freeline-30 - Page 175

Common Assault
She glowed in the early morning sun – 31lb 4oz.
branches, I could see just how big it
was, and it was big – no doubt. It then
struck me as to which fish I was looking at. There were two scales that I
could see – it was one of the most
sought after, elusive and without
doubt, clever fish in the lake, which
went by the name of Martin’s Fish.
This fish had, as far as we know, only
ever been caught twice before, firstly
by Martin (hence the name) one of the
bailiffs a few years back at 37lb 12oz
(I think that’s the right weight) and
secondly by me at a mind blowing
40lb 4oz, and it looked all of that just
sat motionless in front of me. It was so
close I could have bent down and
touched it. It was one impressive
looking beast in the crystal clear
water. I stayed and watched it for a
good half hour before it slowly but
gracefully glided away out towards
the island.
Back at home, I got everything
ready for an early morning start, and
before I knew it, the alarm was going
off and I was soon lakeward bound. I
was one nervous angler, as I loaded
up the barrow and could barely look
as the Secret came into view from the
other side of the lake. Thankfully, no
one was in residence, and I pushed
the gear round in double quick time
to stake my pitch. By now, I’d got the
routine for the swim well sorted, and
although it was a tight fit, it wasn’t
long before all the tackle was back in
place, three baited rigs were chucked
out in the pond, and I really couldn’t
have been more confident. The main
reason for this was the weather, as
compared with what we’d had to put
up with so far, this was almost tropical, but I still had the old thermals
tucked away in the bottom of the
rucksack just in case. It really did
make the world of difference sitting
there without several layers of clothes
on and lapping up a few warm rays of
sunshine for once. I spent the next
hour tying up spare rigs hoping they
would be needed at some stage
throughout the session. One of the
other anglers present came around for
a natter before departing for home
and told me that although he’d seen
plenty, nothing had been out.
As the morning drifted by, several
fish had betrayed their presence, and
come mid-afternoon, I saw one throw
itself clean out of the water not a million miles away from my middle rod.
Within a couple of minutes, I watched
the line on the middle rod very, very
slowly start to tighten up, and before
the bobbin had a chance to move or
the buzzer bleep, I grabbed the rod
and swept it back over my right
shoulder into the satisfying curve of a
fish on. For once the fish kept well
down in the water, and I was sure that
for some reason the lead was still
attached. Then all of a sudden, the
line went slack and I thought that the
fish had shed the hook and dropped
off, but I wasn’t sure. I reeled like mad
to get the slack line back on the spool
and was delighted when it tightened
back up. The fish had obviously
swum straight towards me at a rate of
knots but was still well and truly on.
When the fish broke the surface, a
dozen or so yards out, I could clearly
see the lead had come off and my
hookbait dangling out of the fish’s
mouth. After a few more spirited
lunges, the fish was beaten and safely
scooped up in the net. The hookhold
again was superb and needed removing with the forceps. While doing this,
I could see the fish still had a full curtain in its mouth and there was no
evidence of any previous hookholds.
In fact, the more I looked at the fish,
the more stunning it looked – perfect
in every way and built like a breeze

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