GET HOOKED by Cotswold angler Jon Berry
MY SUMMER holiday fishing has come to an end for another year. I fished less than was once usual for me, but did manage to cast a line every week.
Some of these were overnight trips, others just a hasty morning or evening fitted around other commitments, and all but one of them were here in the Cotswolds.
I enjoyed every one of them, and have long got past the notion that I have to catch a net full of fish to have a good day, but there’s no doubt that it will be the last triumphant cast of the summer that shall live longest in the memory.
It came at the end of a frustrating night at my syndicate lake. As I’ve said here before, it is a tricky place to catch a carp, and some members have gone an entire season without doing so. One unfortunate soul went two years before hooking his first – and it then fell off.
My efforts since June had amounted to nothing and by last week, the compensation offered by the scenery and wildlife had palled slightly – I really wanted to catch one of the carp.
When the first run of the season came, early on Wednesday evening, delight quickly turned to despair as the fish came adrift, diving round a lily stem and ejecting the barbless hook. I made camp and fished on, irritated but undeterred, and at 4am on Thursday morning a second run materialised. But my strike, bleary-eyed but ready, met with nothing. I’d bungled it.
The language that accompanied that second near-miss was more befitting of a Tarantino movie than a quiet Gloucestershire idyll, and I’m glad it was only the owls and the deer that heard me.
When the third chance came at 10am, I had already packed most of my gear away. The tell-tale bubbles of a feeding carp appeared in the margins, where I had placed handfuls of hemp, maize and pellets 16 hours earlier. I flicked a free-lined bait in, and the take came almost instantly.
The carp wasn’t huge – I’ve had larger – but it was one of the original fish, the old Leney strain that I have eulogised previously in this column, and at a few ounces over 24lb was big enough for me. I walked back to the car, and away from summer, and felt just a hint of autumn in the air.
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