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An Interview With Neil Messenger Pt.1

08/04/2018 - DT History

DT – Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today, we know you’ve done well on Fryerning’s in the past, but were waiting for the Mommon before moving on?

Neil - Yes mate. I'd had the Gurm at mid-30's after it'd spawned out, which is normally the biggest in the lake as well as a 40 called Chunky.

DT – So, we hear you’ve been getting amongst them lately. Where have you been fishing?

Neil - In the Lodge. I was fishing all three rods long, down towards the tree line which is the best area in that swim.

DT - What bait were you using?

Neil - N Blend of course mate, with the ever-reliable N Blend pop ups over the top.

DT - All tubed up?

Neil - Yep, all shrink tubed up to keep them safe and sound.

DT – I understand the first one came on a zig?

I was doubling up in the Lodge with 'Pretty Boy' and noticed a lad called Charlie was packing up. I could see fish on the top, so I didn't mess about and just pinged some zigs out there. Two rods on white N-Blend pop ups and within half an hour one ripped off with a 28lb 12oz common on the end.

DT - That was the smallest common you've had wasn't it?

Neil - Yeah, but it left only two others! After all the commotion, the fish did the off and faded away into open water, so I took the opportunity and got the rods sorted for the night. At about 7am the following morning, I was talking to ‘Pretty Boy’ over a cuppa when I had a dropback. I lifted the rod and wound and wound until eventually I caught up with it. When I did, the rod instantly hooped over, and I could feel straight away that it was a big old kipper. It was chugging up and down and even managed to get underneath Pretty Boy’s lines which was a bit of a mission to get sorted. Eventually, I walked a little up the bank onto a jetty and played it from there.

DT - Was it a good scrap?

Neil - Oh yeah! it was giving it a proper old row. I could tell it was big, but when it surfaced, I could see the scales it’s back and the bald patch on its flank and I instantly knew which one it was and my knees started to give it the biggun!

DT - But normally you're a man of steel!

Neil - Well yeah, but I was playing a forty, the last one I really wanted from this lake and all whilst being filmed, so it was all a bit tense! I got her in the end though and she turned the scales to 42lb 6oz! I even smiled for the pictures.

DT - Really? Normally you look miserable in all your pics!

Neil - Oh yeah, I'd wanted this one for a while, but later on in the afternoon, I had another kipper! It was Chunky again. I'd had it at 40lb in the past but this time she was 37lb 12oz. As its one I've had before, I popped it back without any pics.

DT - That won’t please your sponsors! (laughs)

Neil - No, but I've got plenty of pics of her already! I didn’t need to put her through it again. It was nice to catch her though and she took me out in the boat as well because she jumped into a big old weed bed. It’s the first time I’ve needed to do it on there, but I won in the end.

DT - So what did you do then?

Neil - Well the carp started spawning and they went off up the top of the lake where they always go to do it. They were shedding loads of weight as well, so I had the Mommon at exactly the right time.

DT – You’ve had one more trip over Fryernings since then haven’t you. How did it go?
Neil - Oh, not bad! (laughs)

DT - When did you get there?

Neil - On the Sunday, I went for a walk round and found out what'd been going on and what had been out from where. It was clear which areas were the best - mainly the shallow water. The lodge was free which is the best swim on the lake, so I jumped in there again to begin with. I wasn't sure if it was the right area to be honest, it'd been slow down there, but I thought that as it was free I’d give it a go. I could always move the next day if needed. The conditions weren't ideal for it though, chilly, cloudy, northerly wind all grey and specks of rain in the air. It felt a bit like the weather for the deeper water. I really wanted a nice warm easterly and bright sunshine pushing the fish up towards me. I took a bit of a gamble really but, as I said it's a good swim and I could always move later if it didn't produce.

DT - so you went with your gut rather than your instincts? What happened?

Neil - Well I'd whacked them really long, right down as far as I could to the far tree line and scattered about a hundred N Blend baits into the zone with the stick and at 9 the following morning I got the first bite.

DT - What was the rig and hookbait?

Neil - Just a really basic pop up rig with a white N Blend pop up.

DT - You didn't go in with lots of bait?

Neil - Oh, no. I wasn't really sure that they were in the area, so I just went in light. 100 baits over the three rods. Just fishing for a bite at a time.

DT – So, what happened then?

Neil - Well, the first fish of the session was one called Stripes and one I’d had previously. It proper rucked and took me all over the swim, but at 30lb 4oz, was a cracking start to the trip. Then, about an hour later, I had another. The next one was a 28lb 12oz zip linear which was a lovely fish, but again, I'd caught it before, so I popped it back without a photo. On the second morning, I had the Round Tail common at 32lb 8oz. I'd already had 'Lukes' and the 'Mommon' so I really wanted this one as it completed the set. The next take came just as I was about to do the pics of the Round Tail common. Charlie had to put the camera down and hit the rod whilst I popped the Round Tail back in the net and went about setting up my second landing net. A short while after, I also had a 27lb mirror resting in the base of my second net. I soon had them all sorted and back in the pond. It was going well!

DT – Yeah, doesn't sound too bad so far! So, what happened then?

Neil - Well that was it for the day, but the following morning I had another peach at 30lb 6oz. I had to wait until the evening for the next bite which was a 31lb mirror. I was getting two takes a day without fail, it was a shame the third never went but I can’t be too greedy can I!? The next day, I had another thirty at 30lb 4oz. What a session this was turning out to be eh! Then, I had a 28lb mirror and on day five, I had the largest of the session, a fish called the Nun at 33lb. My last bite of the session was from a common of 25lb 8oz, which I'd had the trip before when I had the Mommon. I packed up on Saturday, very happy!

DT - You've had worse weeks eh!?! (laughs) Knowing a little about the lake in question I'm surprised you hadn't nailed one of the bigger ones.

Neil - To be honest they were all well down in weight, the 25lb common was a prime example. When I had it a couple of weeks before it was 28lb's - all the thirties I had are normally a good few pounds heavier as well.

DT - I'm surprised you didn't go in heavy with the bait then?
Neil - Well if I’d have been 'on them' I would have, but they weren't stopping in the area, just passing through, so I needed to find that balance of nicking a few by giving them just enough to stop them, but not so much that they'd have their fill and leave the swim without getting caught.

DT - Were the crays much of a problem?

Neil - Not too bad. I had the N Blend on all three rods which are very tough anyway, but I wasn't going to take any risks and had them shrink tubed up.

DT - Nice one mate. That old N Blend’s done you proud again eh! How longs it been going in there now?

Neil - Two years, and it isn’t slowing down either. It's the most consistent bait on there.

DT - A good indication of a quality bait.

Neil - Totally mate.