freeline-28 - Page 181

The Gnarly Pit
of another day. Sky high and six thousand miles away. Don’t know how
long I’ve been awake. Wound up in an
amazing state...” I love carp fishing
and like-minded people! Later that
day I got a phone call from Richard.
He moved his barrow down the Barrel
Bay, and whilst his back was turned, it
was blown over in a savage gust. The
lot was dumped down the bank and
some of it ended up in the drink. He
found it amusing enough now on the
phone, but I doubted he did at the
That was the thing with the Gnarly
Pit – the uncaught ‘myths’. I remember going for a walk around one of the
back bays one afternoon not long
after I had joined. I had with me a
non-angling work mate who had
come along instead of staying in the
van when I went there on the way
home from work. We were creeping
around in the back bays, and right in
the margin under my feet was a huge,
black looking common. I reckoned it
would easily make forty pounds. As I
stood there trying to burn the image
onto my mind, the guy I was with
stood up and the fish bolted off. I
know from speaking to Dickie one
day that he also saw a jet black common at close quarters that he put at
Another one we both saw together
was on a warm early spring day. We
were stood on the High Bank looking
across the main lake when a carp
swam along in front of us a little way
out. But due to the clarity of the water
and the elevated advantage we were
at we got a good look at it. It was a
common, and I kid you not, it was all
of three feet long. It didn’t appear to
have much depth, but it was easily a
mid-thirty pounder.
Wayne and I were once on our way
back from work a tad early, so to kill a
bit of time we went for a walk at the
pit via our journey home. Again on the
High Bank just before the two islands
going in to Barrel Bay, we saw a grey
looking mirror that we agreed would
be in high thirties feeding right in the
edge. We got to within feet of it and
got a really good look at it. It was a
big, short, stocky grey fish. How these
fish went missing was anybody’s
guess. They certainly never seemed
to get caught. One that did occasionally get caught they called the Kinky
Back Common, but thus far I’d never
seen that one in the water.
Unmissable, so you’d think!
One common I did witness one
subsequent summer day a year later
was when I was stood looking across
Barrel Bay, an area I’m sure they only
went in to sun themselves, as no one
ever seemed to get a bite from there. I
watched as this really wide fish came
down the bar in no more than three
feet of water and flanked onto the bar
for a rub. I wasn’t far away, and I will
hazard a guess that it was easily
44lbs-plus. Shortly after, it came to
rest in the weed under where I was
stood and was sculling with its pec
fins with its head on show, just like
the carp in the old Carp Society logo.
I could see into its pristine mouth as it
drew breath. It looked massive!
I remember Alan, another guy who
was fishing it later on told me of a
huge common that he saw, probably
the same fish I’d seen, but he reckoned, at close quarters it was getting
on for fifty pounds. I didn’t doubt him,
as I knew he, along with the rest of us,
knew what a big carp looked like. He
also saw the one we called Motorhead too, proving it still was about.
It was, and is, a mystery where they
hid. Having a high bank that gives
you such a good view of the lake,
you’d think it would be very difficult
for them to hide for long periods of
time, but that’s exactly what they
seemed to do. I know of plenty of
other people who got a good look at
Motorhead, but Dickie never got to
see him, and I never saw it in the time
I was actually fishing it. It’s the type
of lake you can’t help but go looking
on with so much to see.
A week later I again got a call from
Dickie whilst I was working down the
M1 near the M25 junction. He was set
up on the South Point, and hats off to
him for doing that. Not only was it an
expedition to get there with tackle,
you have to bivvy up behind a bush
and you had to wade out to be able to
cast. But fair play; he’d been there a
few nights and had been hauling, the
biggest going 24lbs. He was sure, and
kept mentioning to me, that the old
Kinky Back Common would soon be
making an appearance, and so he
wanted to make the most of the rest
of the season. Fair play to him. To be
honest, I did too! That was it, and for
third week on the trot I pulled a
flanker and took a couple of days off.
I’d worked like a maniac all winter, so
I was due a bit of time off. Being selfemployed there’s no such thing as
h o l i d a y a n y h o w, s o b a l l s t o t h e
money. I’m going back down!
With the kit in the car, I arrived at
the lake to a frosty dawn. I wheeled
my barrow along the High Bank and
parked it under a large hawthorn so I
could see it whilst I went round the
pit to go and see Dickie. His tales of
fish keeping him awake all night
crashing down to his left had me feeling envious. I love fishing in nights
like that when the air seems electric
with suspense. Although last night
he’d seen or heard nothing, so he
thought they’d temporarily vacated
the area. As we were sitting there
watching the sun come up, two fish
crashed out opposite where we were
in front of the islands in front of the

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