freeline-25 - Page 162

The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
As I knew he would, Jim the bailiff
was soon at the lake on his rota, and
spent the day chatting away and
drinking coffee. Although I fished the
same day that Ian had caught her the
previous year, all was very quiet that
session, but my plan was to continue
fishing this area because I was sure
that she wouldn’t be too far away.
I fished as much as I was able in
the Oaks. The time was flying by and
before I knew it March was coming to
an end and still there had been no
sign of the big girl. I was once again
back in the Left Oaks, and, as I said, if
no one was next door the Left Oaks is
great because you can fish that left
rod over to the island. To be honest
this was my banker, but I still couldn’t
ignore the spots where my other two
rods were because that’s where she’d
had been before. At the left end of the
island there is a bush that hangs over
and into the water, and from my swim
it was the perfect angle to cast a
hookbait tight to the island and up
against the bush. I baited this area
with some black 10mms and fished
my usual white chod over the top.
The next morning, at about 7am,
the island rod bent around signalling
a take, and I was on it quickly because
my rods were virtually in my bivvy
door. I immediately got the rod low
and gave hard sidestrain to stop the
fish gaining sanctuary in the snags
that came off the island bush. This
worked, and the fish ended up coming off the island and into more
favourable water, but as with previous fish I now had the worry of the
Norfolk reeds that protruded from my
left margin, and my line was getting
close to these. It’s always a worry
because you then have to play the
fish back toward them, and if the fish
gets in them it can only lead to disaster, so I had no option but to keep
playing it back and hope that I could
somehow steer it round the edge of
the reeds.
As it got closer, the fish rolled and a
big set of shoulders came out. For a
moment, I thought I was playing the
big‘un, and I was about to jump in
and wade out to the reeds and net it
from there, but luckily, I managed to
get it round the reed bed and into my
waiting net. It was not my target
carp, but a very welcome, high-shouldered mirror of 27lbs. ‘That’ll do!’ I
thought. I was off the mark at least,
and fish were feeding, so happy with
my capture, I topped up the spot with
some more bait and got the rod back
That night at 11pm there was an
eruption right over my island rod and
the wave that came back seemed
huge in the flat calm water. I shot out
like a bolt to have a look, and as I did
so, the same fish came out again; it
was her, for sure – I was buzzing! She
must have been on my bait and I had
a restless night anticipating a bite at
any moment. I had a couple of liners
that had me flying out of the sleeping
bag, but sadly, that was the only
activity I received and my session had
come to an end. I should have stayed,
really. My missus would not have
objected – she’s good like that – but
instead, I baited up again and left for
A couple of days later, I got the
news; the big’un was out. Another
friend, Paul, had been on the lake all
winter. He’d stuck with it and had
caught a couple that no one knew
about – one of which was Chubby
Chops at 35lbs. Like me, Paul had
been on the lake for a few seasons
and as he lives locally, he stayed with
it over the winter.
My banker spot was confirmed
when Paul came down to the lake to
see me. He told me where he had
caught her from and he had been in
36s, next door, and fishing to the
A big shouldered fish from the banker rod.
The rods were in the bivvy door.
island bush. Although I was gutted,
once again, on being so close to
catching her, I was happy for Paul. He
had worked hard all winter and this
was his reward – fair play, mate! It
was a bonus that she was over 50lbs
at 51lb 8oz, and in good nick. Paul’s
pictures are some of the best I’ve
seen. Onwards and upwards!
As the weather was warming, the
weed beds in the Oaks started to rise
slowly, and more fish were visiting


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