freeline-23 - Page 179

A Tale of Two Sessions
good fish too whilst he was casting
out. I was feeling confident at last.
That night around an hour or two
after dark the southwesterly wind
picked back up and the rain returned.
I eventually turned in around midnight, as I wanted to be up at the
crack of dawn for a good look about
so as to give me an idea for my next
trip. Not long after I dropped off to
sleep around half one in the morning I
was awoken by a proper screamer on
my left hand rod, the one cast to the
lumpy feeling area. On picking up the
rod I just started pumping a dead
weight back towards me. Every now
and again my rod top would nod to let
me know it was a carp on the end. As
it came in closer it was kiting to my
right. Any moment now I expected to
hear my other rods start to ‘bleep’ as
the fish went through their lines. I had
already stripped to the waist and
waded out on the shallow shelf that
was in front of me.
I knew once the drop off ended the
water went straight off to 10ft so I
was being careful, but I had to wade
out just to net it. Then, as I expected,
my middle then my left rods bleeped.
I sunk the tip under the water to try
and pass my rod under my other lines
but by some cruel luck my lead
caught both of the lines. What a mess.
I was standing up to my waist in not
very warm water. Rain was lashing
down and waves were lapping
against me with a fish swirling in the
swell, but I couldn’t get it back
another inch towards me. I was cursing. I wanted it in the net and fast. I
always think the first carp from any
lake is the hardest one to catch so
that’s why I was so keen to get this
one in before I either got cut off or the
hook fell out. I waded out as far as I
dared with my net in the water. I put
my rod behind me with the reel
underwater and pushed away from
me, holding the rod at the spigot. With
my left arm, I reached out as far as I
could and stabbed at the swirls hoping to get lucky, which I did on my
second scoop, and I felt the net stop
dead as the fish got trapped within its
mesh. I then bit the line and leaned
out to the net to try and bring it
towards me.
I was really scared I was going to
rip the hook out of its mouth if I forced
it towards me. I managed to peel
some line off the other rods that were
all tangled up and bring it towards
me. Once I could get in the net I
popped the hook out and pulled the
fish into the shallower water. I threw
the net to the bank to trap the fish in
its mesh and popped my head torch
on while I untangled the mess before
me. After a few moments this was
done and I wound in the two remaining rods to sort them out. Once I’d put
them on the rests I turned around to
deal with the fish. I was a bit shocked
to say the least; more of the fish was
out of the water than in it. I hadn’t
though it was a big fish at all. I
quickly sorted out the sling and
unhooking mat and hoisted the fish
ashore. I was shocked at how big this
Black Pig looked. It had to be the
big’un; it was a really big fish. Once I
opened up the mesh I took a look at
the fish and I saw it was full of scattered small scales all over its body. I
couldn’t work it out. I knew that the
Pig was pretty plain, but this one was
anything but, and it looked a damn
sight bigger than 37lb!
Using my landing net pole as a fulcrum I put the loop of the scales
through the spreader block and
hoisted the fish up. As the needle
spun past 40lbs my jaw hit the floor.
Surely it was wrong? On checking it
again I got the same reading of 42lb
12oz. My year had just got even better! I pulled out a sack that I had
stashed in the depths of my kit for
such an occasion and slipped the
beast into it. I waded back out and
secured the sack to one of my storm
rods that I’d pinched from my bivvy. I
was in utter shock but had a grin on
my face that no one would’ve been
able to wipe off!
That night I never slept another
wink. I was too paranoid about the
fish in the sack not being right. I’m
not one to sack fish up very often as it
is, but Steve was on a night after work
and there was one other angler in the
bay to my right that I didn’t know
either. So I did what I did in the hope
everything was going to be fine.
First thing in the morning I went to
get Steve and told him the news. I
could hardly contain my excitement.
He packed up then came over to wait
until the light was better before doing
the pics. He called his work and told
them he would be coming in late. The
angler next door, Ian, came around
too as we were preparing to do the
pictures. With the puffy white clouds
whizzing by overhead I hoisted her
up for the world to see as Steve
snapped away pictures of me holding
this totally unexpected beast, while
the hips and haws glowed red on the
trees in the October sunshine behind
me. I strained to lift the fish up for the
cameras and was really feeling it, but
the pain was worth it. I had dreamt of
catching a 40lb carp, as many anglers
do, but to get one as unexpected as
this one was pure fantasy; I was in
dreamland. I later learned that this
f i s h w a s n ’t a s e l u s i v e a s I f i r s t
thought. Many years later I was talking to Gordon, the guy who runs the
lakes today, and he said to me, “They
knew how to keep a secret, didn’t
I do believe this was the first time it
was caught at over 40lbs, though I
could be proved wrong. Still, who
cares? It’s all in the past now, and as I
write this great fish is now sadly
gone. I got a sad call from my friend
Richard last summer telling me of her
demise. He had spent almost three
years after her. Some caught her
quickly, and some never did at all. She
was a luck fish, no more no less. All
the other fish in the lagoon are a lot
harder to catch, and to be honest a lot
more desirable, just not as big, but to
some, size matters. To me it’s always
been about the fish. I might even go
back there one day, as now I can fish
for the ones I’d rather catch. I’m just
glad I caught her before she became
the giant she was, as I would never
have fished there then.
Fast-forward almost 13 years from
that luck filled night to the present
day. A very good friend of mine, John
Kirwin and I had been talking for
quite a while about doing something
in the fishing game. Both of us have
been anglers for most of our lives and
carp anglers for well over twenty-odd
years, each. For a long while, on and
off it has to be said, I have been making and/or designing baits for my
mates. They have always been pretty
successful, and along with another
good friend, Maurice, who had always
given me expert advice on the subject
(and for that matter comes out with
some outstanding baits himself) to
come up with stuff that is more than
just a ball of flavour. At first John and
I were going to do the bait thing
together but the longer we went
along with the idea we decided it was
never going to work as a direct partnership. I was already getting my


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