I was back down the lake midweek for a quick night, arriving just before 7pm. The nights were now starting to draw in so I only had about an hour of daylight left. Based on experience I knew that the last hour of light was best used in locating fish rather than rushing to set up before dark. I was so well drilled on my overnighters, that setting up in the dark was not an issue and I was full of confidence when it came to finding spots and positioning rigs.
I managed to find a few fish showing subtly in an area so pushed my gear into the swim just on dark. I had fished the swim a few weeks ago so had spots marked up in my book. I clipped up to the marks and had a couple of quick casts to make sure the spots were still clean, clipped on my rigs and cast out. Three spombs of bait went over each rod (hemp and Cell) and I settled back for a brew. Dinner had been consumed at home before I left so I was very soon in the bag to get some sleep, hoping that I would be disturbed in the night.
I had received a couple of liners at some point, but the next thing I knew was that the right hand rod was away with a very fast take. I was on it in a flash (well I thought it was pretty quick for an old un) and brought the fish to a halt. Once under control, the fish didn’t feel to have any weight to it and came in fairly quickly. Once in the margin it set about on numerous fast runs, all typical of an upper double or low 20. I was convinced it was a small fish but remained patient and after about 15 minutes of battling, the fish finally submitted and went into the waiting net. I had a quick glance in the net and thought it was probably a mid 20.
I went through the usual routine of setting up the camera, firing off a few test shots to be confident that the framing was right, and getting the scales and sling sorted so that everything was at hand for when the fish was brought to the mat. I went back to the margins to fetch the fish with my head torch on this time. I looked at the fish and immediately thought that I should book the eye test that I have been putting off. This fish was no 20lber; it was definitely over 30lb. I rolled the net down, checked the fins were flat against the body and went to lift the fish ashore. It was then that I knew how completely wrong I had been, there was a serious weight in the net. Once on the scales, it registered 40lb 12oz. I had an inkling that it would be a forty pounder but there is something special about seeing the scales register over the magical weight.
I got some pictures sorted and slipped the fish back. After re-positioning the rod and getting back into bed, I just couldn’t stop things going over in my head. It had been an amazing season and I had just landed my 4thforty of the year. I was pondering what had changed; I had switched baits to Mainline Cell and it was blatantly clear that the fish absolutely loved it, I had switched to bottom baits and I had baited lighter than in previous years. I came to the conclusion that it was probably a combination of things, but what was important that I kept everything consistent – find a winning method and stick to it. What also came into my head was that we were now at the beginning of September and we probably had the best 6 weeks or so of the year coming up.
Eventually I drifted off to sleep probably an hour before my alarm dragged me from bed and signaled the time to pack up and get off to work. Buzzing was an understatement and I just couldn’t wait to see what the next few weeks brought…
I had an inkling that it would be a forty pounder but there is something special about seeing the scales register over the magical weight.