The Next Chapter.

My 13lb 09oz mirror.

Mike with his 19lb 05oz PB.

Looking out from the left hand point swim.

My new PB at 23lb 04oz.

Looking down the out of bounds margin.

17 February 2009

The Linear Experience - "The Next Chapter".

July 2008.

I have stopped enjoying my fishing I need to go back to try for monsters, another 48hrs at Linear is the only way to satisfy this hunger.
Firstly I have to convince Mike to make the journey with me, let’s be honest I can not take a photo of a thirty on my own. Surprisingly Mike is up for it but wants his own bivvy and camp bed. The misses is happy, so it’s off to Argos and Halford’s to fulfill Mike’s whishes, well in a fashion.
I make a mental note to myself not to forget anything; the list was too long last trip.
So the glorious day arrives and it’s off to SJ we go.
We make good time and although it is only our second trip to Linear we only need to look at the route finder once. Something tells me I will not need the route finder again.
On arrival it looks quieter than last trip but more stunning, it’s just magical. Our last peg is available, an option; but we park up and I tell Mike the great news that we are going to walk around SJ and Manor again. The look on Mike’s face says it all.
As I walk onto the no fishing area I look right and to my amazement I think the Point swim is vacant, a very quick walk and I was right, the one peg, if I could pick any, that I wanted to fish, and it’s free. I stand in the swim and send Mike back to the car for the rods, Mike does his usual thing and queries why, ARGGH!!! I can not argue with Mike I desperately want the swim, I run back to the car grab some kit, leg it back and sit there knowing that the swim was ours for the next 48hrs.
Slowly we get most of the kit to the swim; I make a mental note to myself that I have to get a carp barrow because sooner or later we are going to have to fish a peg a long way from the car park.
I lead around for the first time and to my surprise I start to understand some of what I have read about finding underwater features, even if it was just the 2 gravel bars between the weeds. The second bar was just about my comfortable casting range. The bay to my left and the margins opposite were relatively weed free. As simple conversation with the helpful bailiff and my margin spot would be just off the tree on the edge of the bay, one rod 20 yards to the right and the other 2 hopefully out on the gravel bars.
The margin tree spot would be Tiger Nut tipped with fake corn, this spot would be easy to bait up with a few free offerings by walking around the no fishing area, 2 rods would be out on KG-1 dumbbells tipped with fake corn, and the fourth would be chopped around with anything that was in the bait bag. The aim was to also bait with very small bags of pellet. Something I must improve in my fishing.
It was that time again around 7.30 all set up, Mike happy with his tent and bed chair, rods in the water a steaming mug of char, just sit back and take it all in. This just seems right, we just require that confidence boost of an early run, I remind Mike that the first run was his; secretly hoping that he would not here the alarms (I must beat myself with nettles for being such a wicked father).
It’s around 10.30 Mike has retired to his pit and I lie on my bed chair feeling very tired but knowing I will not sleep very well.
I am starting to receive early indications that there are fish in the area with bleeps and knocks on all the rods, I jump up occasional but no run is forthcoming.
The right hand side of the middle rods is receiving more liners than the rest and after a few consecutive bleeps I jump up and stand by the rod Mike stirs and looks out of his tent and watches rather than waiting for the run, I watch the indicator rise a couple of inches and then fall to the same spot, nothing else for a minute then a bleep and a very slow take the indicator hits the rod, one very slow turn of the spool and I strike for all I’m worth, wait for the solid resistance, yes fish on. I gingerly play the fish as always trying to gauge its weight, while Mike materializes from his pit and grabs the net, and jumps down on to the gravel. ( At this point I must remind myself that my son is only 11 years old, been woken from his slumber and does not do waking up very well, much like his mother and is doing his best to help) Neither of us has a head lamp on and Mike is carrying a very small torch, looking in vain for the first signs of this Carp in the darkness. As the fight progresses into what feels like abut 20 mins I glance at my watch 12.30, I also make a decision that this fish is not truly hooked as it is giving me the complete run around, I decided to give it some teddy and begrudgingly it comes to the net, in the gloom I catch sight of my quarry and urge Mike to stick the net under it, Mike is having difficulty seeing it and as I bring the fish to the draw cord the hook just pulls away and she slips back into the murky depths. A few choice words later and an unhappy son I set about repositioning the rod, make a cuppa of tea and sit back sulking, convincing myself the Carp was not a P.B., it was no good, losing any Linear Carp made me feel sick to my stomach. I eventually crawl back into my bivvy and had my usual disturbed first nights sleep.
First light and I rebait the rods and set about making breakfast. Mike wakes up fairly happy and glad food is on the way.
Through out the day I tried to teach Mike the different birds on the Lake, the boy just looks at me like I’m mad, we both drift in and out of sleep. Between 1 and 3 I receive 3 very erratic short runs which I try to connect with but to no avail. Mike is having fun catching Roach on maggots which were now beginning to hum a bit.
4ish arrived and we did the usual have a good tidy up sort the rods correctly and get ready for tea. All this time the wind is dropping and I am seeing increased signs of fish activity in my swim, my confidence is growing by the minute.
7.30 And my margin swim by the bush and tree is positively alive, surely we will catch tonight?
At about 8.30 I can not stay awake any longer slide onto my bed chair watching crashing Carp in my swim, Mike sits outside my bivvy as he does not want to retire quite yet. About 30 mins later Mike is in his tent, I am desperately trying to watch the swim but succumb to my need to sleep. BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP I awake with a start I have a one toner on the left hand rod. I strike, the rod arches and the fish runs right into the next line setting the other alarm off. Mike materializes and I try to knock the other rod off the alarm as it is now making a bit of a racket, I succeed in only knocking the rod down with the line still running through the alarm beeping away. I have brought the fish to within reach of the net but Mike is having great difficulty netting the fish, a knight in shinning armor materializes as the bloke from the next peg offers me a hand, for which I greatly except, after a bit of a struggle my prize is in the bottom of the net tangled up in the line from my other rod. Time for the big weigh and photo session after thanking the chap from the other peg, Mike and I set about our task, it’s a beautiful Mirror 19lb 7oz not a 20 but a fantastic result. I tell Mike to take the photos and again become a bit short with him as he tells me he cannot see to take the shot, in turn I yell just point and snap. It never dawns on me that neither of us is wearing a head torch to light up the area. (It’s a good job he loves his grumpy Dad).
Time to put her back HA! This is where the fun really begins. I step down onto the gravel carrying the fish in a sling wade out into the shallows which are surprisingly warm on my bare feet, ease her out of the sling and point her in the direction of the deeper water BANG! The carp turns left into the shallows and is now flapping around like a demented Salmon, on its side it continues along the gravel under the near side tree I jump and run around the tree to see the fish continue flapping along the shallows into the bay, I leap in land on my knees scoop up the fish and man handle it back into deeper water, it immediately goes very quite, I am on my hands and knees in smelly silt feeling rather embarrassed by what has happened, thinking the whole lake must have woke up and heard the commotion, I was wrong but the chap at the next peg fell about laughing when I told him the following morning.
As I have already said I was feeling a little embarrassed with myself, I changed clothes re-baited the rods put on the kettle sat back in my chair listening to the Carp still crashing out in front of me. I also arrange the torches ETC. Head lamp next to my bed along with a small torch and the big lamp put out by the pods to light up the swim. With the kettle boiled and a cup of coffee in hand I just start to switch off when the middle right hand rod tears off Mike does not appear I strike fish on, a calmer fight ensues I have my headlamp on the main lamp is on by the pods, I just have to keep the fish off the other lines, I have the net ready 10 mins later and the fish is in the bottom of the mesh, I’m feeling rather smug with myself as all has gone to plan. No Mike so I weigh and photo the fish myself, reposition the rod and slip back onto my bed chair, still the fish crash, still I receive indications on all rods, just as I start to doze the middle right hand rod is off, head torch on strike yes I’m in again. The chap from next door appears “do u have all the fish in the lake in front of you?” I laugh, and the chap offers his assistance once more as yet again Mike is in the land of nod. The fight feels different more of a plod pulling the rod around slowly rather than in fast runs, I start to imagine all sorts, the fish is on the surface and as I walk back next door slips the net under her, as he looks into the net I hear oo, “is that a good oo?” I hear myself asking. “What’s your PB?” came the reply “22-3” with my heart pounding I hear “I don’t think it is any more”.
Onto the mat a beautiful almost linear mirror glistens in the lamp light, into the sling after zeroing the scales 23-4 what a result, next door does the honors with the camera and I’m on cloud 9.
I sit in my chair bare foot, shorts and a tee shirt, 2.30 in the morning and my right hand rod is away, I strike yes solid resistance , no! Nothing it all goes slack. I reel in and inspect my rig the braid had cut through, a cat? Shingle? Swan Mussel? We will never know but for now I will believe it was a monster cat lol.
3.15 I’m in again everything goes smoothly with next peg giving a hand again. My 4th linear carp in 1 night, I must be sat on a bed of 4 leafed clovers.
Morning comes and Mike is up show him the pics make breakfast still believing more is to come.
I cast the left hand margin rod out it lands on a sixpence mm’s form the branches, I tell Mike to sit on my bed chair as I expect the rod to rattle off again while I talk to the chap next door(I must start remembering names). Some minuets later I hear my alarm go off I know it’s the left hand rod as it’s on the Micron alarm. I run round with line spilling from the reel calling Mike but he is fast asleep on my bed, I play the fish bringing it around all the rods to the right as it had stripped so much line, soon a 13-9 stockie was on the mat being photographed. Mike watched in disbelief.
In amongst my joy I start to feel dread, Deb will tear me off if I go back with 5 and Mike has none especially after our first trip when he blanked. I re-cast the rod and my luck is still in the bait lands in the same place as the last run. I put the kettle on knowing we are running out of time, but there is still movement in front of us, I hand Mike his tea and some biscuits, as he opens the biscuits the left hand rod screams off yet again, Mike looks at me and holds the biscuits up as to say what should I do with them, he get a loud quick reply throw em. Biscuits in the air Mike strikes and the rod arches over, he gives me that look of wow this is heavy, I bring in the others rod for fear of losing this one and now Mike is starting to feel tired, I keep him together talking him through the fight until I see the fish, that’s got to be 20 I think to myself, yet another wow comes from Mikes I go down on to the gravel with the net, my face does it again as 30 yards is stripped from the reel back up I go again to coach Mike again, back she comes and I wade out as far as I dare and slip the net under a stunning chestnut Mirror.
I bring the fish to the mat and Mike is shaking” look at the size of it” he cries, I zero the scales lift up the sling 19-10, a brand new PB by over 2 pound, out with the camera and a beaming smile later, we slip her back into the crystal waters.
We hung on until Midday still hoping for more (you do don’t you?” packed up and headed back for Gloucester tired but more than happy).
I will see you next season I think to myself I, still want that 30.

Nathan Graves.