular to the bank I was setting
up on that separated the Old Lake
from the rest of the pit. The other side
has another big island in it too, which
breaks the pit up even further. With its
grassy banks and smaller trees it certainly appeared to be a newer lake
than the other big pits over the road.
That night a thick fog descended and
I shut my eyes and went back to sleep
at first light. I rarely ever sleep in
when I’m fishing, but when you can’t
see or hear anything it’s better to
while away the boredom with your
eyes shut!
Before the fog lifted, even with the
sun high in the sky, one of my rods
received a drop back. I wound in a
tufty! I was not best amused. An hour
later I was down to one rod as I
wound in another of the filthy black
and white boilie thieving vermin.
After a brew and good stretch I
packed up my gear and put it on the
barrow to have it ready in case I
needed to move. As it was I hadn’t
seen or heard anything, so I was
going to move regardless just to fish a
couple of other swims. That way if I
ever found fish in the future I’d have a
starting point.
After the fog completely lifted I left
my barrow in the shade and went for
a mooch. I got to a point on the same
bank I was on where the far island
ends. I stood there looking across the
pit for a while trying to work out what
to do. After about half an hour I saw a
carp jump out of the lake in the middle zone dead opposite. It looked
closer to the far bank than where I
was so I went back to my barrow and
started the long walk round the pit to


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