freeline-24 - Page 219



The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
A
fter Ian’s capture of
Baby Face in
February, I gave it a
couple of weeks
and then packed
the van for my first
trip of the New Year. I had constantly
been thinking about where she might
be since her capture. Ian had caught
her from the left-hand Oaks swim. It’s
a good area with some likely spots
that I’m sure she frequents fairly
often. The island is out and slightly
left of the swim, and if no one is next
door, in the 36s, then I like to fish the
left rod tight to the island because it’s
10ft deep and thick silt, so I could just
imagine the fish hugging the contours as they move down toward the
Left Oaks.
Ian had caught her straight out on
the edge of last summer’s weedbed,
on a little, silty, stony patch in 8ft of
water. It’s an area that I know, but as
the weather warms up the weed
tends to cover it and you then have to
fish a similar spot further out and
deeper, just into the start of the deep
gully that comes off the bar from the
island. Just to the right and close-in is
all that remains of last season’s weed,
along with all the new growth coming
through. Just behind this weed I
found numerous areas of silt and
gravel in 6-9ft depths, and they all
cried out for a hookbait.
So I had already decided to fish the
same area as where Ian had caught
her, simply because I just believed
she would not be too far away, and
with it now being March, spring was
fast upon us and both the Oak swims
are where I wanted to be.
My plan was to bait a couple of
spots and just try to fish them each
trip if it were at all possible, and concentrate on these areas, so when I
arrived on the Monday morning at
around 7am I was pleased to find that
the Oaks were free. I parked the van
behind the swim, stood in the left
Oaks, took in a deep breath and said,
‘Well, here we go again.’ I scanned
the water and looked at all the areas I
had been thinking of, trying to visualise them under the surface, dead
keen to get set up.
There was no one in 36s next door,
so I soon had a white hookbait, chod
on and the line nicely tight to the
island, then I fired out a scattering of
white Ambers. I loved the rod in this
area and was so confident to leave it;
I knew that in time it would get
picked up.
The other two rods were fished
with snowman baits tipped with a little 10mm white pop-up, but I had
decided to fish these over beds of red
maggot. Over the years, I’d learned
that she’s fairly hard to catch on the
bottom; okay, she has been out while
she was getting big but it seems that
she’d definitely wised up somewhat.
The reason for the maggot approach
was that I hoped to trick her into
feeding; my hookbait would be
among it all, which I’m sure would
just go in with all the rest of the food.
Some good anglers had now got
tickets on Lenwade, and this was
going to make it even harder. Ash
Bradly from Tails Up now had a ticket,
Rich Lofthouse was on, among others, and Gary – who lived locally –
was as keen as mustard. It’s not such
a bad thing, really, but when the lake
is not that big and we’re all after the
same thing, it’s so hard to get anything going. Anyway, I was committed and that was it.
I Spombed a nice bit of red maggot
over both the spots, slackened the
bobbins off and settled into the session. It was still fairly cold and I
thought about Ian catching her in
February. He said she had shown a
couple of times – I bet he was
buzzing.
The two spots were reasonably
close to each other. The middle rod
was just a little further out, and I really
was expecting some action that night
but when I woke in the morning, I was
somewhat disappointed. As I stared
out into the lake with my coffee
steaming away, my confidence was
boosted as a nice mirror head-andshouldered right over the middle rod.
This was good! At least I had a fish in
the area. Through the day I must have
(Right) The single white chod on the
island rod was the one that went in
the end.
FREE LINE 219

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