freeline-25 - Page 161



The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
“Are you sure, mate?”
“Well, it’s not a definite, but I think
it came out on the Saturday. So-andso was supposed to have done the
pictures. I’ll find out.”
I wondered why no one was on the
lake and it wasn’t long before he
called back to confirm.
“Yes, mate. A guy caught it from
the Steps swim, 52lbs 4oz and a new
Norfolk record.”
For God’s sake! You can imagine
how I felt. I’d just driven 100 miles,
and this was the final straw for me. I
knew my chances now had gone for
this year, and I had a horrible feeling
that I’d still be buying a ticket for next
season... Aargh...
The Journey Continues
I had a horrible feeling I would be buying a ticket again next season… Aaargh!
to fish the Steps swim as she has
good form in that area when she’s
eating bait. I did a couple of trips,
catching a few more fish, mainly
stockies, and even though I was off
the lake for most of the spring and
summer, I still managed around 18
fish. I knew my time was running out,
though, and I needed to pull my finger
out, so before I left on the Friday, I put
a nice bit of bait out for my return on
the Monday morning.
I set off at 4.30am, once again
heading northbound, and wondered
just how many more times I would
have to do this bloody trip. As I
opened the gates to the fishery, I
noticed a very quiet atmosphere and
the first thing I saw was that the lake
was empty. Strange, I thought, but
great peace and quiet. I went round
to my swim, placed my bucket in
there, and drove back round to the car
park where I was able to see a fair bit
of the lake. I just sat there for a while
watching the water before I went to
set up and texted Cockle to tell him I
was there. I knew he’d be up and he
called me straight back.
“Mate,” he said. “I’m not sure, but I
think she may have been out.”
My heart sank.
That last capture of Baby Face was
to be the last of 2011. I decided to get
Christmas and January out of the way
before I started again with my obsession to catch this fish, and I really
wanted to catch her before the season finished, or it would mean yet
another ticket and another year or
maybe even years. Anyway, I was
thinking about Ian’s capture in the
previous February again, and this
gave me the enthusiasm I was looking for, so before I knew it I was fully
loaded and Norfolk bound. I had
already made up my mind that I
wanted to spend as much time as
possible back in the Left-hand Oaks.
When I arrived, the lake was still
and a mist was hanging down to the
water surface. It looked lifeless and
very wintry, but it was February and
she had visited the bank at this time
of year from this swim, so I was soon
all set up, and a quick flick about with
the rod revealed that the lakebed was
as it had been back in the previous
February sessions.
The lake was more or less empty,
but there may have been a couple of
anglers pike fishing. I cast my old
faithful white chod hookbait tight to
the island to my left, as no one was in
the swim 36s, next door. I loved this
spot; the island just drops off vertically to about 11 feet and it’s a nice,
silty area. I always imagine that the
fish will be moving over this area at
some stage as they follow the contour
of the island, and it’s also the area
where I’ve seen the big girl, and
heard her jump. The other two rods
were fished with white 10mm-tipped
snowmen, and just a light scattering
of bait.
FREE LINE 161

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