Tom Meager embarks on an emotional and obsessive roller coaster of a campaign...
Tom Meager – The Obsession
2nd August 2022
From the start of 2020, I plucked up the courage to step foot onto a pit that previous anglers would tell you is notoriously tricky; a handful of fish a year would be a dream. To close friends and people who know me I’m not afraid of a good old bit of blanking!
From the off, that was what I was faced with. As spring turned into winter, I had two captures to my name, the first being a 26lb common and the second being a 24lb mirror. I was over the moon with that result, as I had set myself a little target of one fish that year. Come to think of it, and looking back at that first capture, it was the most important capture for me due to what I learned – further down the line it was what ultimately ended the obsession.
With the first year out of the way I had some time to think about the year ahead that was fast approaching. I was in two minds, did I stick to the same method as the previous year, or did I gamble? Before taking this water on, I had already said to a few mates I had a vision on how I’m going pull it off. It’s safe to say they looked at me a little crazy, but still, like good mates do, they gave me some encouragement. It’s safe to say from the off that I ‘upped my game’, putting in some serious shifts. These could be anything from work overnighters to long sessions off work, but one thing is for sure; if I wasn’t fishing, I was walking, (I mean, A LOT of walking!)
I’m sure my first bit of action from that year was beginning of June, where I managed to land three fish to 35lb, including one that became a little bit of a mate of mine. A few of us would debate about the stock level, but between myself and now a best mate of mine, we worked out there to be around 45 carp, 50 at a push.
It was full steam ahead and by the end of it, I ended up with 21 takes, with 21 landed safely. It’s safe to say I was over the moon, but deep down I wasn’t. Before I started this journey, I was told about a very special carp and had seen some pictures of its perfection in my eyes – grey back, massive head and as old as the hills. I relentlessly looked at photos of this fish and wondered “where are you, what are you doing?” I hold my hand up when I say this, I had serious doubts. “Will it ever happen?!’” It’s safe to say, I never stopped – it was an unhealthy obsession to many, but to me it was a ‘must have’. That year the closest I got to her was watching her swim around a carp that was sulking in my retainer. It’s safe to say she looked MASSIVE!!!!
This brings us up to date in 2022. At this point things got personal between me and her (and for the few years previously!) I saw her on a few occasions, if she was with her mates, she would be 20 foot behind them. If she was around others feeding, she would simply sit mid-water, watching from a safe distance. To me, she wasn’t exactly a loner but, in my head, she was a loner when it came to a feed up. I said to my best mate Chris Baker “she doesn’t like the hustle and bustle mate – it’s like she can’t be bothered to compete for grub.” I was getting impatient now – deep down I knew I had to do what I do best; walk and find the opportunity.
May 2022 – by this time I had been seeing her in a specific part of the lake for 3 weeks, it’s safe to say, I kept this quiet to keep disturbance away from the area. On the Friday evening, I popped up the lake a little later than usual, to let the others settle in for the night. I decided set up away from the rat race, where I had a good view of the whole lake, and enjoyed a lovely evening off the back of the wind (that was due to change during the night.) The next morning, I was up way before first light, scanning the water for signs and seeing multiple shows in an area that was on the opposite side to where I had been watching her. If she was feeding now, she wasn’t feeding with the fish I had seen showing that morning.
In my usual fashion I was on the barrow in seconds and arrived at the area I had been seeing her in for weeks. I used just one rod for my approach, with a rig and components I will take anywhere and can’t see myself using anything else. In my eyes the size 4 Curve Point, mounted onto 35lb Camstiff will land you any carp, in any environment.
What happened next was a battle I’ll never forget. After being flat rodded twice and locked up into various weedbeds, it all finally came to an end. All I remember was seeing her come up in the water, her dog-like head broke the waves – I just couldn’t believe it was my time. Plenty of tears and emotions just poured out of me. As soon as the pictures were done my obsession come an end. 48lb 6oz of pure magnificence, at a place that to me, will forever be called ‘home’.