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A Departing Gift – Alex Norgate

A Departing Gift – Alex Norgate

A Departing Gift – Alex Norgate 4.2/5 (84%) 5 votes

Two hundred or so miles East from where we started our journey, we found ourselves at another huge, clear lake situated in the Italian Alps. We located a secluded spot, which looked out beyond reeds over a vast body of water to a distant town backed by mountains. It was beautiful and distinctly different from all the other lakes we have visited in Italy during this trip.

It is always a gamble when you haven’t got the ability to look for the fish first. It has become apparent that many big lakes in Italy have restricted carp fishing areas. Some for example, have just 8 swims over 500 hectares of water. We decided that we would fish a range of depths so as to give ourselves the best chance of a bite in such a vast lake. The fishing was extremely difficult and for the first two nights neither of us could get as much as a bleep. On the last night I decided that the only place we hadn’t tried was at the edge of the reeds in less than a meter of water. On closer inspection with the boat,I noticed small particles of shell and other carpy looking detritus at the reeds fringe. A good sign no doubt. I set a trap and hoped I would tempt just one before we departed.

The evening was warm and tranquil, apart from just about everything that lived by the waterside. Chub were crashing all up and down the margins, coots were fighting with the grebes in the reeds, amorous frogs croacked and the nightingales sang their hearts out. Getting some sleep was impossible! As I tried my best to ignore all that was keeping me from my dreams, I watched the lights from the town opposite shimmer on the lakes surface like coloured jewels in the dark blue. So hypnotic they became that I must have drifted off because the next thing I knew it was morning and my rod was bent round as a fish hurtled out of the margins causing coots, grebes and frogs to dive in all directions. Grabbing the rod I ran out into the lake up to my waist fully clothed as to get a better angle. The fish was headed round the point of the reeds out of my line of sight. Thankfully, it thrashed the surface in the shallow water and roared off out into the lake. I remember thinking that the gods must have been taking pity on me to offer such a kind departing gift. It looked like a good fish too as its dorsal broke the reflective surface.

Patricia grabbed the boat and net, and we headed out into the lake pulled along by carp power alone. The fish was a good 50 yards ahead of us but I could see it clearly in the crystal-clear shallow water. As we approached, I could see it was a thickset common. It looked incredible! I hoped the hook-hold was good because I noticed the lead had not ejected. That alone was enough to make me nervous. I played it cautiously. As she wallowed on the surface Patricia was there ready and waiting with the net. In one fluid motion she slid the mesh under the fish and it was ours. A lovely 41lb common in immaculate condition, no doubt that it had rarely seen a hook, if at all. Needless to say we left in high spirits as a huge storm blew up to serenade our departure to pastures new.

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