freeline-25 - Page 160



The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
a nice evening out and a good few too
many wines, and I was comatose in a
deep, alcoholic sleep, when the phone
beside my bed rang at getting on
toward midnight. It was Jim, the
bailiff from Charity.
“What’s up, mate?” I said.
“I’ve got her!” was his reply.
“What do mean, ‘you’ve got her’?”
“Baby Face at 51lbs 10oz,” he said.
I thought I was dreaming, or at least
having a nightmare, and that I would
soon wake up. I sat up in bed now
fully awake.
“Where from?” I asked him.
“The Logs swim, just out to the
right,” was his reply.
I didn’t know what else to say,
apart from, “Well done.”
The next day it all sank in, and I
knew it hadn’t all been just a bad
dream. That was the first time she
had graced the banks since February,
nearly seven months before, and that
was to be Jim’s first, and only, bite of
that year. It’s a funny old game this
carp fishing lark. Well, I truly had
banned Jim now from the lake, and to
be fair he never fished it again the rest
of the time I was there, but he did
want me to hurry and catch her so he
could get back on. That had been
another close call for me, and Jim later
showed me where he had caught her
from – bang on where she had shown.
How the hell did he manage to put a
rod there, and why would he?
I was not giving up; this fish was
becoming an obsession with me. I
had caught nearly all the known fish
apart from one, the second biggest,
Chubby Chops, and she just had not
yet come my way. My mate (Essex)
Gal couldn’t stop catching her; she
liked him. I caught the lake’s biggest
common at just under 30lbs from a
swim fishing to the island, called
A&E, and I just wanted now to get
the job done.
At the very end of September, we
had a freaky hot spell of weather. It
was absolutely scorching, reaching
upper 20s, and I ended up finding the
fish right in the Boat corner, the same
swim from where the old boy had cast
a rod on the big‘un earlier. There was
a big chunk of weed that a few fish
were attracted to each day, but the
main fish was Baby Face. I was so
sure that I would catch her this week
– so sure.
A three-day session turned into five
days, with me ringing the missus and
saying, “One more night; I’m going to
catch her tomorrow.” Honestly, I had
so many near misses on those few
160 FREE LINE
days; I was pulling my hair out. Each
morning as the sun shone she would
turn up as if she was enjoying the
game. She would come for breakfast,
lunch, and dinner, and then slip away,
with me still not hooking her. I even
accurately placed a zig right on the
edge of the weed bed with a mixerlooking hook bait, because she liked
to sit under the weed bed and suck
away at the mixers from below. She
turned up as normal, started feeding
away and then there was a massive
eruption. The alarm let out a burst of
sound as she somehow got away
with it once again.
I think that the main reason she
was so hard to get that week was that
the lake was busy at the one time I
had her feeding only a few feet away,
and the guy next door was spodding
beside me – not ideal, but what can
you do? I caught a few fish during the
nights while I waited in the swim for
the daylight, and I did lose a good fish
while floater fishing way into darkness.
I ended up driving home once
again, frustrated and gutted to have
been so close, but yet so far. My mate,
Mick, was down for the weekend and
the weather was still unreal. That day
when I drove home the temperature
in my car said 30°C. That’s mad for
the beginning of October! I rang Mick
and unbelievably, he told me that
there was only him and Ritchie Lofthouse on the lake.
“No way!” I said. “It’s bloody
rammed in the week, and empty
weekends? Well, Mick she’s well up
for it.” I told him of my week’s activities and said, ”Rich will get her, I
know he will.” Rich had experienced
his own near misses, and he would be
floater fishing. It was quiet; she would
be out.
Apparently, Mick said it was quiet
on the Saturday and they were not on
the top, and I had notice that toward
the end of my week, they were spending more time in the shade than
before, so I assumed that’s why it was
quiet. I kept my fingers crossed and
was all ready to get back on the Monday for another crack on the top. I
was unable to get hold of Mick on the
Sunday morning for an update, but
later when I eventually did, he said,
“Sorry I never answered your call,
mate. I was just doing the pics for
Rich – he’d just had her off the top.”
As happy as I was for Rich, I was still
gutted for myself to have put so much
effort in – it was doing my head in.
Well done to Rich, though. Good
angling, mate.
Rich had her at 52lbs – she was
massive! My only option now was to
get a spot going. Now that the hot
spell had burned out, and more seasonal weather had arrived, I decided
I was getting a few during the night, and then they would be on top again.

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