Never Mistake Confidence as Arrogance

A few things needed to be done back at home, so it meant I would have to wait an extra 24hrs to get back but I had all my bait prepped and ready before I returned 72hrs later. At first light I barrowed straight into the swim I had caught the leather from. I decided to do a quick couple of laps round the pit just in case I was missing something – it was like a sheet of glass out there. I spotted the odd Tench but that was it, so I went back to the swim and set the bedchair up. I thought I could sit in the swim and have a good scan of the water where I had recently caught from but after an hour of constantly watching the zone I knew they had done the off. I stood down at the waters edge, looking down the pit to the point swim which give me a view of the other area I had baited a few days ago. After about 10 minutes a small fish showed, it was hard to gauge the exact area it had showed. I could see movement of the lad, Jack, in the point swim so I gave him a quick call and asked if had seen much he said it had been quiet, now I wasn’t sure if he was giving it the carp blag and as I’m on the phone staring towards him this big dark fish slid out I said “did you see that?” I could tell by his reply straight away he didn’t which had me thinking they’re in the other baited zone. I carried on chatting to Jack for a minute or two then I legged it down to the quiet swim where I had baited with the throwing stick previously, I could still see some frothy bubbles on the surface, with that, a good fish showed but it was a bit far out in this swim and I knew that I could get a much better line angle in the point swim. It was a zone that I had never seen anyone fish from the point but more important the line angle would be perfect. I knew Jack was off that day, so I went back and packed my gear back into the van and made my way to the Point.

Now… the Point swim had been fished every night since the lockdown had been lifted, it’s a very popular swim and often a struggle to get in to as it has a fair bit of form for the Baby Black. Three of my mates had caught the Black from the Point over the past couple of seasons, but you hear others say they don’t want to catch it from the point as they want to do it their way, which is a fair comment but they will happily fish 140yrds into the Points water from other swims rather than fish the Point and have little flicks with perfect line lay which makes me laugh as they’re the type that love to criticise people and they stir the big wooden spoon in the background.

Everyone had stuck a fair amount of bait in when they have been in the point so the plan was to get a bit of bait in with the throwing stick, and not fish for the first 24hrs to see what the fish would do with no lines being fished for miles so the fish would be under no pressure.

Some much needed rest was in order and my alarm was set for 4am, that way I could have a listen before first light and get the idea of what was going on. I heard a couple show long which is the norm for that place hence why everyone loved the point as you had the best chance of hitting the middle zone but that was wasn’t going to be my plan… Although I was going to stick a couple to a known area out there but really it was always going to be about that left hand rod. As the sun started to rise a couple of fish showed long, I chucked my waders on to stand in the water to watch the rest of the pit and more importantly the area where I was going to put the left rod! Another fish showed long straight out I turned to look and out the corner of my eye a big black mirror slid out right in the area I had been watching seconds before followed by a big sheet of bubbles. I did not want to stick a rod straight out there as the plan was to give the fish plenty of time with no lines as it would only help with my little plan!

Late morning, I had a call to go and help on the pit next door as the big mirror had been caught and they could with an extra set of hands, pictures were done, and few congratulations were given, and I was now back in my swim getting the rods ready to go out to the spots. The two long rods were a nightmare to put out but eventually they were done, the left-hand rod went down with a nice thud first time and a kilo of Cell and Hybrid and six spombs of hemp over the spot. I sat back on the bedchair thinking to myself the moon phase is nearing its peak, a change in the weather due through the night, the timing was perfect for the Baby Black. Old Boris popped in for a chat and my mate, Andy, was walking the pit as well, I text him giving him the heads up on an area as I knew Andy would keep anything, he saw quiet. Me and Boris saw a couple show long and he said “you’re going to have one out on the long rods” I said to him “no mate, I’m going to catch the BB tomorrow morning on the left rod.” He laughed at me and bid me farewell. I know as he walked off he was thinking what a PRAT!

That night the weather had changed I went to sleep thinking it’s perfect conditions, I woke up the next morning and I couldn’t stop pacing thinking “is it going to happen?” I went and had little trot, chatted with Sharpy between swims and the sounder box went into meltdown! I was off and back to the rod, waders on. My mono had become trapped in a storm pole I was using to stop the weed wiping my lines out, a bit of a panic moment as the fish was stripping line all I could think was I need to get as much line back on as quick as possible as the thought of the mono that’s out there being damaged. I didn’t realise Sharpy had been videoing the fight behind me it was that moment as the big black mirror slid over my net this feeling instantly hit me “it’s it” I said. Nige confirmed it after a massive traditional holler “GET UP THERE” the fish was weighed Nige gave the reading of 48lb 2oz and safely put in the retainer whilst the troops gathered. Now I hate a fuss with crowds trying to take pictures so a quick few pictures from them and the Baby Black was returned.

So my apologies to those who mistook my confidence as arrogance it was never like that… I just knew Englefield inside out.

“King for a day. Fool for a lifetime”

John Bartley