Eastern Promise - Dan Sawyer

I started my season at Suffolk Water Park on the better side of March this year and bagged a personal-best mirror on my very first trip. It’s always good to get that first bite to know your approach works and they are catchable, but on my first session? Over the moon would be an understatement. I had a grin from ear to ear when I left that day, wondering what the rest of the year would bring. I had a great spring catching several fish including my first thirty, which was a peach of a fish known as Stock Linear. The days got longer, the nights shorter and before I knew it, summer was upon us. I had a few chances in the edge as well as up on the surface. I had done a lot of surface fishing in the past but seeing fish up to mid thirties sucking in floaters really got the adrenalin going.
After finding a group of fish on the end of a south easterly I soon had a pouchful of floaters upwind, slowly drifting towards them. Instantly, they started pac-manning them down and a rod was quickly shipped together. I missed four fish straight away, I couldn’t believe it, at the time I was using 7ft hook links after fishing a small tricky venue where the fish are very cute – the complete opposite of pacman! So, after adjusting it to four feet I soon had a hook bait drifting into the bunch. The line whipped up, the Tectrix took up a healthy curve and I was in. Within minutes the fish was in the net and soon having her photograph taken. She was a new PB floater-caught mirror of 24lb, happy days. Later on that day I was relaxing under the Pioneer when I noticed a small piece of mud stuck to the inside of the roof in the shape of a smiley face, exactly the same as the scale pattern on my target fish! Truly bizarre, but I felt as if this was a sign and I was sure I’d be seeing her later that night. Waking up to motionless rods the next day I brushed it off and told myself not to be so stupid.
A couple of months quickly passed and the fish weren’t visiting the edge so much, the weed started to die off and the leaves started falling, Autumn was on her way. I arrived as per usual on a Monday afternoon, not knowing what treats were coming my way in the next 48 hours. After a quick cuppa at the cafe I grabbed a bucket and went for a wander. After a few hours of walking, climbing and checking who had the nicest tea bags, I had given up looking for signs so I set up in a swim that looked good with a big autumn southwesterly hitting the far margin. However, after taking my first rod out of the sleeve and lining up the cast, a fish threw itself out two swims down. The rod was soon back on the barrow and I was in there like a shot. It was one of the ‘hot’ swims that an angler with a huge empty bucket had just vacated after a fruitless session so I didn’t fancy my chances in there and hour before.
I had a couple of fish in the first 24 hours and saw a few head and shoulder. I could hear a helicopter in the distance and looked up to see it was very low and getting very loud. As it passed over my head I remember thinking to myself that the noise must have put the fish on edge. However, no sooner had I thought that than the Delkim let out its scream and the rod went into meltdown. I hit into the fish and instantly it was up on the surface at about 140 yards. I knew it was one of the better ones and after what seemed like an eternity, with the leadcore pinging off the dorsal several times, which really put my heart in my mouth it rolled into the net. I saw the scale pattern smiling back at me and instantly gave it the shout ‘MAGICAAAAAAL!’ I couldn't believe which fish was sitting in my net. At the time I felt like jumping with joy and crying at the same time, I'd done it. A chap from Essex did the photos, with the water shots coming out pukka. Cheers mate. The rest of the session was a bit of a blur but I had a hit of seven fish with Magical being the biggest at 35lb 8oz. A truly ‘magical’ session that I will remember forever and as my Water Park door closes. I don’t know which one to open next! Stay focused and enjoy winter