24 Hr Session on Peg 3 - The Bird Hut -Mon 1/9 - 2/9
Hindsight, as they say, is a wonderful thing! And no doubt, most of us have built up a list of life's regrets - things that we would have done differently, if given the chance all over again. Although, in the grand scheme of things, carp fishing is perhaps low on the scale of what really matters in life, I have to say that I would dearly love to have a second crack at the brief window of time (probably less than 30 secs in all) that presented itself at 11.20 pm yesterday evening. You see, I blew it big time, and lost what felt like the most powerful carp I have ever had on the end of a rod and line. I'll go into the gory details later, but first I need to set the scene. Last week, extended delays at the Sutton Cum Lound railway crossing meant that I ended up in an unfavoured peg and caught only one carp, so this week I set my alarm clock even earlier, in a bid to get a decent peg. What could possibly go wrong? Well, dogs(who'd ave'em?) that's what could and did go wrong. We have two ageing Labradors, one (black) called Chloe and one (fox red) called Stanley. My plan (now that it's dark at 5.00 am) was to creep into the kitchen, have my cup of tea and Alpen and be away in minutes, without disturbing them. Now Stanley, bless him, is 14 years old and inclined to be a little on the incontinent side. The moment I opened the door, he decided that he needed the toilet and did his best to raise his arthritis ridden legs and cross the kitchen to the back door. The result was a meandering trail of urine from one side of his basket to the opposite wall. So out came the "bop and mucket" as we call it and the mess was dealt with. The inevitable disturbance had the effect of reminding the dynamic duo that breakfast was due, so beef in jelly was duly administered, before I made my final visit to the loo. When I emerged, I couldn't believe my eyes. Stanley had let rip once again and this time another river of urine meandered across the full length of the hallway. Out came the mop and bucket once again. Finally, I set off a good 10 minutes behind schedule. Oddly enough, there was no hold-up at the railway crossing, and I dropped into the Bird Hut peg, where the odd carp swirl was evident on the mill-pond flat, drizzle peppered, surface. Three rods were fanned out in their usual positions; LHS margin; 20 yds diagonally to the left; and the mouth of the opposite bay. And so, the long wait began. Nothing stirred until 3.00 pm when an 11 lb 8 oz Mirror (LHS @ 20 yds) slipped-up and slipped into my waiting net. After another long wait ensued, an 11 lb 6 oz Common (from the opposite bay) was landed at 10.10 pm without drama. And then at 11.20 pm the LHS margin rod suddenly burst into life. Even though the clutch was almost locked up, line was being stripped off at an alarming rate. I shot out of the bivvy, grasped the rod and cupped the spool to slow down its rate of rotation. By now the culprit would be dangerously close to the submerged branches on the opposite side of the channel behind peg 2. The carp, having briefly halted, now set off on a determined run towards the offending snags. The power of that carp was unbelievable - it felt more like a four legged animal on dry ground. My 3.5 lb TC rod at this point, was low to the water, at 90 degrees to the direction of pull and at full battle curve. My decision to hold on, in an attempt to prevent it from gaining sanctuary in sunken branches, turned out to be the wrong tactic. Something had to give and in the end, it was the 15 lb Berkeley Big Game line (a highly respected snag fishing line that is known for its strength), which parted like cotton. In hindsight, I should have let it run and hoped that I could tire it, or extricate it from wherever it chose to go, but I didn't and the consequences will haunt me for a long time to come. As if to rub salt into the wound, the same rod produced a 12 lb Common at 1.20 am. Even though it fought hard for a low double, it felt like nothing at all in comparison to the previous assailant. In the end then, I had to settle for 3 caught and 1 lost, but that brief traumatic encounter will be burned into my mind for the rest of my life. Hopefully, an opportunity to settle the account will one day present itself.