freeline-25 - Page 169



The Long Road to My First Fifty Pounder
Happy days.
the Oaks, one of them was already
unloading his barrow in the swim,
totally unaware that my bucket was
already in there. “Hi mate,” I said.
“Sorry, but I’ve already claimed the
swim.” He was okay about it; he just
never saw the bucket, and he moved
round to the Car Park swim. That was
a close one. If I’d unloaded my gear
first on to the barrow I wouldn’t have
got in there.
I got completely set up and everything seemed perfect. My main efforts
in this swim were to present a bait
down the right-hand margin, as tight
to a little bush as possible. I’ve often
seen the big’un flanking on the gravel
under this bush, so I knew she visited
My love/hate relationship had come
to an end.
it often enough. You are allowed to
use a boat on Charity. I still have one
from my days on Yateley Car Park
lake, and I just wanted to use it to get
a very small amount of feed out. All I
put in was some corn and a few tigers
with some crushed boilies – only a
few mouthfuls. My hookbait was a
bottom bait boilie and I had to get
almost into the reeds to make the
cast. It was really tricky but I managed to get tight – so tight in fact that
I thought it had tethered.
I was shattered as I was up at
3.30am, so I got the other rod on a
suitable spot and thought I’d get my
head down for a bit. I soon drifted off,
but before long was awoken by a
liner, the bobbin pulling up and then
dropping back again, and every time I
went back to sleep it would go again.
Bloody hell; don’t tell me those swans
are back again – or maybe it’s the
mallards with their young eating my
corn by the bush. The liners continued and I even got up to a few of
them, cursing the unseen mallards, as
I thought. The next liner had me
standing with the rod bent double, as
a powerful fish tried to vacate the
area, and I was just starting to gain
some control when it fell off. I was
gutted. Welcome back, I thought, and
then I started to wonder which fish I’d
lost.
I then realised that all those liners
were not liners at all – they were pickups, and they were getting away with
it! It was time for a change in my
setup. I swapped the lead for a heav-
ier 4oz inline, changed my hook for a
bigger, long-shanked pattern hook,
gave it a sharpen with the Jag File,
and then added a trimmed-up cork
ball to my bottom bait to give it more
bounce when it was picked up. It
took a couple of dodgy casts, but I
settled for one that, this time, I felt
down and knew it was okay. It wasn’t
as close as I wanted, but I’d end up
trashing the swim otherwise.
A few hours went by and I never
had a single bleep on the rod so I
started to worry that I wasn’t close
enough to the bush. I was on the
phone to a mate when the rod pulled
round hard, so I ditched the phone
and grabbed the rod as the fish
instantly made for the big weedbed
and locked up. I held the pressure for
what seemed like ages; thousands of
bubbles were sheeting up on the surface as the fish tried to bury itself
deeper. It was for a time a stalemate
and I even wondered if I’d have to get
a bailiff to get the boat. Steady pressure got it moving begrudgingly, and
a heavy weight kited across the front
of my swim to my left and not far out.
It was all like a dream after that as the
big’un rolled on the surface. I was in
control. I knew what I had on, and like
thousands of other fish before, I
played her back to the net and landed
her. Once in the net, a couple of
young lads came into my swim and
looked into it – “You’ve got her, mate
– the big’un,” they said. That’s all I
wanted to hear, and all the pressure
that I had brought upon myself
instantly disappeared. I now had her
in my net – she was mine, and she
was massive.
On the scales she equalled the Norfolk record of 52lbs 4oz and I was well
and truly made up. I’m not one for
keeping them on the bank for long, to
be honest, my kick is the chase, and
once I’ve got them, I take a pic and
then my main concern is to get them
back in, quick time. I think we could
have got some better shots, but there
weren’t many around to do shots with
other cameras, so thanks to Dicky,
who did them, and the young lads for
their help.
It seemed to take ages to pack up. I
was in a kind of bubble and I was
unable to concentrate on the job, but
eventually the van was loaded for the
last trip home from the Charity Lake.
It was a love/hate relationship, but I
got there in the end. n
FREE LINE 169

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