The alarm went off at 03.10 hrs, Bev questioning my sanity, as I slipped out of bed. "Tight lines" being her well rehearsed parting shot. Everything was already loaded in the van, just my camera bag needed before I departed into the darkness. Despite the dry forecast, it was drizzling and I was expecting to get wet as I hadn't packed any waterproof gear. Happily, as it turned out, the rain ceased by the time I arrived at my parking spot, so I managed to push the barrow across to my chosen swim without any issues. For some reason I'd chucked my chest waders onto the barrow, with the intention of clearing a few reed stems and the odd lily leaf, I guess? I was at the drain by 04.35 hrs, my baited hook in position within twenty minutes. It was a typical flatland's dawn with the sun appearing in a gap in the clouds which masked the horizon away across the English Channel.
I've already mentioned that I'm using worms as bait, in the hope of catching my target fish, but still wasn't best pleased when the bite alarm sounded and I found myself attached to yet another eel! I'd only been fishing for twenty minutes and had to sort out this snotty mess. I got it back in the water, no photos, wondering why I'd bothered getting up at silly o'clock. Another baited rig back in position, I was serenaded by three, possibly four, Greenshanks flying above the marsh but, if I'm honest, even the birds were all very predictable. It was 06.05 hrs when everything changed. The alarm screamed as the bobbin smashed against the rod and I found myself battling a fish which had no intention of visiting the bank. Fortunately, as I have alluded to in my previous posts, my gear is set up for just these scenarios and the 50 lbs b.s. braided mainline scythed through many lily stems as my unseen adversary careered along the drain. Eventually we reached stale-mate, the fish was weeded about 30 m away and, despite walking along the bank to get a different angle, nothing was moving. Swirls on the surface indicated that the fish was still attached so, opening the bale arm of the reel, I left the rod and ran back to my swim in order to get the waders on. What a bloody fiasco? Eventually I returned to the rod, waders on and landing net in hand. I waded straight into the drain, finding myself up to my chest within two steps from the reeds. I wound down and quickly established that the fish was still attached at which point it powered out of the weedy snag and dived headlong into another lily pad. This time, however, I was better positioned to counter the ruse. With the Duncan Kay bent to the handle, the fish came grudgingly towards my landing net, but it wasn't ever going to be simple. Oh no, the net was resting on lily leaves and the fish swam straight underneath it! Bollocks!!!! Next time, and due to weed on the line now covering the fish's head, I finally managed to draw my prize over the net chord.
What a fish, what a huge adrenaline buzz. My prize being a stunning "wild" Common Carp weighing in at 22 lbs 3 oz. An absolute breeze block, of a character, with all the magnificence of true flatland royalty. Mahogany bronze, complete with real attitude and stunning surroundings, it is occasions like these when I realize exactly why the 03.10 hrs alarm call is worth the effort. I'd packed up by 08.15 hrs, with the self takes done, I was indoors before 09.45 hrs. Buzzing? You'd better believe it.