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Shamu
By Jeff Vaughan

Canadian Carp ClubI guess we are going to have to accept defeat and tell the full story of Shamu.

Colin first saw the fish quite a few times before I did. After baiting up we always wash out the bait buckets and brush the spilt corn off the boat in the same place, and Colin came back breathless and excited about this huge fish he had seen feeding over this bait. He of course put more bait down and revisited often.

The area is about 8 feet deep and gin clear. Although Colin saw the fish several times I had not, but it was very obvious that the weed patch we were feeding got bigger and bigger and all the bait we put down was going.

After perhaps 4 or 5 visits I arrived one morning to see 3 or 4 good fish milling about over the bait, a couple of good 30`s a big 20 and a smaller fish, and then out of the weed came a monster. It was huge, I estimated it at a high 40. I quickly called Colin, re-baited and agreed to meet him at the boat in 30 minutes.

On our return the big fish duly showed up again. “That aint it” Colin told me !! We sat for perhaps an hour watching the fish gently circling the bait patch picking up the odd grain or two and moving off. Always the same, coming in from the left, picking up, moving off and coming back again. Suddenly Colin whispered “There it is”

It was swimming alongside the 40 and made it look small!!!! Colin had already named this fish Shamu, and since he found it we agreed it was his.

Over the next few days we saw it a lot, often high up in the water so we could really see the size of it. It must have been 4 feet long and very thick across the shoulders. It had a white scar over its left eye and a white line along its dorsal. An easy fish to identify, and what a clever bastard!!!!

After much discussion Colin first decided to try to take it on the Polaris float set up. On that first try, twice the fish picked up the bait and spat it fast, tangling the hook length. On the second time it swam round the line twice circling up in the water to the top, turned sideways and looked at the float and then swam off.

The fish at this point was always just coming in, picking up one or two grains and swimming off, returning again and again until the bait was gone. There were always other fish with it doing the same, including the other 40.

The next attempt was to go down to a ¼ oz bomb on the quiver tip. The thinking being that we could see the pick up on the light tip and hit it early. No chance !! Two small plucks, a good pull around and no contact…so much for that plan.

Over the next few days we were too busy to get to it so just fed twice a day and kept an eye on it. After several days I noticed that Shamu was getting bolder. I sat mesmerized watching her really get her head down then rise in the water with corn and boilies spilling out of her gills. This changed things somewhat!! GET ON THE BOLT RIG.

Colin by now had become obsessed, all he wanted to talk about was this bloody fish, how big was it, what rig, hook, hook length etc he should use. Eventually he decided on a six inch hook length, a bolt rig, with a 4 oz lead and a back lead pinning everything down. Two pieces of plastic corn to balance out a size 4 hook.

The first session was a disaster. In two hours he caught 4 carp and lost 1. One of the 30`s two of the 20`s and an upper double, but no sign of Shamu. His tactic at this time had been to lower in the bait from the boat and then back off to the jetty, to hide behind the boat out of sight. The problem being this was obviously not selective enough.

After a few days Shamu was confident again, and this time Colin sat quietly on the boat and lowered the bait down only when Shamu was feeding. The rod was again backed off out of the way and the back lead put on. Colin could then return to watch the fish feed. Twice Shamu picked up the bait, and lifted it to just the point where she would soon feel the lead and rejected it. She then followed the line back to the back lead took a long look at it and swam off !!! Possibly the hook length was too long?

Next we put the back lead permanently in the water leaving it for three days so the fish got used to it. The main lead was camouflaged to look like weed and the plan was to thread a blade of grass up the hook length. So all was very natural. NEVER had we worked like this for a Canadian carp.

But then it all went pear shaped. Colin went down with flu. Marian had gone home and I was on my own with a crowd of anglers and no help. I tried to keep up the feeding regime but was just too busy. For 6 days I fed when I could but had no time to keep watching and studying and to be honest missed too many feeding sessions, and Shamu was lost.

Colin has now recovered and we are back on the feeding plan, but have not seen the fish in three days and I think Shamu is now just another one that got away, But truly it was one very big fish. How big?? We will probably never know.