freeline-24 - Page 114



The Long Road to my First Fifty Pounder
A nice chunky common just before winter set in.
read his story, but he’d turned up and
seen a fish show so he moved down a
swim. He was in the Car Park swim,
had moved down one swim to cast a
rod to a bubbler, and job’s a good’un –
the big girl was in the net! He
couldn’t believe it, and nor could I,
but it was true. Baby Face weighed in
at 44lb 5oz after spawning, still a very
respectable weight, but I think Tel
would rather have caught her later
on.
Eventually, I got back on the lake in
the early autumn – September – and I
was sure the big girl would be on the
munch. For my first session, I decided
to set up in a swim named Big Girl’s,
named so for obvious reasons; the
swim had history for her getting in
this area. This swim is more or less
opposite where Terry had caught her
but just down a bit. The lake narrows
at this end and it’s a good area, but it
is a favourite for all the regulars in
their vans (Albert Square) so for that
reason you were not always able to
get in there. Anyway, on this trip I had
the area to myself. There is a fair bit of
weed, mainly Canadian, and this
tends to be thick just on the bars that
114 FREE LINE
run parallel to the bank, but between
the bars was pure silt, and as you
pulled a lead back you would hit the
base of the bar with a tap, tap, tap,
and then you would lock up in the
weed. It was exactly on the back of
this weed that I wanted to place my
hookbaits.
As this end of the lake narrowed, it
seemed like a nice funnel. I hoped
that if the fish were in the area they
would follow the funnel down the
lake and push in to the sides of the
bars. My choice of tactics was the
good old snowman rig, one that I love.
I had been doing well on white baits
so a nice scattering of white Strawberry Ambers was spread along the
back of the weedbed. I then cast my
snowman out and that went down
with a nice thump right at the base of
the bar behind the weed. I was
happy; all was in place, Mick was
down for a night – he fished a bit further up – and it looked promising for
both of us. It’s always very dark at
Charity, and there are lots of owls that
hoot away all night, but I was still
able to hear the odd fish turn on the
surface up at my end of the lake, and I
drifted off with a feeling that a bite
was on the cards.
At 6am, my instinct was proven
right as the right-hand rod’s slack line
went tight and pulled the clip. I was
on it in an instant as a powerful fish
ticked line off my spool, and it was
nerve wracking because I knew I
might well be playing my target fish.
After a powerful slow run across,
nearly halfway to the other side, I
managed to turn it and started to gain
some line, but I knew that once at the
bottom of the bar, I would be halted
for a while by the thick Canadian. As
the carp buried itself, thousands of
bubbles popped on the surface and it
all went still for a while, but as soon as
I saw the bubbles again I knew she
was moving so I applied more pressure. That seemed to the job and I got
it free from the weed. Once over the
bar and nearly ready for the net, it
rolled and I could see that it was a
mirror, and then, on its last bid for
freedom, I saw more of the fish and
had a funny feeling that I knew this
one.
I was right. It was only the greedy
linear again! Blimey, this fish was

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