These tactics seemed to work, and I managed to catch most of the A-team, with the Big Lin proving to be my Nemesis! I had been close on a couple of occasions, actually watching it pick up my hookbait and spit it out whilst stalking. I’d started to look at a few other waters close by, thinking it was time to move on, as I was racking up a few repeats and the red card was looming. I couldn’t get the Lin out of my head, having photographed it 3 times for friends, so I just had to catch it before I moved on.
Then disaster struck and the lake suffered a substantial fish kill, losing a good number of the originals. There was an air of despair and general depression surrounding the Roach Pit and I completely lost my buzz for fishing. With the lake closed and my motivation gone, I didn’t fish for about 6 months. Being one of the bailiffs, I was still walking the lake regularly, keeping an eye on proceedings, maintaining the otter fence and keeping the remaining stock safe. We had been feeding the fish some antibiotic pellet on a few marginal spots and we started to see the fish close in, and on one of these trips I thought that I caught a glimpse of the Big Lin! That was more than enough to get my hopes up and re-ignite my dreams.
After 6 months of being closed, Alan decided to open it for a few weeks, for the bailiffs to try and catch a few to gauge how the fish were doing. During this short window Alan managed to catch the Big Lin, with me again being the photographer. The Lin looked magnificent and surely my time would come. The lake was then closed for the winter and was due to re-open in April.
The new season came around, with a new syndicate and all the anticipation of a new challenge for many. Everyone arrived mega early for the draw and the fish put on a massive show in the shallows, everyone was chomping at the bit to get going. For me, it was all about that one fish. I had started to pre-bait an area that I thought might be the one and was lucky enough to come out first in the draw for the opening night. I set up in the Sanctuary Swim for the first night of the new syndicate, feeling really positive, although I only had the night and had to be away at 8AM the next morning. After all the prebaiting and preparation the opening night was a massive anti-climax, not even a bleep for me.
Hardly surprising that the fish shut up shop, after being left in peace and quiet for so long. The sudden influx of anglers probably sent them all into hiding. I had a holiday booked in a week’s time, a trip to Les Telliatts in France and managed to tag a couple of extra days on before I left. This gave me 2 days to track down the Lin. During the next week I kept my fingers crossed that the Lin would wait for me and not slip up to anyone else. I was so sure that it would come out early in the season. So, my plan was set; catch the Big Lin, then off to Telliats for a 50lb common – the perfect holiday.