freeline-25 - Page 134

Berkshire 30s and Guilty Confessions
the pictures came out blurred, and we
bodged up a weighing bar from a
bank stick despite the fact I had a
purposely designed one with me. So
it’s good to hear it’s not just me!
Back to my own angling, and last
month I mentioned that my target fish
from the Nene Valley water had been
caught just before my next intended
session, so I needed a last minute
change of plan. Not only was Blindeye down in weight at under 40lb, but
it had also come out of the lake next
door, so her new environment must
have put her off the feed a little. Either
way I decided I would be better off
leaving the place alone for a few
months to see which fish were in
which lake and to see how healthy
the travellers were in their new
homes. So yet again for what seemed
like the umpteenth time this year I
needed to change my plans. There
was nowhere I held a ticket for that
was really inspiring me. I loved the
big Reading water in summer, but on
my last few visits the fish had
grouped in the centre of the lake out
of my baiting range, despite the fact I
can spod to over 140 yards! I spoke to
a few of my mates for inspiration and
advice, and they pretty much said the
same thing: “Life is too short to sit
there blanking and watching the fish
show 50 yards past your baited area –
get on them!” or words to that effect.
So I took their advice, swallowed
my pride and borrowed my brother’s
bait boat! I really can’t be bothered
with the things; they seem more trouble than they are worth and in the
wrong hands they can cause issues
with fish safety, but by not using one
on the big Reading water I was at a
massive disadvantage. As I loaded the
thing into the car I couldn’t believe
how much room it was taking up; it
was like the Queen Mary of bait
boats. Couple the size of the thing
with the two spare batteries, handset,
sonar monitor and solar charger that I
was told I would need, and I realised
there was another reason why I disliked using one – it completely
detracted from my travelling
approach that I liked to adopt on the
When I got to the lake I saw a fish
show pretty much straight away in no
man’s land in the middle section of
the lake, just off the back of an island.
I couldn’t access the area from any
swim, but I could place a bait 40 yards
away on the corner of the island from
a different angle. So I quickly drove
round to the swim that controlled that
area and started to set up. I had a
pang of guilt as I sent the boat out to
the spot, but by watching the sonar
monitor I could place my baits in the
depth of water that I wanted to fish.
The sonar wasn’t as good as the
Humming Bird Parana that I used on
my proper boat, but it did a job. The
whole thing went surprisingly well,
however it didn’t really feel right not
casting the bait. I don’t know if that
was just me being old fashioned or
not, but I suppose I was angling and I
felt I had three baits in the correct
area and I was in with a chance.
I didn’t like where the bivvying up
area of the swim was because I
couldn’t see much water due to the
treeline on the left of the swim, so I
had the fantastically bright idea of
bivvying up on the high bank. The
area was very thick with foliage and
the ground was uneven and cramped,
but I thought I could just fit a bivvy on
it, even though it would mean I would
have to step out onto a very old sailing club staging that was both dilapidated and rotten. Some of the
wooden boards had been replaced by
large block paving slabs, but if I’m
honest these didn’t look too sturdy
themselves. But after a few test steps,
I decided the vista that the new area
offered outweighed the cons, so I got
(Top) Roger with Pooley’s a few
weeks ago at 38lbs.
(Left) Pooley’s caught on the same
morning as Hartley’s in 2010 at 44lb


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