Contrary Mary – Dan Reidy

Contrary Mary

Contrary Mary

Well we’re do I start…. Arriving at the lake I did the complete opposite to what most anglers would do and something I’ve been trying to get a custom to myself to be fair. 1- Look for the fish before setting up and not just pick a swim in my head beforehand. 2- Set up rods before the bivvy, brewing kit, bed chair etc

So fishing a peg I’d done well in the past and knowing yardage’s to certain areas I set about the task at hand, I put a good spread PokerNut boilies on some areas before putting the rods in position, new rigs that I had tied the night before with my new combat hooks and bait added, it was time to send them out. Only catching fish in the daylight hours this year so far, I was optimistic of a bite early afternoon or late morning. Boy could I have been anymore wrong! Just before dark I had the pleasure of catching a lovely 25lb 12oz common before settling into my bivvy to watch the footy (I like my comforts).

Through the late hours I’d get the bleep on the alarms from the odd line bite and wind, with temperatures dropping to 2 degrees I was well comfy in the bag. Then at around 4am the receiver gives out a little more than just a quick bleep, it was bleeps that little bit longer and now it seems a bit louder. Looking out the bivvy door to my rods, my purple fox bite indicator sits slammed into the middle delkim. Out of the bag and trainers slipped on I grab the rod lifting into what seems as though the fish is swimming towards me, ever so quickly I spin the handle until I catch up with the fish, pitch black and only my dimming head torch to put up with, I trace the line to the right of me. Continuing to bring the fish in I can feel the line grating on what seems to be weed, as it gets closer I see there is weed traced all down my line, I manage to put the rod down grab the line bringing it in with my hands until I can grab the weed and remove it, still without seeing the fish.

Then she pulls, so line let go I scramble the rod into my hands and it’s just pulling trying to get to the bottom, I mean don’t get me wrong we’re not talking about a 20ft plus deep gravel pit, this is a 6ft max old silty estate lake in front of me, but it’s pulling enough to make me nervous. I give the clutch a twist and let her have a bit, I slowly start winning a bit back and it’s back and forth for 10 minutes but seems an eternity when you want to land a fish.

Slowly but surely, I win the war and the landing net is securely underneath her. A look into the net and it’s a chunk! Not wanting to get too excited I let her have a few minutes to rest before slipping the retainer under her and lifting her out, any doubt I had that it hadn’t beat my PB was over there and then!  Popped onto the scales and the needle swings round to 36lb 12oz,

I know my net is 5lb 8oz wet wet through, so knew it was a new PB and my first 30lb, by this time it’s close to 4:45 so I make the call to one of the only people that would want to be there at that time to share the amazing moment, my uncle Gary. As I start mumbling “I’ve done it, I’m now part of the 30lb club, it’s a big common”, and without mentioning the obvious big common of the lake ROSIE, Gary says “you’ve got MARY , I’m on my way” as it’s the only other common to of come out at 30lb plus.

As I place her back into the lake to rest and wait for Gary’s arrival, I tie the retaining sling cord around my trolley as I didn’t have another bank stick.

Upon Gary’s arrival I’m absolutely buzzing, and he can tell, as it’s early and I’ve woken him up I thought it best to have the kettle on, a brew in hand and for 5mins I stand eyes flicking between the lake, Gary in conversation and the retaining sling, time to get her out I think. As I untie the cord carefully lifting her out, the weight puts an ever-growing smile on my face, into the cradle to get a close and personal look at this amazing fish.

Scales zero’d and sling weight taken off and on she pops the needle swings around to 31lb 4oz, it’s a new PB and my first ever 30lb plus carp, and it couldn’t be any sweeter the fact that it’s a common, for me that’s my favourite type of carp. As Gary sets about the camera snapping away, the expression on my face is clear to see, this is a fish people dream about catching.

Never have I had water shot photos and have always believed they should be kept for special fish, well that special time had arrived and as I look at Gary asking for a few more shots the reply couldn’t of been any sweeter, “get ya waders, ill lift her into the water” Waders on and into the lake, adrenaline filling my body and peaking into the retainer I hoist her up to see her in all her glory.

Time to let this incredible creature return, hoping one day to see her on the bank again in the future. A loud cry out of emotion and a massive hug from Gary and it’s time to pop the kettle on again, with no champagne to celebrate the next best thing a Bailey’s coffee.  As Gary says it’s time for him to leave for work, we embrace again and I let him know I couldn’t of wished for a better person to have spent that special moment with, many years we have fished together with a lot of highs and lows, but this one for me was right up there with the very best.

Thank you so much Gary, my fishing partner, one of my best friends but most importantly my uncle, I couldn’t ask for anymore.

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