freeline-23 - Page 217

Two Nights,Two lakes,Two Forties
ast month I left it where
I had just banked my
target fish, Cut Tail,
from the Nene Valley
Car Park Lake. I considered going straight
home, but by the time I had got someone over to do the photographs (a big
thanks to Dave for stopping by) and
making a tea or two, it was after 8pm.
So if I had tided all my gear up, that
was strewn everywhere (it’s always
the same after I catch a big fish), then
packed away, loaded the car and
driven home it would have been after
11pm. So I opted to stay for one last
night on the water, and to be honest I
really wanted to chill out and relax to
reflect on my time on there and enjoy
the moment. I nipped back to the car
and grabbed a bottle of Pinot Grigio
that had been sitting in my rear
footwell for far too long, before redoing the rods.
The hook point on the rig I had Cut
Tail on was completely turned over
and I didn’t have any more of those
rigs made up, so I put on one of my
ever-faithful reverse snowman rigs. I
walked up the bank and flicked it out
the 12.5 yards to the spot, slid the
backlead into the weed, let out some
slack and put the line in the clip on
the storm bar. I then walked the rod
back to the swim and tighten it to the
clip in the buzzer. The other two rods
were cast back to their marks and
then it was time to enjoy the wine
and think about my next challenge. It
was around midnight before I felt
tired enough to get any sleep; I guess
I was still buzzing about the capture
until then, but I did need to get some
rest so I retired to bed.
I must have been asleep for about
an hour before I was awoken by a
strangely familiar screaming sound.
The margin rod was away again, but
this fish didn’t want to hang around!
He put up a very good scrap and I was
surprised that he was only a low 20.
That wasn’t my only surprise; when I
knelt in the front of my bivvy and
reached behind my bedchair to grab
the camera, I felt something warm
and furry on my bed. My eyes focus
slightly in the darkness and I made
out two eyes staring back at me, and
there were some rather large teeth
too! I jumped back in shock, fell on
my backside and nearly ended up in
the lake! I grabbed my torch from my
bivvy table, shone it into the bivvy,
and there curled up on my bed was a
Staffordshire bull terrier! I soon
realised it was Roscoe and his owner
must be bivvied up nearby. Roscoe
must have heard my alarm and come
down to see what the noise was
about, but whilst I was playing the
fish the draw of my comfy Cloud 9
must have been too much to resist
and he made himself at home! I heard
a couple of whistles and Craig came
up the bank asking if I had seen his
dog. Apparently Roscoe had been relegated to the unhooking mat, which
obviously wasn’t good enough for
him. I took Craig up on his offer to do
a few pictures before I went through
the rigmarole of getting the rod back
It was gone 3am by the time got
back in the bag for some much need
sleep, but the fish had other ideas and
what happened next is a bit hazy. I
don’t remember getting a take or any
bleeps; I just remember standing
there with a bucking rod in my hand
as a plodding fish tried to escape the
hook. As I slowly woke up I realised it
was the same rod again and the fish
had kited until it was straight out in
front of me. I saw it boil near the far
reed-line, so I knew I had 30 yards of
line out. It kicked a couple of times
and I felt the angle of pull slowly
changing as the fish kited back from
where it came. It soon all ground solid
as the fish went in the reeds, so I followed him down the bank, negotiating the uneven ground until I was
over the top of him. I tried to ease the
fish out of the reeds, but he just
thrashed about, making it worse. I
23lb common that put up a spirited


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