freeline-24 - Page 220



The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
seen at least six shows, surely I’d get
a bite? They were all in and around
those two rods, but I never even
received a liner. I was amazed.
Ash had turned up and gone to the
deep end with the zigs – not a bad
move, I thought. Another night had
passed for me with no action, and Ash
had taken a couple of fish mid-water
in 20-odd feet or so. My head was in a
mess now. I love zigging, but I had a
plan – for this trip anyway. Surely,
they would drop on the maggot?
My last morning was soon upon me
and it was now time to pack up. There
was still the odd fish showing in my
swim, when out of the blue, the
banker on the island pulled hard
round with a carp on. Phew! At last!
On the far left of the island is a snaggy
bush and this fish knew exactly
where it wanted to be heading. I had
to give maximum side to steer it away
from danger, but then it kited away
from the island and was heading to
my left margin around the other side
of some dead Norfolk reeds that protruded into the lake. Apart from getting into the water, I had no option
but to keep playing the fish back in
the hope that I could steer it around
the reeds. As I kept gaining line I held
the rod out as far as I was able to, and
luckily, I managed just to clip the tip
of the reeds; it wasn’t the big girl,
though, but one of the hard-fighting
stock fish, a mirror of around 20lbs.
It’s amazing sometimes. I had
really put some effort into those closer
spots and I’d been critical when positioning my hookbaits. I was sure that
the maggot would lure them in and I
even had them showing over the two
spots; and then the one on a chod
was away! It’s a funny old game.
My next few trips were in other
swims because I was unable to get
back in the Oaks, but I managed
another couple of 20 commons from
around the lake. The weed in the Oaks
was already flourishing and I was
seeing a lot of shows in and around
the two Oaks swims.
A friend of mine, Greg – or Swampy
as I called him when he fished my
Carthagena syndicate lake – had
moved on to St. Ives in Cambridgeshire, the home of the awesome
Fat Lady. He was loving the fishing on
there, and the more I spoke to him the
more I wanted a ticket. It really did
appeal to me; one, it was huge compared to Lenwade, with plenty of
room to angle and get away from the
other anglers; two, I would be able to
take my new dog, George, which I’m
sure my missus would be very happy
about; and then the main reason was
to try to catch this beast of a fish, the
Fat Lady, that is constantly over 50lbs
– sometimes near 60! St Ives was lowstocked but there is another 40, the
Black Pig, and a dozen or so other nice
carp to try for, so I was sold. I sent off
my cheque and decided that when
the fish looked like spawning on
Lenwade, I’d be off to pastures new
for the rest of the summer and just see
what happened.
At the end of March, I did manage
to get in the Right-Hand Oaks. As the
weather warms, the carp start to drift
into the out-of-bounds area and I had
watched them and studied the route
they took. It seemed that some fish
came from the left, following the
weed line along the edge of the gully
before the island bar, and they would
then turn right and head in to the outof-bounds, and I noticed that the big
(Top) George keeping an eye out in
Fatty’s.
(Left) Chuffed to bits – my first St. Ives
carp, the Dark Common.
220 FREE LINE

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