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Nursery Fish by David Graham

Nursery Fish by David Graham

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After a terrible year on Horton in 2011, only seeing one fish let alone banking one – and them planes enough to drive a man mad- I knew I wouldn’t be renewing my ticket, so I decided to get a spring silver ticket and wander around Yateley for a while whilst I decided what to do.

Having looked at the Nursery lake a few times from Sandy, I knew this was the lake I wanted to have a go at, I’d heard all sorts of rumours about low stock, big linears and 50lb cats which with over 100 dot islands made it a really exciting proposition. It also kept the big bivvy brigade away so it seemed I would always be able to get into a swim and do my own thing.

Two or three sessions in, I hadn’t seen a fish, but kept trickling the Live System into a swim we had called Terry Hearns swim – cos we thought it was the one from his dvd, but soon found out it was called crossways -. Me n Viv spread out and he worked his way around the river bank and found himself a swim he called the roller skate and started catching , he had one of the old mirrors on the bank and a couple of others whilst I still hadn’t seen a fish .

Then my luck was going to change, on one of my ‘walks’ I spotted a group of 5 mirrors not far from a swim I could get to and whilst I couldn’t cast to them, I figured if I could work out their patrol route I could nick one going in or coming out. Out of the fish there were two very distinguishable mirrors one with a broken rib which I Christened lumpy and the other had a really wobbly tail so of course he was called wobbly.

On one particular trip around the lake, I found the same group of fish in the same place and thought I’d see if I could get them to take bait on the drop. I couldn’t, but after a few minutes they started going down on the baits I was throwing in – success -. Then from out of nowhere the biggest black common I’ve ever seen swam over the top of the feeding mirrors. I reckoned lumpy was a mid thirty and if I was right, this common must have been over forty pound and that from the Nursery would have been a very, very special fish.

All I could think of was catching the ‘black common’. Lumpy and wobbly would get caught too, but I didn’t want them anymore. I carried on baiting and waiting for some good bad weather and it all came together a few weeks later, so with a few days off because of a job change I set up and cast out to what I thought were their patrol routes.

Nothing happened for 24 hours except for nearly having my brolly blown away a few times. It was about this time when I was beginning to wonder if they had a different route in and out of the feeding zone when just before 8am I had a savage take, tip swung round and when I picked my rod up I immediately got flat rodded.

I flicked the back wind on to let a bit of line out and with every inch the fish took, I could feel the GR60 grating against tree stumps, roots and god knows what else. 10 minutes later, I had the carp in the net, I left the fish in the margins whilst I set up the camera for self takes, then when I lifted the net and saw what I’d caught I let out an almighty scream, not only had I caught my first real Yateley fish, but it was the black common ‘GET IN THERE’. A few pictures snapped the fish swam back into the safety of the roots and dot islands of the Nursery.

I hooked and lost two others that day which I like to believe were wobbly and lumpy but I wasn’t bothered because I had caught the fish I wanted and had bragging rights over Viv.

I didn’t go back to the Nursery Lake to fish again after that. I’d felt the carp gods had rewarded me for camping in some savage weather and I’d found other fish to catch.


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