freeline-27 - Page 179

Casting For ‘Cloopers’
Back Bay swim in the spring.
came quickly, and I was soon in my
bag thinking about the big mirror I
had seen. The mozzies were already a
pain, so I reached into my rucksack
for my Autan spray. I sprayed it on the
backs of my hands and then wiped it
all over my face, ears and neck; I loved
the smell of the stuff, and within half
an hour it appeared that the mozzies
did too! They were worse than ever,
and I was getting really pissed off
with the buzz in one ear just as I was
drifting off to sleep.
I had a plan; I reached into my
rucksack pocket and retrieved my
army skrim netting scarf. I wrapped
that around my head twice and then
pulled up the hood on my sleeping
b a g. I t w o u l d k e e p m o s t o f t h e
mozzies off me, but I’d be able to
b r e a t h e t h r o u g h t h e n e t t i n g. I t
worked well and I was soon drifting
off to sleep; the big mirror carp firmly
on my mind and then in my dreams.
It was maybe 3am when the take
eventually came; there is no doubt in
my mind that I was in a very deep
sleep, and that I probably missed the
first ten seconds of the take. I awoke
with such a fright, that my head came
up and bashed the ribs of my brolly. I
could hear a one-toner from an alarm,
but when I opened my eyes it was
pitch black and I could hardly
breathe. I felt such suffocation that
my arms were flailing around trying
to get rid of whatever was attached to
my face. I fought with that bloody
skrim scarf and the hood on my sleeping bag for what seemed like an age,
eventually freeing myself from the
menace. I got my bearings the best I
could, and stood up in my sleeping
bag. As I took one little step forward
within the bag, I slipped and fell
straight back onto my arse, and proceeded to slide down the sloping
bank, waving at my rods as I went by.
Seconds later I fell feet first into the
shallow margins of the lake with a
By now I was absolutely shitting
myself; I was in the water, in a sleeping bag, and a carp had been on a one
toner for at least 15 seconds, probably
more. I couldn’t reach the rod from
where I was, so I quickly grappled
with the zip on the bag, and climbed
out of the soggy mess. I ran back up
the bank in wet socks and grabbed
the offending rod, instantly flicking off
the anti-reverse as the fish powered
out of the bay (just as I had imagined
it would).
I had never experienced power like
it, and I was literally trembling with
fear. Eventually the fish slowed, and I
was able to gain some line back as
the fish turned and headed back into
the bay, along the far margin where I
had hooked it. I started to take little
steps back up to my brolly so that I
could grab my head torch. The sloping bank meant that I had to dig my
toes hard into the bank so that I could
get some grip and not fall flat on my
face. My socks were wet through and
covered in mud, but I didn’t give a
shit; I had a carp to land.
I retrieved my torch and managed
to manipulate the straps onto my
head, one-handed. I then grabbed
hold of my landing net and launched
the head of it into the reeds in readiness. The carp by this time was right
in front of me; however there was a
large shallow plateau only inches
deep between us. The carp seemed to
know this, as it would stay there wallowing around for some time, just
teasing me. I shone my head torch out
across the bay and I immediately saw
the huge flank of the fish; it was the
big mirror and my knees instantly
went to jelly. Not only that, but as the
torchlight caught the carp’s eye, there
was a look… a look of absolute distain
and contempt for me; a look that was
almost saying to me “Why are you
bothering, mate? You’re going to lose
me.” Without thinking any further, and
with already wet feet, I waded into
the margins as I wound down
towards the fish. I initially felt gravel
and then as I stepped further the
gravel became soft, gloopy silt that
was squelching between my toes.
Luckily the silt wasn’t too deep and I
continued to wade towards the fish.
I reached the plateau, only to suddenly realise that my net was lying in
the margins about 15 feet behind me.
“SHIT!” I muttered to myself, as I
gradually led the carp around the
plateau and back to the bank, like a
dog on a leash. By now the carp was
pretty much beaten, and I could see
its gills flaring and its mouth gulping
to take in more oxygen. Before I knew
it, the landing net was within my
grasp and I was leading the great fish
across the net cord and up to the
spreader block. As the carp’s great
bulk gradually sank into the folds of
the net, I let out a huge cry of relief
and just stood there absolutely elated.
It took me back to the landing of
Dopey the leather carp and the whole
mixture of emotions that I had experienced then.
I think I stood there for some time,
in awe of what lay before me. I then
waded the last few steps to terra
firma and pegged the landing net
spreader with a spare bank stick. I
grabbed my unhooking mat and a
sack and then soaked them in the
edge before dragging them up to the
top of the slope. I dismantled the net
and then went to lift the carp’s bulk to
the top of the bank.
Every carp angler knows the feeling of lifting their very first ‘really
heavy’ carp, and this was a memory
that has stayed with me to this very
day – a two-handed job, and even
then, a real bloody struggle! I again
had to dig my toes into the bank for
grip and eventually lay the huge bulk
onto the mat. He was immense, and I
had bloody got him! n


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