freeline-29 - Page 160



Magical Captures
bait patch, they’d have to move at
least a foot to the next pile, giving the
4oz lead and 7in hooklink enough
room to bury the hook.
I went to bed that evening dreaming of the Pineapple – that’s what this
lake had done to me!! It should have
been Heather or Arfur, but I was so
desperate to catch, a snub-nosed 17pounder was my target.
Despite having two backleads on, I
still had a few little liners on the left
hand margin rod in the night, and on
checking the spot at 9am, I could see
all the bait had gone except for a few
pellets around my rig! I’d been done
up like a kipper, but it had given me
the kick up the arse for revenge, and
so after a quick café breakfast I was
back, eager to lay the perfect trap.
With my little bag of pellets tied
around the hookbait and a AAA shot
halfway down the braided hooklink, I
waded under the bough to survey the
scene. I felt the best place for the rig
was where the biggest patch of bait
had been the previous night, and
hopefully they’d revisit and mop up
my hookbait. With the water clear and
the light levels much better than the
previous evening, I was able to examine the lakebed much better, and on
the edge of where I’d wanted to lower
my rig was a concrete block wedged
in the bottom with a raised edge of
about an inch.
I knew the Car Park mirrors like to
flank the bottom when feeding, and I
wondered if this was what had given
me the liners the night before, picking
up the leadcore with their fins. I
therefore lowered my rig about 6in
from the corner of the block, and still
holding the leadcore until the bag
started to melt and sunk to the bottom, I then bounced the lead back to
the block, thus partially straightening
out the braided hooklink. With the
lead in position, I could lay the leadcore tight down the edge of the raised
block, thus not allowing them to get
their fins under it and hiding it from
their attention.
Just as I was about to let go of the
leadcore, I noticed it hung up on a
thin root that stuck out of the bottom.
I just tweaked it to the side and it fell
in underneath and flush to the bottom. Phew! That could have seriously
jeopardised my chances! With a small
backlead clipped on a few feet back
and another one at the bottom of the
shelf, my trap was as perfect as I
78 FREE LINE
Waiting Man’s.
could set. Now I just had to wait and
see if last night’s culprit returned for
seconds.
Before the light faded too much, I
checked the spot and it was all intact,
so it looked like the pellet thief was
sneaking in under cover of darkness.
The breeze died off after darkness
descended. The moon was bright but
with some cloud cover, and it was a
mild night for the end of October.
With the first frosts likely not to be too
far away, I needed to catch before the
winter set in, even if was only the
Pineapple.
At 4.20am the carefully positioned
trap was set off and all hell broke
loose as my setup twisted, such was
the ferocity of the take. I leapt on the
rod as the reel jammed up against the
alarm and hung on as if my life
depended on it as it lunged on the
end. Fortunately the size 5 T6 hook
held in firm, and as soon as I turned
his head it let me lead it straight back
up the margin. It bobbed up at the
end of the platform, forcing me to
backwind a couple of turns so it wasn’t on too short a line. I chucked the
net in and it slowly plodded out a few
yards and wallowed just below the
surface, sending ripples across the
millpond surface.
As the tip nodded as the hooked
fish moved its head, I gently coaxed it
back towards the net, and as I held
my breath, I had an overwhelming
sense of joy and relief as I lifted the
net arms around it. I pulled the net
into the end of the platform, and
assuming it was the Pineapple, I
grabbed my head torch and knelt on
the end of the board. I flicked it on to
see not a fully scaled double but a
sparsely scaled forty pounder beaten
in the folds of my net. My heart was
racing as I rolled it onto its side, and
the majestic looking Chunky was my
extremely hard earned and overdue
reward.
A year and 18 days after capturing
Bazil meant I’d saved up a lot of my
lung power, and with all my frustration released I bellowed “CHUNKY”
out across the lake, scattering dozens
of birds that were roosting out on the
bar and sending the geese into a
noisy gabble. I staked the net at the
end of the board and ran round to get
Spike who was in the Snags. Not only
had I got off the mark, but with one of
the real gems of the Car Park and
almost certainly my second forty
pounder.
Spike gave me a hand to unhook
and weigh Chunky, and at 42lb 6oz he
was once again in perfect condition.
Laying him quietly in the margin we
waited till daylight, and I quickly
legged it round to inform everyone of
my success. Mad Martyn was in the
Gate, and he said he knew something
had happened, as he’d woken up in
the night and thought he was still
dreaming as loads of bird were
squawking and all flying towards
him!
With the crew all assembled, we
lifted Chunky onto the mat and carried him the short distance to the
Works Bank to have some decent
light for the photos. With ‘goalkeepers’ either side, I lifted Chunky up and
extremely proudly held him out to the
clicking cameras assembled in front
of me.
With adrenalin pumping, I managed to hold him despite aching mus-





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