freeline-24 - Page 112



The Long Road to my First Fifty Pounder
I had a strange feeling I knew this fish.
cabin was painted green, and I got a
glimpse of the inside once as I walked
past; it was all kitted out and he was
well sorted. I had one of those signs
for ‘Toilets’, a metal plate with the figures on, that could have stuck nicely
on the cabin one night when he was
all locked up, but I didn’t think he’d
see the funny side of it.
My first trip to the lake was in May.
It was hot and the weed was well up.
There are a couple of swims that sit
either side of an out-of-bounds bay,
which is roped off, and as you would
imagine the fish just love this area.
It’s a safe zone for them and once the
sun got up the fish would soon make
their way into this area to chill for the
rest of the day. They would still drift in
and out and mill about in the big
weedbeds that were up to the surface
either side of the entrance though. As
the fish were evident in the area, I set
up in a swim called the Car Park, just
to the right of the out-of-bounds bay.
The better swim would have been the
one to the left, the Little Oaks, as this
swim controls the main area that
leads into the roped-off bay, but I was
as close as I was able to get to fish. I
watched them for a while and was
112 FREE LINE
soon able to work out some of their
favoured routes as they made their
way through the weedbeds and into
the bay. Down the left margin, there
was a little bit of a bush that lay in the
water from the bank, and this was the
closest I would be able to cast before
I was casting into Little Oaks water.
Frequently, I saw fish using the bush
as a turning point before they turned
left and headed into the out-ofbounds, an obvious ambush spot. I
walked down to have a look and saw
that just off the bush there was a
smallish clear area well big enough
for me to present a snowman.
Early the next morning this little
spot proved to be fruitful, and I landed
my first Charity carp, a nice 20lb common. I was happy to be off the mark,
and pleased that the little spot had
produced a fish. Throughout the day I
watched the carp cruising about
through the weed, in and out of the
bay, and suddenly it dawned on me
that I wasn’t seeing fish of any real
size; they were all doubles and a few
low 20s. I wondered where the rest of
them were; not here, that was for sure.
I reeled in and went for a walk. The
wind was pushing down the deep
end of the lake, and as I walked round
the top bank, straight away I saw the
big black shapes drifting about on the
surface and my immediate thoughts
were, ‘Where’s my floater gear?’
One of the fishery rules is, if you
want to fish another part of the lake,
you have to pack your gear away in
the swim that you’re set up in, so in
other words you can’t be set up and
go stalking. It’s understandable; this
rule is to stop anglers from taking up
two swims at once, but my problem
now was that I had to get back there
and pack up in a flash before someone else saw what I’d seen.
My tackle was thrown hurriedly
into the back of the van, in a complete
mess, and I was soon parked up in a
swim named the Beach, where the
fish – still unseen by others – were
still drifting around. I got a few mixers
out and then set about extracting my
floater gear from van. I was well
buzzing, as I always am when floater
f i s h i n g, a n d a s I g o t m y t a c k l e
together I kept looking at the fish that
were now taking the mixers. As I
watched, I saw probably all the lake’s
big fish, including the big girl, so I
fired out a few more pouches and

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