Decisions Made and Ambitions Achieved
Al gets itchy feet and wanders back over the road for another stab at Wraysbury 1 and three of its inhabitants in particular
Al gets itchy feet and wanders back over the road for another stab at Wraysbury 1 and three of its inhabitants in particular
As may have been inferred from my last piece, several years ago myself and a handful of other RK Leisure bailiffs had been fortunate to be given permission to fish Wraysbury 2 prior to it reopening as a syndicate in 2017. For the previous two years I had angled on this wonderful venue and experienced some of my hardest and most enjoyable fishing to date, although during that time I had still not made the acquaintance of ‘that common’. And so it was eventually decided that 1st April would see the lake reopen as a syndicate. Throughout winter the long list of prospective members had been taken on walks round the lake and I found myself at times besieged with questions and messages from a number of people on social media. Before the season started I was appointed head bailiff of the lake and the opening weekend found me spending the majority of the first day carrying out safety checks and arranging boat disclaimers for new members, before finally settling into a very unfancied swim for the night. Although a long way from either of the areas I wanted to be in, I did manage to fluke a flawless, low 20lb stockie in the early hours, which was a nice welcome back before things then started going very wrong for me...
Although the lake itself is around 140 acres and a labyrinth of channels, bays and islands, it soon became apparent that the mobility and quality of the anglers who had joined meant there was some serious competition, seemingly shrinking the available water by half. The fact it had opened as a boat syndicate meant some swims in the main body of the lake could feel like a shipping channel some days due to numbers of people spending their days looking for fish. Unfortunately for me, this meant I was unable to get anywhere near the main parts of the lake where the fish were holed up before they spawned. I managed to accumulate 12 consecutive blank nights, which was as many as I had suffered in the previous two seasons combined. Due to the number of people able to fish midweek it was even proving fruitless to book leave from work to try and get into one of these areas, as they were well and truly stitched up. My head was now firmly wedged up my backside and I was suffering a bit of a hump about the fact that in my eyes, my private paradise had been invaded. As a result I literally hung the rods up for a few months and could not face going back out.
It sounds churlish when I read it back now but, having had the place almost to myself for two years, it felt as if unwelcome intruders had impinged on my little part of heaven. This is absolutely no reflection whatsoever on the lads on the syndicate who are a cracking bunch of likeminded guys. I couldn’t wish for a better group of lads on there really, but for me it had changed.
After a few months of hardly fishing however, the fires starting to feel like they were slowly being rekindled. Given the lack of desire to really want to give Wraysbury 2 another go, I felt a long overdue proper crack at Wraysbury 1 was in order. I say ‘proper crack’ as for three years I have fished the lake on a bailiffs’ rota of one weekend in every six or seven. As the lake was starting to quieten off in late summer, I had a chat with Jim Roberts who is the head bailiff on there, a good mate and all round top bloke, and discussed my rapidly forming plans about having a go for one or more of the big ’uns that resided in there.
When I first started fishing it several years earlier I had a mental list of five fish that I would have loved to catch from there. Namely, two of the Scottie stockies, Pawprint and No Name – Single Scale Illegal and the Long Sutton from the Sutton stocking and then any one of the big Redmire strain commons that were in the lake. By big I mean 35lb-plus. Despite not fishing it that regularly I have been fortunate to have already ticked three off the list so far, and only Pawprint and the Long Sutton were left – and most recently I’d landed a stunning, bronzed 39lb-plus common back in the spring on one of my rota weekends, the other two having been netted early on in my time there.
There was also one other desire in my mind and that was to try and catch a 40lb fish from both Wraysbury 1 and Wraysbury 2 – having landed the incredible Scaly from 2 the previous summer. So for me the die was cast, this was how I was going to spend my late summer and autumn–chasing Pawprint, The Long Sutton or any of the other 40lb-plus fish that swam in the lake.
My head was now firmly wedged up my backside and I was suffering a bit of a hump about the fact that in my eyes, my private paradise had been invaded
Being something of a fish statto, I had noticed that Pawprint in particular had a history of being caught the majority of the time in certain areas of the lake and mostly very close to a certain phase of the moon – which I hoped would narrow my chances significantly (if you can do such a thing in over 40 acres of water with a stock of over 400 fish). One can but try...
With this in mind my first session was planned to coincide with the end of the August bank holiday and I booked the Tuesday and Wednesday off work a few weeks beforehand to give me a few uninterrupted nights. I had wanted to book some time the previous week due to a favourable moon phase but was unable to, as my boss was on leave. As expected Pawprint was caught on one of those days and the stats had run true to form once again.
When I arrived at the lake for a three night stint it transpired it had been fishing very poorly and I could see immediately it had changed a lot in the weeks since I had last visited. It was stiflingly hot and weed was hitting the surface in many areas of the lake. I left the car park clutching a water butt and set off for a clockwise stroll around the lake to see what was what, almost immediately bumping into a fellow bailiff. Whilst stood chatting to Big Al in the Giants Footsteps, over one of his shoulders I could see a number of dark shadows cruising around just below the surface looking prime for a floater. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I was soon legging it back to the car for the floater gear and less than five minutes later was firing PVA bags of mixers into the areas where the fish were seen. Unfortunately, despite spending the next two hours trying as hard as I could, the only fish I could get feeding confidently enough to put a bait near were to the left of the swim – at such a range that if hooked they could easily have kited into the marginal snags. Due to the wind direction they were impossible to bring any closer. Given their proximity to the snags and the line angles involved, putting a hookbait to them was a distinct no-no so, with darkness rapidly approaching, I left them to their supper and trudged back to the car before loading the barrow.
For no other reason than it has been kind to me in the past, and because it commands a great view of the lake, I moved into the Stile for the night, dropped three rods onto some known spots and scattered some 18mm Pro Marine boilies over the area just as night fell. The hookbaits were all Stinky Squidz pop-ups, fished as usual on hinged soft rigs and lead clips. Due to the exceedingly low water levels I clipped some small backleads onto the line and slid them onto the clean gravel in the margins.
The first night passed uneventfully and I swung my legs out of bed shortly after the alarm went off. I made the first brew of the morning and sat on the step by the rods, watching the sun rise over the opposite bank, feeling its warmth work its way slowly down my torso and legs as it rose into the clear morning sky. It was only a few minutes before the first fish showed, then another and another so I was definitely on them for now. Most of them were showing a lot longer than the 65-70 yards I was fishing but, knowing how severe the weed was in that part of the lake, there was no way I was chancing placing a rig near them. I simply hoped they would move through the channels I was fishing into. Unfortunately, it proved not to be the case. As I chain drank tea and coffee throughout the early morning, bite-time slowly passed, the sun rose ever higher in the azure sky and as it did, so did the temperature.
Eventually around 11am I reeled the rods in, took the hookbaits off and placed the rods back in the rests. It was now bank holiday Monday
and the lake was very quiet with a number of the guys departing that morning – so it appeared that unusually, some stalking opportunities might be on the cards. The first stop was to be the area in the Giants Bay where I had failed the previous evening, but this time I intended to approach them from the opposite bank to see if I could lure them out of their haunts along the snags with some carefully applied floaters. It took over three hours, but eventually I had several fish taking freebies in two different areas and there were definitely a few groups of fish using very distinct patrol routes throughout the weedbeds in front of the two swims I had been flitting between.
What followed was a frustrating few hours. I won’t bore you with the details but it was one of those typical days when they would disappear, turn up next door, you would move only for the opposite thing to occur and so on. We’ve all been there! After they had done this for what must have been the tenth time I decided to be patient, stop following them and just wait, as surely they would return to the swim I was sat in and a chance would present itself. Fortunately, my home-made floater hookbaits last hours in the water (thanks for the tip and lesson in making them Uncle Jed). Around two hours later, after anchoring the controller against the edge of a weedbed I got a take. The fight was a fairly savage affair. Because of the weed present, you just couldn’t let them get a head of steam up, especially at relatively close range. I had to quickly bully it into the deep margins, hoping the small Mixa hook would hold. It did its job and a few minutes later I was carefully removing the little size 8 and holding a dark and scaly, probable mid twenty (I didn’t weigh it) up for the camera, as one of the syndicate lads kindly popped round to give me a hand with the pictures.
The above may all sound simple and straightforward enough in a few paragraphs, but it was the end result of almost eight hours graft and concentration in temperatures approaching 28ºc, with nothing to eat since my breakfast. Of course it was more than worth it.
Prior to setting off in the morning I had given a bucket full of baits a liberal coating of Pro Marine Slick Oil and the baits now had a lovely dark glaze and finish. My thinking was that as fish had been, and were still in the area, a nice slick coming off a big bed of bait might draw them down to feed if they passed over. I repositioned the rods and on dusk got busy with the stick, spreading almost 5kg of baits around the area before sitting down for a brew and some food whilst rubbing my sore elbow...
Despite having a few liners in the night I again I woke to my alarm clock just before sunrise and repeated the drill of the previous morning. This time, however, the routine was to be interrupted as I was having my third brew – the middle rod pulled up and was away. I generally always fish either locked up, or as good as, in heavy weed and even being sat next to the rods the fish had already dropped the lead and boiled on the surface by the time I lifted the rod. After a spirited fight, a large ball of weed and a high-backed mirror were scooped into the net and on first inspection I thought it may be a scraper twenty – so I popped it on the scales and weighed it in at 19lb and ounces. Having now had a take I repeated the drill late morning with another bucket of glugged bait and then grabbed the floater gear to tie up a few more hooklengths. As soon as bite time had passed I was again marching round the lake looking for opportunities on the top.
The temperature was even higher than the
previous day and as a result the fish were not nearly as active, preferring to spend the day sat in various, impenetrable weedbeds at range. It was not until my third lap that I found some fish that looked up for a munch and were able to be safely fished for.
I settled into some reeds and after a few hours observation I had got their patrol routes nailed – fish were pausing to feed almost every time they came through a certain channel. They would never stay long but would always pick a few baits off when coming through either side of an enormous weedbed. It was clear this was one of those times where less freebies would maybe do me a favour, as they literally picked off just two or three baits on each pass. With a number of baits still in the area it was time to take a punt and I fired a massive PVA bag out as high as I could to deliberately attract the gulls. True to form they quickly appeared and ravenously cleared all the remaining freebies up for me. For once they had done me a favour as I now had a blank canvas to work from.
I waited another half hour then started firing two freebies at a time into the channel... it worked a treat and by doing this I was able to get them returning to the same area each time they came through, nearly always picking a few baits up. This was all very hot, sweaty, time-consuming work but I felt like I could create a chance if I stayed patient. When it came it was frightening. Despite being sat only a few feet from the rod, there was an almighty explosion on the surface, the Interceptor disappeared and instantaneously the line whipped up tight. The rod was almost dragged in as line was being savagely stripped from the tight clutch at an impressive rate of knots. I leapt forwards, grabbed the butt, slowed the spool with my thumb as the fish made for the first weedbed and applied as much pressure as I dared. Alas it was too much. The line fell slack as the hook pulled and I felt that sickening cold feeling at the pit of my stomach as my heart thumped and adrenaline coursed through my veins. I cursed aloud but there was little else I could do as I reeled the lifeless line back onto the spool before examining the hook which was still pin sharp. It was just one of those things unfortunately, although it felt like it was most definitely undeserved after the amount of time and work that had been put into crafting out that one opportunity.
I soon returned, deflated to my pitch in the
Alas it was too much. The line fell slack as the hook pulled and I felt that sickening cold feeling at the pit of my stomach as my heart thumped and adrenaline coursed through my veins
Stile to repeat the previous evening’s endeavours. Unfortunately, during my absence an unexpected change of wind had led to some huge rafts of weed, anything up to six feet deep, drifting around the lake which had then got caught up in the existing and numerous subsurface beds, all-round the lake. To get to two of my spots I had to spend a few hours ‘raking’ channels through the weed using the spod rod and, eventually, had two, four feet high piles of weed either side of the rods which at least allowed me to cast out. I then rustled up my obligatory pasta for tea and again turning to abuse the kettle some more, before feeding the resident robins and getting my head down.
The following morning was almost a carbon copy of the last. I say almost, as the only discernible difference being when the take came, it came to the left-hand rod. Unfortunately, the fish also soon came adrift. During the night another floating raft of weed, about 20 feet in diameter, had settled over one of my lines. On the take, the line cut up straight into it and it was only a matter of time before the fish, which again was already on the surface some 40 yards further out, came off.
As such my first session ended. In one respect it had gone well, as four takes when the lake was not fishing well was a good result but, the losses had severely dampened my mood and, as the green gates closed behind me, I was already swearing vengeance and plotting my return in a few weeks time...
I should have known what to expect when a freak shower soaked me to the skin as I walked to the lake as quickly as I could. The car park was rammed with around 15 cars. My mood instantly darkened and turning the air blue again. I grabbed a water butt and set off round the lake. I paused for a brief chinwag with a few mates who were already set up, and also Andy who was bailiffing for the weekend. Ideally, I wanted to be in the Turfs, Runway, Springate’s or Rocky Barge swims – typically they all had little green mushrooms ensconced in them already. Once I had bored the lads with my tales of woe, I sulked into the Grassy Point for the night, for no other reason than it commanded a great view of the lake. From here, if they turned up almost anywhere, I would know about it. I did not feel at all confident and so spread the rods around the swim aiming to try and ambush anything moving between me and the island in front. I spread a few hundred Pro Marine freebies around with the stick and turned in early for the night. Not feeling confident at all I set my alarm for 1am and got my head down for a few hours shut-eye.
The reason for this early alarm call was that, over the years, I have noticed on many occasions the fish’s propensity for showing at night, especially towards autumn. It’s a little trick a good friend of mine, Secret Frank (sssshhhhhh), had used to good effect on some busy syndicate waters in the past. Listening to his wise words and sage counsel had paid dividends for me more than once on Wraysbury 1.
At a few minutes past 1am I made a brew and sat eagerly watching and listening to see if they betrayed their whereabouts. A huge moon hung in the sky, illuminating the swim, the full moon having passed a few days beforehand. That and the millpond-like surface of the lake meant if they were putting on a display they shouldn’t be hard to find. Knowing that a high percentage of recent bites had been coming in the daytime I took the remote and went for a stroll a few swims away. Standing on the track to the rear of the Runway, it soon became obvious they were still in the middle area of the lake where I had seen them that morning. Soon after I turned in expecting to wake to motionless bobbins.
I woke shortly before my alarm to the aforementioned stationary bobbins and set about the usual ritual of preparing the brew kit. Another very good and more than slightly clandestine mate and fellow bailiff, Secret
I should have known what to expect when a freak shower soaked me to the skin as I walked to the lake as quickly as I could. The car park was rammed with around 15 cars
Mike, was due down for tea and a wander at first light. He has form of being a wonderfully lucky omen for me in the past, so I hoped he would once more bring me some good fortune that morning. As we sat chewing the fat on brew number three (or was it four?), putting the world to rights and discussing the pointlessness of folding reel handles for the hundredth time, we watched on as piscatorial voyeurs, whilst the guys fishing the middle section all seemed to get a take or two. Shortly afterwards, through the binos, I spotted a single magpie land at the back of the Rocky Barge. This may seem insignificant but given that was where a bivvy had been located the previous day, this could have meant its resident had packed up... With Mike watching the rods I ran down the bank to confirm it was indeed empty and needed to do something quickly.
I thought it was unlikely anyone else would be moving at bite time so, after filling the kettle for my guest (we’re very well mannered), I picked up the water butt and set off to stake my claim to the Rocky Barge leaving Mike to make a fresh brew. I would like to say I athletically and gracefully sprinted round the lake to claim the swim but the reality was far from this. Upon wheezing and panting into the Bus Stop, around halfway, I found Andy playing a fish which devastatingly was to come off within a minute or so of my arrival. Being the bailiff on rota that weekend he had a Kubota buggy with him (which saves huge amounts of time when having to go out in the boat for weeded fish) and as he was having to sort one of his rods out I quickly procured it and hightailed it round to the Rocky to drop my water butt off. I sat there smiling, watching on as fish after fish showed at range, and in my mind rubbed my hands together with glee at my good fortune. Now the swim was secured I had an hour to move into it, so took my time packing down and moving round once Mike had departed, hoping his usual dose of good fortune would also offset the single magpie effect!
The rules of the lake state that you are only allowed off the fishery for a certain period of time without packing your gear away. That day, however, a number of anglers had been given permission to extend this across all the RK fisheries, due to the ceremony being conducted at Horton to commemorate the life of the legend that was Del Smith, who had sadly passed away. I never knew Del anywhere near as well as a lot of the lads on the complex, however, I had a lot of time for his dry wit and always listened intently to what he had to say. Although a quiet man, he was an absolute oracle of knowledge about the lakes on the Horton complex. The quality of the lakes there today are a fitting and lasting tribute to what was his life’s work and during his stewardship of the site, he ensured this legacy will endure for generations to come. The fish rearing program he instigated with the bailiff team on the complex has led to the birth of some amazing looking carp which will one day swim in the lakes there, and will grace many an anglers album in the future. The end of the ceremony saw the unveiling of a bench dedicated to him, which now overlooks his beloved Church Lake and his ashes were also interned at the lake as his final resting place. Shortly afterwards his daughter (who gave a very moving speech prior to the bench unveiling) and grandchild released two hand-picked carp from his rearing program into the lake, named Delboy and Rodney, which will no doubt grow on to become serious monsters of the future.
I returned to the lake mid-afternoon and set about getting the rods in position. The Rocky Barge these days is generally known as a swim to fish at reasonable distances and most of the lads can be found fishing to the end of the Island to the left, and some well fished spots at around 95 yards in line with the Runway.
I had a lead around off the end of the Island and although clean as a whistle, the size and density of the submerged weedbeds between me and the spot meant I wouldn’t be fishing it. In my opinion, I just couldn’t do so safely enough. I then put a lead out to the usual spot in the middle area and, as ever, the lead cracked down right where the fish were showing on both that and the previous morning. That was one rod sorted. It came back weed free all the way in on a slow retrieve so I deemed it safe to fish. The weed to the right was a lot denser and I had trouble finding an area both clean enough and safe enough to fish in. Eventually, after an hour or so, I moved the middle rod slightly left and fished them both to the same area where the fish had been showing. I then spombed about 2kg of slicked-up freebies over each rod knowing the fish had been very much on the munch in the area and would surely demolish these in no time when they returned (I was now feeling that confident).
After some deliberation, I consulted some email notes taken from a previous session in the swim and looked for another spot I had caught from before, but at much closer range. I decided to buck the trend with the final rod. This spot was
Unbelievably, it was 21 years since a young chap from Surrey, one Mr Terence Hearn, broke the UK record with Mary captured from this very swim
much deeper than the others, around the 18-20 feet mark. When you’re not used to fishing in deeper water like this you can think the lead has hit weed on its way through the water column then, after what seems like far too many seconds, it absolutely cracks down – bingo, it’s just what I was searching for! The rod was clipped up, and following another two casts, confirmed what the initial one had – and I soon had a rig on the spot.
The Rocky provides some great sunsets – that evening I sat with the camera on the tripod getting some great shots and reflecting on past events in the swim. Unbelievably, it was 21 years since a young chap from Surrey, one Mr Terence Hearn, broke the UK record with Mary captured from this very swim. That chapter from In Pursuit of The Largest remains one of my favourite passages in an angling book and vividly describes his ordeal as he battled severe weather conditions and the biggest carp in the land, from his small, stormtossed boat. If you haven’t read it, do so. Whilst today Wraysbury 1 is a very different lake, the history will always remain.
Once the sun dipped below the treeline, the obligatory, cacophonous murder of crows passed on the way to their nightly roosting spots and the bats started their twilight hunting. I got my head down early, anticipating some action as well as some occurrences from above the waterline (for those that don’t know there is a simple mathematical formula: bats + braid + Delkims = very little sleep).
True to form the winged critters had me up a few times, although both longer rods had received what seemed like a few genuine liners. Each time I tried to go back to sleep it was a little harder, as my hopes were raised with each incident. Just after first light and a tad bleary-eyed, I was lighting the stove as the carp started putting on a good show all over the middle section of the lake again.
They were literally all over the two long rods and I sat nervously waiting for the inevitable take – it just had to happen. Around half past seven another one of the bailiff team, Jobbie, popped by for a chat and a brew. The twinkle in his eye told me he was probably en route to bait some spots on the South Lake. As a fellow Gooner we were soon bemoaning our woeful start to the season (which seems to have continued in the same vein), interspersed with me ranting nonsensically about how I was about to get a take any minute, when the short rod surprisingly pulled up, pinged out of the clip and was away... Result.
Despite weeding me up on the way in, constant pressure soon saw it moving again and shortly afterwards we had the sprightly mirror in the net. On a first glace we thought he might scrape twenty but for the second session running I was out on my weights a little. Its high shoulders and width belied the lack of depth and we ‘guesstimated’ its weight around 18lb. Jobbie rattled a few shots off and it was quickly returned to the water to get on with eating more boilies and doubling in size.
Another Stinky Squid hookbait was soon despatched to the spot and a further 100 or so oily baits sticked out on top of it. Two hours later, like déjà vu, Andy stopped off for a chat on his way back to the car, having packed away early due to family commitments that day. As we stood chatting, mugs in hand, I had another take on the
recently recast rod. It’s always a cliché to say it but this felt different from the off. It was a classic, big fish take and fight, purposeful, slow, weighty and stayed deep almost the entire way in. About three rod lengths out it then went totally solid. My usual technique, if you can call it that, in this situation is to compress the rod to a full curve and then very slowly walk backwards under maximum tension. Over the years I have found this to be the best method for freeing weeded fish. After a few steps backwards and with the line singing in the breeze I felt movement, the brief kick of a fish and a dull weight on the end started inching slowly towards me. Repeating the process of walking backwards and then stepping forwards under pressure to gain line, a large weedbed eventually broke the surface and at this point we didn’t know if the fish was still on or not.
As it neared the bank we could make out the leadclip just above the front of the weedbed, which had to mean the fish was still on. As a result, Andy dipped the net as far as he could and I heaved the weedbed and, hopefully, fish over the chord. When the front of the weed hit the spreader block Andy quickly lifted the net (as much as you can around an enormous ball of weed) and confirmed there was definitely a fish in there somewhere!
I flicked the baitrunner on, put the rod on the rest and jumped down to the step Andy was on to give him a hand. When I say the weed was in the net, it was in it, over it, out of it and just about everywhere else. Due to the enormous weight we couldn’t even lift the chord above the water level. I lay on my belly tearing at the weed, throwing it to one side, behind me and all over poor Andy bless him. I soon revealed a tail, followed by a long body and eventually a broad set of shoulders. Andy was the first to say it – “F*cking hell that’s a big fish mate, and way over thirty!” I stood up and stepped back to take in the full length of it and thought it could only be one of two fish. I gently rolled the fish to the side to see a flank and confirmed to Andy I thought it was the Broken Lin which, on its last few captures, had been ounces either side of 40lb – so this would be interesting.
It’s a real dark, gnarly old-looking carp with wonderful scaling and proportions. Andy kept a watchful eye on the fish as I called Rupert to see if he was still at Horton to come and do some shots of the fish. Unfortunately, he was in Hertfordshire
I stood up and stepped back to take in the full length of it and thought it could only be one of two fish. I gently rolled the fish to the side to see a flank and confirmed to Andy I thought it was the Broken Lin which, on its last few captures, had been ounces either side of 40lb
looking after his daughter for the day, although he did sign off with “I’m coming if it’s over 40, so let me know.”
For those of you who don’t know him (although you probably follow him on Instagram: @clone_valley_carper), Ru is the guy who looks after RK Leisure’s social media pages and is an absolute wizard with a camera. He is a hugely talented photographer and now also editor of this wonderful mag. Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to become a good friend of his and as a result he has gone above and beyond his professional duties and taken some unbelievable shots for me and, hopefully, was about to again – if the scales were kind, and we could drag him round the M25.
I rang a mate, Joel, who was fishing next door, to let him know what we had in the net and he reeled in to come and see the weighing. We soon had the fish on the mat and it looked big. I knew whilst carrying it up the steps that this was going to be very close to 40lb. After unhooking it we treated the hook-hold, zeroed the sling and suspended the scales from a storm pole between Andy and Joel’s shoulders. I deliberately faced the dial away from me and then asked them to call it as they took the strain.
“40lb 10oz, mate” was Joel’s summation. Andy confirmed it and that was that – those simple few words meant I had caught my Wraysbury 1 40-pounder. I’m not much of a shouter (aside from when I had my first 40 which actually injured my throat for a week), so I gave it a fist pump, thanked the guys for their help and after slipping it into a retainer I hit redial on my phone...
The conversation went something like this:
“40lb 10oz mate”
“Bollocks, I’m on my way”
“Thanks Ru, you’re a legend”
“Sod off, I’ll see you in 45 minutes – oh, and well done!”
Bless him. Due to the vagaries of the M25 he arrived a little after 45 minutes with his daughter Lily in tow, by which time I had packed up. His good lady was at work so he was due to take Lily to the park for the day although I’m not sure this was what Michelle had in mind – but it seemed to fit the bill!
He took his usual awesome shots whilst Carl, one of the other syndicate members, rattled off some pictures on my camera as well.
Once the euphoria from this capture had subsided, I then had to decide what to do for the rest of the autumn and, with the chance of both the Long Sutton and Pawprint making one more appearance each before winter, I just had to carry on... so carry on I did.
I’m not much of a shouter (aside from when I had my first 40 which actually injured my throat for a week), so I gave it a fist pump, thanked the guys for their help and after slipping it into a retainer I hit redial on my phone...
ABOVE A 21lb welcome back present to Wraysbury 2
BELOWThe 39lb Redmire that had crowned another FEW MONTHS BAILIFFING on Wraysbury 1
BELOW A scaly 20-something caught off the surface
RIGHT The chunky, not quite 20-pounder
The friendly and entertaining robins in the stiler TOP LEFT
Weed-raking – a back-breaking, thankless task BOTTOM LEFT
BELOW Looking out from the Grassy Point on Wraysbury 1
BELOWWraysbury 1’s Broken Lin – an ambition achieved