freeline-25 - Page 56



Made In England
was out into the darkness. Now, the
rod was about ten yards away, at the
bottom of a small slope. There were
two ways down. You either went
down the four or five steps that had
been cut into the earth, or you took
the panic route through the mass of
brambles to the left of the steps. After
all these years, you’d think we could
calm ourselves, wouldn’t you, but the
fact that, seconds later, I was on my
face with the reel spinning in front of
me, and my legs and feet a mass of
cuts and abrasions, proves that not be
true. I managed to right myself and
pulled into the fish, which had kited
right, into the bay and towards a
small island. I managed to slow it
enough, then looked at my foot and
wondered why it looked black. Still
keeping pressure on the fish, I slowly
took the steps back to my bivvy and
grabbed the headtorch, which
revealed quite a lot of blood on my
battered leg. That would have to wait
for now, as the fish had found a small
weedbed and was stoically ignoring
my efforts to remove it from there.
Shortly, I put the rod down for a few
seconds and pretty soon the fish was
on the move and within a few minutes I was sliding the net under a nice
23lb common. Hoorah! Despite hell
and high water, I’d landed my first fish
of the year and I was made up.
The series of mini disasters continued for the next ten minutes when
the remote for my camera played up
horribly, and as I didn’t really want to
keep the fish out for too long, I ended
up with some fine, headless shots of
me with a fine common. No matter, I
was off the mark and feeling good, if
somewhat damaged. Once the blood
was washed away, everything else
was superficial, although it stung like
buggery for the next few days.
The following morning, around
nine, I wound in and went for stroll
round, rod and net in hand. I wan-
A big Reservoir mirror of 44lb broke James Taylor’s PB.
56 FREE LINE
dered round to see Roy first, sitting
and having a fine chat with him about
all manner of things – old school
stylie. After about 15 minutes Jill
called out from her swim, which was
about fifty yards away. We trotted up
to see her with a stunning 22lb mirror
in the net, which she’d also caught
from just a few feet out. It was a
lovely, chestnut brown fish, with two
big scales on one side and huge pecs.
The Ashmead mirrors are really something and I can’t wait to slip my net
under one sometime soon.
After that, I carried on walking, but,
by early afternoon I was once again
without a sighting, so returned to
camp for a sandwich and a cuppa. An
hour later I was walking along the
back bank towards Tom’s Pond,
where Mark had lost the big common.
Then, there, in the weed… is that a
fish? Two fish? In the back channel,
amongst a dense forest of weed, two
or three fish could be seen, just taking

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