freeline-24 - Page 224



The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
Lady was so very due to come out
now on St. Ives.
On my next trip, I was all set up in
Fatty’s swim, and from the top of a tall
tree I had seen a few big black shapes
on a gravelly shelf right tight to the
island in a little bay. It was a long
chuck to this shelf but I had my gear
all set up for long range and I had no
trouble hitting the shelf. I positioned a
shallow chod on leadcore, right on the
shelf, and from up in the tree I was
able to see that they were all over my
hookbait, but it seemed they were
chasing each other around and I was
getting a lot of liners.
Ed Betteridge was angling in the
next swim, and he was giving me a
running commentary from the tree
about what was going on out on the
shelf. “She’s there, mate! The Lady’s
on the shelf!” I was getting all agitated; surely something would happen?
There was another spot closer in
which I was sure the fish were also
visiting, because every now and then
it would flat-spot as something disturbed the baited area. George Benos
was in the next swim down, in the
Shallows, another very weedy area
but one that had done bites. Suddenly, out of nowhere, my shelf rod
was off. I lifted into it and the fish just
kited away from the area. Ed was
soon with me. “You got one at last!”
he said, “After all the liners.” The fish
kited well away from the island. I was
using a lead dropper on the chod and
I just figured at that range, because I
would have to use heavy leads to get
the distance, it would be best if I
dumped the lead I was keeping the
pressure on and I’m sure I felt the lead
come off, but then moments later, so
did my fish. Oh well, never mind,
some you win some you lose.
The very next morning, George
next door rang me to say that he had
one on and needed some help. He
was weeded up and needed me to get
his boat out and pumped up. George
was in a bit of a panic because I’m
sure he knew which fish it was that
he had on. I got the boat out and as I
was getting it ready he got the fish
moving again. This happened a few
times and there were some heart-
stopping moments, especially for
George. Eventually, he waded out and
I witnessed the mighty Lady as she
slipped into his net. George had
worked very hard on St Ives and put
in so much effort, and the relief on his
face said it all. I was so pleased to be
there and witness his capture. The
Lady went 57lbs 10oz; a monstrous
carp, and a massive ‘well done’ to
George.
Seeing the Lady just fired me up
even more, and I so much wanted to
catch her. I was looking forward to
the autumn and I’d started to make
my plans of attack, constantly thinking about it, but the capture of
George with the Lady was to be the
one and only time that I would ever
see the fish. Sadly, some time in July
she was found floating and I can only
imaging she had suffered from being
spawnbound. She was a massive carp
–‘the Fat Lady’ says it all; RIP. I was
gutted when I was told this – once
again my dreams of catching a particular fish were shattered and that
would be the end of a fantastic time
on a lake that I just loved. n
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