PB'S Weedbeds and Boating

With Liam Close at Little Irchester

Finally arriving at the gates of Little Irchester came as a relief after another long drive from my Shropshire home.The conditions I was greeted with were far from ideal, with North Easterly winds and high pressure forecast for the next couple of days.Undeterred I made my way over to the lake.

I bumped into the bailiff who informed me that very little had been caught since my last visit. After we finished chatting I went for a couple of laps of the lake to see if any fish were showing.

I fancied a peg known as 'no point' as it had received little pressure and commands a good view of the water. With nothing else to go on it was as good a place as any to begin.

I went back and fetched the gear from the car and began to make my way to the swim, halfway between 'no point' and the car park.

I stopped to catch my breath and as I stood watching the lake I saw a carp slowly head and shoulder. The gear was quickly retreived from 'no point' and I began to set up my stall in 'second point'. The left hand rod was smacked out to exactly where the carp had shown two thirds across to the far bank.

I was just thinking about where to put the second rod when a fish leapt and crashed clean out of the lake about 30 yards out and closer to the bank. I quickly cast the rod first time just beyond and drew it back onto the spot I could feel the lead smoothly donk onto the lake bed.

Then out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of rows of scales in the sunlight gleaming back at me as they surged past, it was a huge common swimming past the boat.

Both of the rods were baited with 'Retro Baits Meaty Garlic' boilies fished snowman style with a five bait stringers. After this around hundred freebies were spread around both rods.

The third rod was baited with pva bag which I cast to a bistorts bed around 50 yards out, a bit of a 'chuck n hope' rod with the other two rods on the money I was fairly confident.

The cool night past uneventfully as did the morning, all was still, leaving my previous night confidence a distant memory. The sun rising above the lake and the new day brought with it milder air and a stronger North Easterly than before.

At around 11.30am the middle rod let out a couple of bleeps which I put down to maybe liners. It got to 12pm and I was just thinking maybe bite time when suddenly the same rod leapt into action. As soon as I struck I was forced to give line, yard after yard was taken off the tight clutch, there was no stopping whatever was on.

All of a sudden the fish just stopped and everything went solid, I feared the worst as I couldnt feel anything. So I put the rod back onto the rest and slackened off the clutch and went to get the boat. This was a good 150 yards away so as quick as I could I got the boat back into my swim and on returning I heard a few bleeps which I hoped meant it was still on.

Fish safety was paramount on my mind, but also mine so before venturing out onto the lake I donned a life jacket just in case. Launching the boat into the cold water I made my way out into the lake rod in hand and slowly and carefully winching the line in towards where the fish had stopped.

On approaching the area I could see the line entering a thick weed bed, I placed the rod next to me on the boat and began to hand line, then back onto the rod to take up the slack, this seemed to go on forever in a small boat a 12ft rod, weed and cold water up to the elbows doesnt help.

Through the gloom I could see the rig section starting to appear and knocks and small tugs on the line told me something was following it. I felt another two harder knocks on the line but still no sign of what it was.

Suddenly it was free and a huge surge of water told me that whatever it was wasnt very happy. It was now free and I was back on the rod and in direct contact with the fish as it came up through the layers. Then out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of rows of scales in the sunlight gleaming back at me as they surged past, it was a huge common swimming past the boat.

It went on a powerful run after its rest with line screaming off the clutch. The front of the boat began to slowly turn with the pressure and moved as the fish towed me out into the lake. The rod tip arched against the sky and the line sang in the strong winds, inch by inch the line was contested, with me still in tow.

After what seemed an eternity I stumbled for the net handle and the rod nodded downwards again, but its energy spent, I glided its bulk into the gaping net.

The buzz and relief of catching such an awesome fish after such a struggle was immense. When it lay safely on the mat it was identified as 'Blind Eye' and weighed in at a new PB of 43lb 12oz, after which it was photographed and respectfully slid back once fully recovered, what a buzz.