freeline-25 - Page 157



The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
F
or a while I was lost in
my angling. It was the
middle of summer and
most fish were either
spawned out or about
to spawn. Baby Face
had not made an appearance since
Ian had caught her in February and I
can’t even remember what I did in the
month of August, but it gave me time
to get my head back together again
and get on track for September and
the long two-hour drive to Lenwade.
I knew that there had been a hell of
a lot of bait going in at the lake, probably more than ever, and I wondered
if there was just a bit too much going
in, as I’d witnessed large beds of bait
going out and not producing the fish.
This made me try to be different in my
approach. Attempting to single out
the big girl was a difficult task unless
I was seeing her, or had her feeding
on the top. All I could do was fish
areas where I thought she’d go and
try to locate her.
A swim I liked was the Steps; it
was more or less opposite the Oaks
and from there you would get command of the main bar that came off
the island, and so fish into the gully or
down the back of the bar. You can’t
really do this from the Oaks because
you’d be encroaching into Steps
water. The big girl had a record of getting caught from the Steps in the
autumn, so I would be concentrating
some time in this swim.
I arrived at the lake bright and early
one morning after leaving my house
at 4am. It was always a good run to
Norfolk from mine, but it just seemed
to take forever. The head bailiff at the
lake, Jim, became a good mate, and he
would ring me every so often to give
me an update on all the activities at
the lake, as would Essex Gary, and
Cockle (Dave) – all good lads – and
without their little phone calls, I
would be totally unaware of what had
been happening.
Anyway, I turned up on this nice
sunny morning and I had already
planned to get in the Steps – well, at
least chuck up my bivvy and have a
walk round for a look. The only thing
with the swims on that bank was that
it was easy for anglers to turn up for
the night after work and fish, so it did
quite often get busy along there.
Anglers would also turn up next door
at dawn, and start plumbing up and
spodding – not ideal at bite time!
I put the bivvy up and took a stroll
to the deeper end for a quick
butcher’s, and as I got there I could
see that another angler had already
turned up and was banging his pegs
in next door, so I carried on round the
lake until I came to the last two
swims on the opposite bank, One Up
and Two Up from the Car Park swim.
At the end of the lake, it narrows right
down; the sun was shining, it was
really nice morning, I was scanning
the water and as my eyes followed
the channel down, I caught sight of a
fish sitting in the weed bed on the
surface. I walked down to Two Up and
there she was – the big girl, just chilling out in the weed. I backed out of
the area and paced it back to swim,
quickly unpegged my bivvy, slung it
on the roof of my van, and drove back
round to One Up where I was able to
park my car out of view from the
water.
Now, the big girl just loves a surface bait, and I saw this as a major
opportunity for a chance at her. I
quickly got out the floater rod and
net, and fired out just a few mixers,
across a bit so they would just drift
down gently to where she was.
Instantly, as I did so, three mallards
came hurtling out from under the
trees and scoffed ‘em down – not a
chance, and if I fired out any more the
big girl might just get pushed out of
the area.
So a single hook bait it would be
then. I dipped the hook bait mixer
into a drop of Nash’s Crustacean
Extract, just for a bit of attraction
being only the single hook bait. I had
to cast it long, nearly three-quarters of
the way across, to get it to drift round
Another zig victim – 29lb – hardly
known by the locals.
to where she was. I made my cast and
watched to make sure that it was
drifting on the right line and I was
watching her the whole time; she was
looking well up for it and even took a
leaf off the surface. As my bait slowly
made its way to the zone, I glanced
back at my van and I honestly
thought, ‘I haven’t much to pack
away here. After I have caught her, I’ll
just sling the bivvy in the back and
the rod and net and I will be home
and celebrating in no time.’
I had to make another cast because
the first didn’t end up in the right
area. Once again, it drifting on the
line, and it looked good this time. She
was getting fairly active, moving
about and rocking the water a few
times, making some big ripples as she
turned about in the weed. Directly
behind where she was, is another little swim named the Boat, but it was
definitely a better option to fish
across, as I was doing.
Behind the Boat swim is the long,
narrow lake, another lake on the complex that runs parallel along the bank
of the one that I was fishing. There
was an old boy set up in a swim right
behind the Boat on this long lake, and
suddenly, he walked into the Boat
swim, standing there not a million
miles away from the big girl. ‘Noooo!’
I thought. ‘No... please... don’t spook
her away!’ The big girl moved and
caught his eye, and with that he
FREE LINE 157

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