freeline-27 - Page 176



Casting For ‘Cloopers’
Later stocking of some pretty mirrors by Danny Smith, me and Pete Wells.
I could see a dorsal fin extending,
however the sun was in my eyes and
slightly blinding me. As the sun disappeared behind a cloud, I tried to
climb higher for a better viewpoint. I
lifted my right foot onto a little branch
stump and pulled myself up, but at
that moment the foothold (which had
obviously been rotten) gave way, and
before I knew it, I was clinging to the
main trunk of the willow for dear life.
The funny thing is that my absolute
priority was to see if the snapping
branch had spooked the fish, so I
clung there like a koala bear trying to
peep at the fish from behind the tree
trunk. The fish were still there, but I
was gradually trying to shimmy back
down the tree before I fell out of it. By
the time I got down to sturdy bough,
the insides of my legs were covered in
green lichen and my hands were
burning and scratched with the
rather unorthodox descent.
I brushed myself off and looked out
at where I had seen the carp a minute
or so previously. By now they had
become fidgety and were on the
move out of the bay. As they slowly
sunk from view I remember feeling a
little frustrated that I hadn’t got a
proper look, however I had seen carp,
which was the main point of the exercise. From what I had just seen, there
were four commons I’d put at mid
20’s, two small mirrors; one being a
linear and one particularly big long
mirror that I’d put at 30-plus, not that
I had ever seen one in the flesh!
I had seen enough and needed to
176 FREE LINE
plan an attack. There was a nice bay
that I’d previously had my eye on; it
was right at the very back of the lake,
furthest from the car park, and unlike
the rest of the lake, the weed didn’t
appear to be too bad. It was right on
the end of a prevailing westerly wind,
and when the wind was banging in
there it just screamed carp at you.
The lake was very overgrown at that
time, and swims were mostly nonexistent. There was one little ‘slot’,
which would allow me to cast to most
areas of the bay, however it was
directly opposite this slot on the other
side of the bay that interested me
most. Right in the edge, a gravel
hump came up from about four feet
deep and ended along a shallow reed
fringed margin. My plan was a baiting
campaign at the foot of this gravel
hump where gravel became silt. At
the time two rods were the norm, so I
planned to fish both rods six feet
apart to this feature.
For the next two weeks I baited
that spot with a five-litre bucket of
maple peas every few days, and gradually I noticed the base of the gravel
hump get cleaner and cleaner. I was
under no illusions that the birds were
getting a fair proportion of the bait;
however a sack of maples probably
cost me around a fiver back then, so I
wasn’t unduly bothered.
I also bought a couple of bags of
Richworth pink seed mix boilies and
gradually started to sprinkle a few of
these amongst the maple peas. I used
to try all sorts of different boilies back
then, and these just smelt right to me
at the time. The smell seemed to complement the maples really nicely, and
the flavour had a very high leakage
rate due the coarse nature of the seed
within the bait.
I kept an eye on the weather forecast, as I intended my first assault to
coincide with a nice strong westerly.
Luckily westerlies were forecast for
the next week or so, so I just kept piling the bait in and didn’t worry too
much about looking at the forecast
each day. I planned to take a week off
work, do some fishing for a few days
and then spend some time decorating
our new house in Dunstable. You’ll
notice that the fishing came first; the
decorating wouldn’t be so much of a
chore if I had a nice fat carp under my
belt. I intended to do one night on the
Bird Lake and then go home to do a
bit of ‘rubbing down’ the following
day. I would then head up to Claydon
to do a day’s catfishing the day after.
I arrived at the pit on a Monday
morning and proceeded to lump all
my kit around to the back of the lake
through all the stingers and brambles.
Not many members bothered with
that side of the pit, as it was too far to
walk, so the paths were always very
overgrown. It may sound selfish, but I
preferred it that way; I had two thirds
of the lake totally to myself. It took me
three trips to get all my kit round
there; this was well before carp barrows became commercially available,
and before I’d invested in a wheelbarrow. I avoided checking ‘the spot’ for
fear of spooking any carp that may be
resident, so I headed straight for my
little ‘slot’. The rigs I made up were
my usual confidence rigs; light running legers, long mono hooklinks and
long hairs. I made one change to the
rigs in that I intended to fish two
15mm baits on each rod. Rather than
using unnatural double baits, I tied up
two hairs on each hook with 2lb
mono. One short hair attached to the
shank of the hook, and one longer hair
off the bend. There were no PVA
nuggets back then, so in order to
avoid tangles, all I could do was cross
my fingers and hope.
I ’d p u t a n a w f u l l o t o f b a i t i n
recently, so I baited sparingly with
maples; maybe only a kilo of wet bait.
I also sprinkled about 100 or so boilies
around the spot and a few further out;
almost like a little ‘taster’ to bring
carp in onto the spot.
It was September by then, but the

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