Ian Jarrold relays the tale of the Brown Fish, one of the kings of Cambridgeshire.
My target for 2014 was a fish known as the Brown Fish, which resides in a syndicate water in Cambridgeshire. I have had a ticket for this water for a couple years, having the odd dabble here and there, but last year I decided to concentrate all my efforts on the big pit in pursuit of the Brown, a lovely old carp and beautiful in shape; it’s the perfect carp!
Out of the pit’s stock of 50 carp there are only five in the A-Team, if you like, and only four of them are regular visitors to the bank. They are Pete’s Fish, a very rare visitor to the bank, the Silver Common, the Stockie, the Big Italian, and the king of the pond himself, the Brown Fish. Now, don’t get me wrong, all of them were more than welcome in the bottom of my net, but for me it really was all about the Brown Fish; if I could’ve put him on the bank by the end of the year I would be a very happy chappy.
I was catching well, fishing a bar at 152 yards from the west bank, and by the beginning of September I had taken 25 fish from the venue. I had managed to land two out of the five of the A-Team, taking the Silver Common at 38lb in early May and the Stockie twice, once at the beginning of June and once in the middle of July, both times at 39lb. Although I had been catching well, I felt no closer to catching the Brown. I had only caught a very brief glimpse of him in the edge in early June, and that in an out-of-bounds area.
I carried on throughout September, fishing the bar at range and baiting heavily with Betaine HNV Pellets and the new Equinox. I was confident in this baiting situation. With the Pellets breaking down in all water temperatures and the awesome Equinox being an all-year-round bait, I felt I could fish this combination well into early winter, only dropping the Pellets come the really harsh temperatures of winter. It was proving hard work, though, and I was becoming frustrated as everything I was catching was small. More importantly, everything I was seeing show over the bar was small as well. Then on the morning of 24th September I saw what I had been waiting for: the Brown crashed out in a swim opposite called the New Swim.
I was due back to work the next day, so with the gear all wrapped up I drove round to the New Swim and had a plumb around. The Brown had shown at range, and after an hour or so of plumbing, I had found two lovely gravel humps, which were about 10 yards apart, both nine feet in depth and both about the size of a brolly. I popped up a marker on the spot and ventured back around to where I had been fishing; the marker was bang on for where I had seen the Brown show. With a little bit of optimism, I proceeded to Spomb out about five kilos of Pellets and five kilos of chopped and whole boilies to the two humps – no mean feat at 140 yards.
I have got to say at this point that there was no one else on the lake, otherwise I would not have been baiting as I was leaving; firstly out of respect to the other anglers, and secondly, I did not want to give the game away as to what I had seen. The next four days at work were slow. All I could think about was the Brown showing… I just hoped he would hang on until I could get back.
Monday morning and I was back at the lake. The rods were wrapped up to the distance for the two spots and within the hour I had two Equinox Airball pop-ups on hinged stiff links on the two gravel humps. After casting the hookbaits out, I proceeded to spod out three kilos of Pellets and two kilos of chopped and whole boilies.
Twenty-four hours later I was beginning to wonder if I had made a mistake. With fish showing in the swim opposite where I had been fishing all year, I was getting itchy feet, but once again everything I was seeing over the old spot was small. I decided to sit on my hands, and at midday I was rewarded by a bite on the right-hand rod, resulting in a small common hitting the spreader block. I was a bit despondent but happy with the action.
Looking out at the spot, the area was slicking up well and the occasional deep swirl amongst the slick confirmed that there were fish still in the area. With a rod still on the left-hand hump, I decided not to recast the right-hand rod and leave the last rod to fish on in the hope of catching another one. At half past two the remaining rod was away and straight away it was into heavy weed. However, it was still kiting slowly and then I realised I was attached to a lump. Twenty yards out and my suspicions were confirmed as I could see the unmistakable light brown hue and bulk of the Brown. With a couple more little plods up and down the margin, he slipped into the net at the first time of asking. I gave a massive sigh of relief, then absolute elation came over me.
I weighed him in at 43lb 3oz and slipped him into a retainer while I awaited a photographer. The first call, as always, was to the missus. As usual, she was chuffed, but then she said, “You can now crack on with the decorating.” I disagreed and said there was always the Big Italian to go for, then Pete’s Fish of course!
With the help of a fellow angler I hoisted the Brown Fish up and had my picture taken with him. Then, carefully placing him back, he powered off back in to his watery home, leaving one happy chappy behind him.