freeline-29 - Page 171

Road Lake Remembered
Eventually with the help of another
member we bundled the fish into the
net and I eagerly peered into the net
to have a look at my first Road Lake
carp. It was a low twenty common,
with a patch of scales missing of both
sides. We weighed her in at 20lb 14oz
and rattled off a few snaps before
returning her. I later found out that
the fish, aptly named Bare Patch, was
one of the originals that evaded the
netting back in the 80s. I always find
the first fish from any venue special,
but for it to be one of the few originals
made it even more special.
My fishing time after starting my
new job was cut drastically and I was
left with just the odd weekend here
and there. I didn’t fish for a couple
weeks after the capture of Bare Patch
and it wasn’t until mid August that I
managed a few nights here and there.
I felt a bit out of touch with the lake
and found it hard going. I did manage
to get on fish a few times but couldn’t
get a pick up. I had them fizzing over
my hookbaits but they seemed to be
getting away with it every time. During my time away from the lake, I had
a bit of rethink about rigs and baits.
Early that year whilst in France, I had
been shown a presentation that I was
sure would help tip the balance in my
favour. It was a very short rig of about
4 inches of mono with a maize hookbait. The clever bit was that the rig is
dropped in a 35mm film case and
then hemp is frozen around it. Once
cast out and left to defrost, it leaves a
small pile of hemp with a maize hookbait sitting on top. I decided to use
tigers as the hookbait and use my
own combi rig, as I like the added
suppleness of the braid. I tied a few
up at home and it really did look the
part, so the next session I went armed
with six rigs frozen in the little hemp
It was a Friday night and the first
time I had done the journey from my
new work place in Cambridge. I got
lost on the way and then got stuck on
the M25 in the Friday night rush hour.
I eventually got to the lake around
seven o’clock and there were only
four people on. I had a quick scout
about and ended up settling up for
the Reeds. I hadn’t seen anything but
this swim would give me a good view
of the lake with a view to moving if I
saw anything in the night or morning.
I had few casts to where I knew a
couple of clear spots were, found both
first cast, and I soon had two hemp
sticks dispatched to the area. I then
sat back to unwind from the stressful
journey with a few beers and a curry.
I was shattered from a tough week at
work and turned in early about ten
At midnight I was woken up by a
take on the left hand rod, and I scrambled out of bed and down to the rods.
The fish hadn’t taken much line, and
as I picked up the rod it was kiting to
the left on a tight line. It was very
weedy between me and where I had
hooked the fish with a large strip of
weed about ten yards out that
r e a c h e d t h e s u r f a c e. A l l w e n t
smoothly until the fish hit the wall of
weed and it all ground to a halt. I kept
the pressure on and ever so slowly
the tip inched back. I kept it all moving and in the gloom I could see a
weedbed the size a brolly coming into
view. I sunk the net and pulled the
weedbed over it – there was no way I
could lift the net up, as the weedbed
was so large. I dropped the rod, and
holding the leadcore, started to rip the
weed away, I saw a tail of a fish
appear and then all hell broke loose.
Before I could react the fish powered
off and the hook link snapped leaving
me holding the leadcore. I picked up
the rod, threw it into the bushes and
sat on the bedchair; I was fuming.
After a couple of minutes I calmed
down, by which time I had noticed
View from the Reeds after the capture
of the Scattered.
m y n e t w a s s t i l l i n t h e w a t e r. I
removed the last of the weed and
lifted the arms, only to find the fish
had dived straight in the net when
the hooklink had snapped – what a
result! I rolled a sizeable mirror over
in the net to get a look at which one it
was. I had really struck gold; it was a
stunning linear with apple slice
scales. I quickly recognised it as the
Scattered Linear, one of lake’s real
prizes and a rare visitor to the bank. I
went to get Tony, who was fishing
just down the bank to help with the
weighing and photographing. Once
on the mat I was blown away by the
fish; it was a real corker and up on the
scales she went 36lb 8oz. I returned
the fish in the margins and made a
brew. There was no way I was going
to be able to sleep for a while; I was
buzzing! The rest of the session
passed with no more action but I was
well pleased with the way the new
presentation had worked. The only
problem was keeping the hemp sticks
frozen, as by Saturday morning they
were all defrosted. I had another think
and the answer came when I was at
work in the form of dry ice. With a
small box of dry ice, I discovered that
not only could I keep the hemp sticks
frozen until Sunday but I could also
freeze new ones on the bank in a cou-

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