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Berkshire 30s and Guilty Confessions
but I knew that remote sonars
weren’t cheap, and I really didn’t
want to part with a four-figure sum to
replace it! I spent the afternoon walking the gravel pit in a set of waders,
checking all the overgrown margins
and searching the many islands with
a pair of binoculars, but I couldn’t see
any sign of it. I reasoned that it must
have driven itself into an island bush,
so I needed to get out onto the water.
I hung around the sailing club, but no
one turned up.
The second idea was to get out in a
dinghy. I knew this was against the
rules, but it was better than forking
out a grand! So I made a few phone
calls to anyone I knew in the area or
that had ever fished in Berkshire. My
story was met with a lot of piss taking
and the phrase, “It serves you right for
cheating with a toy boat” came up a
lot. But none of my mates, or mates of
mates could help me. That was until
fellow BCRL contributor Jonny Mac
came to my assistance with a small
d i n g h y. I d o n ’ t k n o w w h o h e
scrounged it off and I didn’t ask; I was
just very grateful (cheers, Jon)! I went
straight out and found the boat 100
yards away from the last place I saw
it, stuck under a bush on the corner of
an island that couldn’t be seen from
any bank! I was so relived to get it
back and not have to replace it, and
(Top) Darren Belton with a 39, or was
it 40lb 8oz?
(Above right) Bivvied up in the new
position, near the dilapidated
(Right) The slabs proved not to be too
sturdy… The site of my first plunge…
. ...but the wood was worse, and this
time I got even wetter!
the whole ordeal made me realise that
toy boats just aren’t for me!
I managed to get the rods back out
on dusk to somewhere near where I
had seen the fish, dumped the hopper
full of bait, and in the early hours I
was rewarded with a bite! With the
stretch in the mono at long range the
fight was very uneventful and I pretty
much just wound the fish in. I had
doubts as to whether it was a carp at
times, so I was a pleasantly surprised
to bank my first 30 from the lake, and
indeed my first Berkshire 30, at 32lb.
This more than made up for the disastrous first half of the session.
The following week I decided
against fishing the staging swim and
dropped on one of the points. This
also gave me access to the central
section of water, but it also afforded
me a better view up the lake. I knew I
was in with a chance of a bite if I
could get my baits beyond the shallow weedy bar and into the deeper
water, and after a bit of messing
about that took me well into darkness
I managed to get all three rods out
there with a bit of bait round them.
At some time in the early hours I
received a few beeps on the left hand
rod. The bobbin held up tight but I
was reluctant to strike the rod
because it was a nightmare to get it
back out, and besides, if I was to get a
liner out in the deeper water the shallow weed would stop the bobbin
falling back into place. But when the
tip bent over and it pulled out of the
clip I knew I had a bite. When I picked
up the rod I knew there was a fish on
the end, but resistance was that weak
that I thought a bream was the culprit. The more line I gained the more I
was sure it was a bream. I started to
swear under my breath and crank it in
faster. This was my most confident
rod and it had been wiped out by a
nuisance fish – I wasn’t pleased. But
just before the shallow bar of weed
started, the resistance stopped me
cranking it in and forced me to yield
line! It was a carp after all and some
of the lunges felt very weighty.
The carp was content to kite up
and down in the deeper water beyond
the weedy bar, which caused a big
issue when it picked up one of the
other lines. I tried the usual tricks to
get it off the line, but it must have
rolled on it and got it twisted around.
I was in a bit of a mess with the fish
stuck on the other line at 80 yards out.
It’s situations like this when a boat
would have been very useful to go out
and net the fish, but as I mentioned
before they weren’t allowed, so I was
forced to mess about for what was
probably 30 minutes. However, I


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