freeline-25 - Page 158



The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
This pic was taken October the 10th –
freaky hot weather and she was
having it off the top.
walked back to his swim. ‘Phew!
Thank God!’ I was now getting very
close to her with my hook bait and
she must have caught a whiff of it as
she left the weed and was slowly
heading toward it. Now I was watching the hook bait and her, and my
heart was pounding. I was going to
hook her, for sure. She was going to
take it, I knew she was.
She was only a couple of feet away
now, and as she lifted her big back out
and approached my hook bait, I could
see the water making a V around her
face. Then, just like a slow motion clip
in a movie, I saw the bloke in the
background turn up in the Boat swim
with a rod and a chair, and I kid you
not, at the precise second that the big
girl was about to take that hook bait
he smacked a big lead straight at its
head, and sat down on his stool with
the rod in his hand.
My God, I was in bits! The big girl
just vanished in a hurry and I stood
there arms open wide, jaw on the
floor, just standing there looking at
him, “Why?” I said. “Why?” but he
was totally oblivious to me even
being there.
That had been such a good chance.
158 FREE LINE
I was so upset that I just got my bed
chair out from the van, got into my
sleeping bag and tried to get some
sleep. A little later, I was awoken by
the sound of some anglers setting up
opposite, and although it was narrow
at this end, I decided to stay put and
fish close in my margins and hope
that she may still be in the area. As it
got warmer – and it was very hot for
the time of year – a few fish started to
turn up from my left, coming from the
masses of weed in front of the Car
Park swim. They were all taking a
similar route and were high in the
water so I set two rods up on zigs,
with black foam hook baits, and cast
them both in areas where I’d seen
them travelling, just a foot under the
surface.
As more and more fish turned up
along the route, I was sure of a bite
and no sooner had I thought the
thought than the left rod absolutely
ripped off, really aggressively. As I
picked up the rod, the fish – a good
upper-20 – came leaping out of the
lake, shaking its head like a marlin,
and snapped my size ten hook.
Bloody hell! I’d never known anything
like it – another good chance lost.
Things did get better, though. I
ended up having a great little session
and had six takes in the end with the
zigs, catching a lovely, old original linear mirror, and another old 29lb mirror, and at one stage, I had the big girl
taking mixers. She must have taken
my hook bait in her mouth at least
three times, but each time she wouldn’t close her mouth, she would just
turn her head and the bait would
come out. Very frustrating – what did
I have to do to catch her?
All the action in that area of the
lake was in the daytime; at night it
seemed devoid of fish. The carp were
definitely moving out to another part
of the lake for the night, maybe the
low oxygen levels in and around the
weed beds during the night was
enough to push them off to a more
suitable area. I still had two nights
and the forecast was a lot cooler for
the next two days so I decided to
move right up the other end of the
lake, the deep end, to do a night and
see if I could find them. They had to
be somewhere during the night.
The depths go down as far as 20odd feet, and the fish do always seem
to get there just before dark, but I had
a feeling they were maybe flushing
out their gills from a day’s feeding and
grubbing about – who knows? They
always showed a lot here but not too
many ever got caught. I stayed up for
most of the night but I had no action
to my rods. I was able to hear fish
crashing from around the other side
of the island, though, so it seemed
that the fish turned up before dark,
had a bit of a clean-up then went off
again. I packed the gear into the van
and drove round to where I thought
they were, and that was the Steps
swim.
I was shattered, so I cast out the
rods with singles, and then got some
much-needed sleep, only to be woken
at 9am by Jim, the bailiff, on his
rounds. He was obviously unaware of
my night’s activities and wondered
why I was still asleep. Now, Jim’s a
really nice bloke and has already
caught Baby Face, but he still fishes
on the lake. I’ve told him on many
occasions that he’ll end up catching
her again and take someone else’s
chance away, but he insisted that
there were other fish he wanted to
c a t c h . I t d i d w o r r y m e, t h o u g h ,
because you just know how things
happen. Anyway, we had a chat and a
brew and then he carried on round
the lake, and I tried for some more
sleep.
That night, the conditions were
really good, and at 11pm she showed
herself with an almighty belly flop
only about 30 yards out and slightly
left of my swim, between the swim
next door – the Logs – and me. It was
her, unquestionably. Nothing else was
that big. I was buzzing! She was in
front of me and I had rods in the area
so I decided to not recast and spook
her off. During the night, I had liners
on the closest rod to where she had
shown and I was so sure of a bite, but
she had eluded me once again, and I
woke up scratching my head, thinking, ‘Well, what happened there,
then?’
I did have a lot of liners and I’m
sure other anglers around the lake
would have heard them, so I packed
up and wanted to get off the fishery
without having to speak to anyone.
Jim was on the opposite bank talking
to one of his mates fishing in the
Oaks, and he was waving across to
me as I packed the last bits into my
van. As I passed one angler, he asked
me how many I had caught because
he had heard my alarms. “Oh, just
bream, mate… lots of,” I said, because
I wanted to try to get back as soon as
possible.
The next day was my wedding
anniversary, so you know why I came
home now. The missus and I had had

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