freeline-29 - Page 47



Nirvana Lost And Found Exclusive
I
t ’s i m p o s s i b l e t o t r y a n d
encapsulate in words just
what a special time I enjoyed
during my three years on
what I truly believe will one
day rightfully be considered
one of the greatest UK history carp
waters ever. Since moving onto pastures new from 1st June 2019, it’s
been like going through an ugly and
bitter separation from a loved one.
You know that it’s for the best when
you decide move on, but at the same
time you love what you have. I have
literally grieved, which sounds mental, but for me, it really was that special, and for so many reasons too. I
know Wellington Country Park (Welly
for short) is not everyone’s cup of tea,
a bit of a Marmite water. Luckily, we
are all different, but I can honestly say
with my hand on my heart that as a
member, I personally never saw anything not to love…
My deep-rooted affinity for Welly all
stems back to growing up, and specifically going camping with The Royal
Berkshire Caravan and Camping Club
with my parents and my two younger
sisters in my pre-teen years. Long
summer school holidays pitched up in
the deer park in the Duke’s estate,
with many hours spent wandering
the site after closing time. I guess that
everyone has a ‘happy place’ in life,
and Welly has always been mine.
Camping there as a young boy was
ace. I think one of the main reasons
was the fact that we were locked
inside the park after closing time, and
it felt like being one of the privileged
few to be able to play in the park
without hordes of other kids to compete with. It was our private country
playground.
Back then the lake was also used as
a boating lake, resplendent with a
large wooden boathouse, which used
to be situated where the current syndicate angler’s lodge is. This is where
you could hire a long wooden rowing
boat and oars for long periods. When
out on the water, I remember my dad
rowing from one side to the other and
being just being fascinated with peering over the side of the boat to see
what I could spot down below in the
mysterious depths. Back then the
lake was lined with the mature trees
like it is now. The banks were also
more natural, without the firm paths
that have circumnavigated the lake
since then, but clearly the outline
Nine years old in 1983 – in a swim now called Sluices.
shape and walk around has hardly
changed apart from growing in maturity and the fishing pegs being more
defined as the banksides have
matured. Welly is where my dad also
first introduced me to angling, by float
fishing for roach at dusk. I vividly
remember walking back to our caravan after dark, with that infused roach
slime smell all over my hands and
clothes – a very evocative scent
indeed.
It was always the plan to return one
day to fish, but only when everything
felt right to do so. My appetite to fish
there genuinely had nothing to do
with the immense fish sizes; it was
purely driven by the desire to go back
to where fishing all began for me as a
small boy. So, when in 2009 I received
the offer of a syndicate ticket, it was
an incredibly tough decision to
decline the opportunity to fish there
at that time. The sole reason for
declining, was that our eldest son,
Ellis, was due to arrive in early 2011,
and my life priorities had to be
focused at home.
I elected to remain on the waiting
list, but typically during the subsequent years the popularity of the syndicate grew, and few if any members
were dropping their tickets. Then,
going into the 2015/16 season, I knew
that I was second on the waiting list
and not one person dropped a ticket!
I was so close…
After another 12 months had
passed, I was finally given another
opportunity to fish at Welly when I
received a phone call from the resident groundskeeper and head bailiff,
inviting me over for an informal meeting. After an hour talking, I was
offered a ticket. The emotion I felt
walking back to the car was indescribable. That day we had a family
BBQ with close friends, and I spent
most of that day and evening just
shaking my head in pure overjoyed
disbelief. I was going back to fish my
happy place! OMG.
Finally, on 17th June 2016, the waiting was over, and my first session
back at Welly had arrived. That first 48
hours passed with no carp, but I
fished four different pegs to start off,
getting a rapid feel for different areas
of the lake. This is generally my
approach with any new water – purposely staying mobile, meeting syndicate members and learning along the
way. I will always remember fondly
the friendly and informative walk
around the lake with a now sadly
departed syndicate member, John
Patterson. After a firm handshake
when I first met John, he then invited
me for a walk around the lake, providing me a swim-to-swim insight of his
hard-earned knowledge. Within ten
months, I felt I had validated some of
this helpful information myself.
Although I had fully digested and
believed everything I had been told at
the time, it’s still important to match
information offered to day-to-day
experiences. Big Jon was a true genBig Carp 45





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