Lee Hayes banks one of Linear's most wanted.
I started my trek down to linear fisheries early Monday morning with an open mind of what lake I wanted to fish, knowing that each lake was producing plenty of chunks and the complex was fishing really well.
The weather prior to my trip was perfect, it's always the same when you plan to do something it changes for the worst!
The travel down seemed to take forever & in fact it did, six hours in total due to traffic and the amount of surface water and rain that was coming down.
On the journey down I was thinking "only if I went last week"
On my arrival, I notice the wind was pumping down to the road bank on St. John's and there were two swims available so I got out of the car and bucketed a swim. I watched the water for a while and saw a number of fish showing straight in front of me at about 90 yards.
As I didn't want to go straight into a swim without having a lap of the lake first. Whilst walking around seeing signs in most available swims something was drawing me back to the first swim I looked at.
I knew fish were coming out in numbers at the other end of the lake but sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct.
So wasting no time at all I went back to the car and loaded the Transit barrow and off I went to the swim. On arrival I quickly checked the forecast for the next 48 hours and it was fairly settled, just wet, very wet!
I usually like to get the rods out first but on this occasion I set the Bivvy up trying to keep majority of my gear dry. As I was setting up I was keeping a close eye on the water to see if the fish were still in front of me. To my delight they were, putting a show on, showing me exactly where to put the rigs. I didn't want to make too much of a disturbance so I put a lead on my marker rod and had a lead about.
After finding a nice soft clear spot on the back of a large weed bed close to where the fish were showing, I clipped up.
Putting the line around my marker sticks, I was at 24.5 wraps so bang on the money, well I hoped.
I wrapped all three rods up at the same distance as I wanted to fish them tight on the same spot. Some may say your putting all your eggs in the same basket but it works for me. Not only this with it being a very busy day ticket water, you don't always have a lot of water.
I prepared a spod mix prior to my session that consisted of hemp, f1 corn and 12m code red boilies. I wasn't going to spod out straight away I wanted to try and get a quick bite, but I did want it ready to go as and when I needed it.
I baited all three rods using the new Sonubaits original pop ups.
My chosen rig on this occasion was a size 4crv attached to a swivel then my boom section was 20lb outline leader, this is my preferred rig when fishing pop ups. I casted all three rods out on singles and gave them a few hours.
Nothing materialised so I decided to wind in and put some bait out, I didn't want to put too much in so I decided to put 20 medium sized Spombs out, then rebated the rigs and cast back out. All three rods went on the spot perfectly first time and I could finally sit back and watch the water.
The conditions were good with the wind was still pumping straight into me. By this time the fish had stopped showing themselves and a moment of doubt crossed my mind. Had I made the right decision? The hours pasted by and the light was beginning to fade, when the middle rod melted off which resulted in an upper double common.
I was glad to get off the mark with this one!
As I put the rod back out I also put a few more Spombs over the top and a short while later, the left rod screamed off only to lift into fresh air! As the night went on with no more action, I was woken by a few beeps just on first light, then came a one toner!
I lifted into it and at first it didn't do much, just plodded about. With a burst of power, it tore off and the fish had weeded me up! It was absolutely solid, but after a few minutes of keeping steady pressure on the line, it broke free the battle commenced! As it got closer, I could tell it was a big fish my adrenaline started to pump.
It seemed to take forever before it was ready to be netted and as the fish rolled over the cord of the net it was then I realised just how big it was!
Whilst I got everything ready to weigh the fish making sure the scales were spot on, I pulled the net from the water and slipped the sling underneath my biggest Linear fish ever, I thought this could easily be my new UK personal best.
As I lifted the scales, the needle went round and finally settled on 41LB 2OZ!!! A moment of joy and pandemonium!!! What a buzz!!! I couldn't put into words what I was thinking!!!
I got straight on the phone to Ant at Avid and woke him up!
I didn't care what time of day/night. I text Ian Russell and he was already on his way! Thankfully he came and did the photos for me and a little video.
What a moment! This is why we do what we do.
The rest of the day didn't matter, I’d caught my first UK 40 and what a beauty it was!
A fish known as Two-Tone. Ian Roper, the head Bailiff tells me it doesn’t come out very often and it’s always great to see such a pretty fish come out looking supper healthy!