freeline-25 - Page 165

The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
I had never seen this one.
to observe as the male swan had a go
at the big girl. I kid you not – they
were not friends! To be fair, I just
knew that as long as the swan was
about I had no chance on the top.
At 7am the next morning, the lefthand zig rod steamed off. I was shaking with adrenaline as I carefully
played this fish; it’s always scary on
the zigs, especially when they weed
you up on the long hook length as this
one was doing. I was gaining line and
making good progress as the fish
more or less went from one weedbed
to another, and my steady pressure
kept it moving until a nice mirror was
rolling in front of my net. That’s
always the worst part because I had
to hold the rod as high as possible
and reach out with the net. They
always seem to go nearly in, and then
start to play up when they’re half in
over the net cord. Anyway, in she
went and I breathed a sigh of relief. It
was a very nice mirror and one that I
hadn’t seen before, so it was most
welcome and at 27lbs – a nice start to
day. As it was still early, a few quick
shots were done and she was safely
put back and that rod went back on
the spot.
Just before 9am, the channel rod
was away. Now, at first I was convinced that it was her, because it was
at this time each day when she would
turn up. This fish made good use of a
big weedbed, sending up thousands
of bubbles as I tried to extract her, and
I eventually did. I landed a nice 20lb
common and then it dawned on me –
was this fish the big’un’s sidekick?
Later I had a look in the channel,
and I only saw one fish in there, which
I thought that was a bit strange, so I
went for a walk around the lake. The
sun was the warmest it had been so
far this year, and I knew the fish
would respond to that. Sure enough,
as I made my way round to the deep
end I came to the Snags swim, and in
the calm water behind the ripple I
saw a black shape – ‘Okay then, here
we go’ – and then I saw a couple
more. I now had to work fast because
one rule on this lake is that you’re not
allowed to go stalking. You have to
pack down your gear completely and
vacate the swim so you’re not taking
up two swims – bit of a nightmare
really, but rules are rules, so I had to
dash back to my swim, pack down,
grab my floater gear, and get back
round before someone else also saw
what I’d just seen.
It was Jim the bailiff’s day again,
and Jim was all too happy to help out
– he’s a good old boy – so I ended up
putting everything on my barrow,
pulled it out of the swim, left it there,
and was soon back round to the
Snags swim. Hurriedly, I tied up a
new floater hook length and fired out
a few free offerings. I also had a nice
loaf of crusty bread that I knew the
big’un would not turn down. There
were a few fish present and then in
among them (there was no mistaking
her), I saw the big’un! ‘Right,’ I
thought, as I had done many times
before, ‘I’m having her today, that’s a
The fish were soon interested in
floating food, and it took no time to
get them taking confidently, including
Her Majesty. I was about to make my
The linear again – I thought I was playing the big girl.


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