Ending My Obsession - Neil Spooner

“As you all know, Star Lane has been my target water for the past three seasons. The first year I was able to put a lot more time in, and caught a large percentage of the bigger residents. However, the one fish I joined to catch, The Linear, was still on my list and I was determined to catch it before I moved on. Due to having my third child in April 2013, I decided not to join last season. After speaking to the missus (believe it or not) she persuaded me to get a winter ticket. I called the owner and he kindly let me join back in September. After just one night fishing in September, The Linear came out. Knowing its track record like I do, I knew it wouldn't be out again straight away. So, I decided to leave it until the New Year and start afresh.

On my first night back, right in the middle of an epic storm, I managed to catch a small stockie but felt that I had located where the bulk of the fish would be. Before leaving for work I deposited about a kilo of Cell on the spot and planned to return the following Monday. This is the part where I want to say a massive thank you to Kyle Poxon. He's the bailiff on the water and someone that has become a good mate over the years. Kyle walks the water on a daily basis and given that the lake is 50 miles from my house, baiting up as often as I'd like was an issue. He kindly offered to store some bait in his freezer and put it out as and when I couldn’t. Knowing that I was going on Monday, I asked if he could bait up on the Sunday for me if no-one was fishing. Thankfully he could and the fish got another helping of the Cell. Fate then played its part...

The wife asked if I could fish Wednesday instead as she had plans for Monday; I wasn't bothered as the weather better anyway! Kyle baited up again on Tuesday and it was game on! I snuck off work a couple of hours early to allow me to get the rods out before dark. All went to plan, the swim was free and very quickly three Goo'd up hook baits were dancing around in the swim. I presented the pop-ups on short, crimped chod rigs, tied with the prototype Krank Chod hooks, a new patterns that Tom Dove has designed.
The early dart paid off as I had two very quick bites during the time I would normally be setting up; both were small doubles but very welcome. Tom and Mike came over for a brew and as we sat there for a couple of hours talking all things carp, I made the comment that the swim had now done something like eight bites and all of the resulting fish were very small. I said that the next bite could well be one of the A-Team. They left shortly after, as another of their mates was fishing the top end.

Thirty minutes after they left the rod that I fancied the most pulled slowly to the top and I was on it straight away. Walking backwards I was surprised at the battle curve in the rod and knew that this was indeed a big fish. The worst thing was I knew how The Linear fought; it usually comes in like a bag of spuds, wallowing on the surface and that's exactly what this was doing. My knees turned to jelly as I really believed I was hooked into my obsession. Thankfully, just minutes later resting in my net was the aforementioned fish looking in perfect condition. If you were out in Essex on the night of the 19th of February and you heard a small child screaming profanities and sounding a bit mental, then don't worry it was probably me! Weighing in at a massive 37lb 8oz, the obsession was over and I think after looking at the pictures you will see why I obsessed quite so much.

I did manage another couple of fish before packing up and my last fish from there will probably be this stunning twenty-five pounder, a fitting way to end a very memorable campaign in deepest, darkest Essex.”