Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Caption Competition

OK, I thought we'd have a bit of festive fun, we'll see how it goes. Here's a photo, all you have to do is make up a caption to go with it. If it goes well I will make it a monthly competition with a prize for the winner in the new year. This time it's just for fun, so write your caption in the comments box.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Highlights Of 2010 & Thoughts For The Coming New Year.

Well the lakes are frozen, it's cold and dark, the rivers are full of leaf litter and then of course there's the Christmas shopping. The Intrepid Piscator has not been so 'Intrepid' of late. Yes, I am 'climbing the walls' but the break has given me time to take stock.
I'd  never have thought when I started a humble little record of this special pastime of ours back in January that...
a) I'd still be continuing with it in December.
b) That it would have over 10000 hits in under a year.
and most importantly..........
c) There would be the amount of knowledgable, fellow 'piscators' this site would allow me to contact and converse with.
What then have been my highlights of the year in an angling sense? It's difficult to reel off certain situations, angling experiences are so diverse, the biggest fish is not always the most special, each and every capture is a highlight in my eyes.
However, the three captures that stick in my mind from this year are,
"Cut Tail" the inspirationally named Carp at 40lb 3oz
Just looking at the photo of me holding this lovely old Carp and thinking back to the series of events that led to me getting her on the bank still make me smile now. She is a special fish indeed.

Two Huge Roach On The Same Day

It was one of them days when everything you hoped from it, came into fruition. It took me back to childhood dreams and was bloody cold as well !!!

A Redmire Pool Common From The Willow Pitch
My most rewarding catch, not just from this year, but, from my whole angling life. I have dreamt about catching a fish from Redmire Pool since I first read about its existence in an angling annual as a small boy. The size of this fish is totally immaterial and to catch it from the most famous swim in Carp angling was just magical. The pool holds, to this day, all the magic of yesteryear and to hold one of its wonderful residents was a privelege I will never forget.

That's it then, my years highlights...there were of course many more, but what of 2011 ? What plans do I have?
 Well, there will hopefully be another Redmire visit and I know that the Roach lake holds bigger specimens, but..............there's that itch I have to scratch, that most wonderful fish, my quest,"The Common". She will be my main quarry next year, as someone once said "Oh, yes..she will be mine."
 I also have some special plans for "The Intrepid Piscator"
Thanks for following my endeavours this year my friends, and you're more than welcome to do so next year, as I will yours.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A Lake With Fat Roach & Ice Above Them

"He waits; that's what he does.

And I tell you what: tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick...

Ahab says, 'I don't care who you are, here's to your dream.'

The old sailors returned to the bar, 'Here's to you, Ahab!'

And the fat drummer hit the beat with all his heart.

Here's to waiting."

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Beauty Amidst The Rat Race

Hidden away in our everyday drudgery, there can be found, if one looks, and is at the right place, at the right time, a portal which for a fleeting moment can transport one away from the rat-race to a world of tranquility.
This photograph was taken on my way to work with my phone, it is, believe it or not, in the middle of a town, on the borders of an industrial estate!
 The river contains Barbel, Chub, Carp, Perch, Roach, Dace, Gudgeon and Pike.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why Do We Do It ?

The fronds of the Pampas grass swayed delicately in front of a blue sky as I set up for the night on "Pampas Point". However, I was the only person on the lake, I knew the forecast wasn't good but I cannot pick and choose my days and that unseen, unknown force had driven me to go.
The kettle went on and baits went out over an area I'd baited a couple of days previously. A fellow bailiff, Dave, strolled around, walking his dogs. His first words "You must be f****** mad"..I laughed, but when he showed me the projections of the incoming weather on one of them new fangled phone "Apps", well let's just say I considered abandoning the session...The fact is though, that the urge to fish was greater.
 As the light faded the air became cold, very cold but as is my way I stood outside the bivvy looking for signs of activity. As my breathe took on that smokey appearance and I was just about to retire for a brew, out in the lake, about a hundred yards away, a Carp crashed. This was good enough for me, I reeled in a rod baited with a Pallatrax 'Jungle' pop-up fished on a Chod rig and cast it towards the area. I nailed the cast exactly to the spot then went for the shelter and relative warmth of the bivvy.
 The temperature plummeted over the next hour and a half, so I was surprised when a run came on the Chod rod, the cold air hit me and I couldn't believe that my rods, bivvy and un-hooking mat were now white and icy. I struck and connected to a Carp at range, after a couple of minutes the line went slack and I thought I'd been cut off, I reeled in everything, the hook had pulled. Most fish in this lake are over  20lb, some are much bigger, they don't give themselves up easily, I was gutted.
 Back in the bivvy, I made some Hot chocolate with a nip of Brandy to warm myself and retired to the cosiness of my sleeping bag.
 At 3 am the temperature was warmer but it was now absolutely chucking it down with rain (surprise!), a deluge of biblical proportions which waterlogged the ground around my shelter forming puddles and creeping upon my groundsheet, this continued on into daylight.
 It was then that the gales started......

The ground, was so sodden that the pegs of my only shelter were ripped out and flew in all directions, this wasn't fun. I jumped out to replace pegs, the futility of it all was more than frustrating.

My poor beleagured home was clinging on by its fingernails, at least the sun popped out for a while, the wind still howled upon my exposed position.
 I made the decision to start packing away, bad move, for the very second I removed my overwrap, the heavens opened..I cursed the sky in desperation. All that came back was a huge gust of wind that left everything strewn around, getting wet. Dave had actually turned up to fish by now, and laughed later at my disposition and the irony of it all.

I simply threw everything into anything and made my escape.
 Let's re-cap then, I'd been alone all night, frozen, sleepless, wet, windswept, all my kit was either sodden or broken and to cap it all, I'd lost a bloody fish.
 Why then do we do it ? What is it that drives us to go through such extremes for a fish ?
 Rod Hutchinson once described Carp fishing as "An obsession that drives a man from the arms of a good woman."..Is it primal instinct ? Surely not, as that would keep you IN the arms of a good woman.
 As I spoke later to the good Lady Sarah I said,"If I ever say to you that I'm going fishing, knowing that the forecast is bad, please, please remind me of this session." She looked at me lovingly and replied, "I will my dear, but.....you will still go."

Friday, 5 November 2010

Did I Really Catch It ?

Here's a puzzler for you thinking anglers out there.. A few weeks ago I was told that a fellow had landed, photographed and claimed the capture of a Mirror Carp of 34lb, and had received the plaudits of his peers. What he hadn't disclosed, apparently, was that the fish had been foul-hooked in a pelvic fin. Now, It is true that back in the day (even by The Carp Catchers of Redmire Pool) that a foul-hooked fish was photographed and sometimes even clonked on the head to be set-up in a glass case. These days of course clonking on heads and (in my opinion anyway) counting a foul-hooked fish are both no-no's. The fish hasn't taken a bait, so can't be claimed as being caught.
 As I have said, this is just my opinion but I believe most anglers with a sporting ethic would agree.
 All this has made me ponder a 'capture' I made many years ago. The fish, a Carp of around 27lb was the  biggest fish in the lake and considered a bit of a whacker at the time, in fact it was featured in a very early edition of Carp-Talk.
 The thing is, I now wonder if it 'counted'. You see, what happened was as follows....
 A screaming run was followed by a hearty strike and a spirited battle, until some 15 minutes later the fish was beaten and laying there ready to be netted by a friend...Now, here's the conjecturous(<- is this a real word!?) bit..As my mate leaned forward to engulf our prize the hook pinged out of its mouth, leaving a somewhat confused fish just hanging there in the water for a second or two which was then, and only then engulfed by the net.
 So, my friends......"Did I really Catch It" or Not ?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Autumn Perch

Well, the home of the big common was to be my home for a few night/day sessions this month and the lake has recently produced a 34lb Mirror. However, I have heard a whisper that another angler may have lost the big girl at the net recently, so I am going to give the place a wide berth for a couple of weeks. There are a couple of  fish I would like to  catch in my syndicate water and this particular lake does fish better through the colder months than the home of The Common.
 Today though I thought I might walk the five minute journey to my local river, in search of a fat Perch or two.
 As usual I was the only angler present until my work colleague Dan turned up to spend a few hours with me.
I settled on a swim I knew would hold a few Perch but left what I thought was a better one for Dan to sit in.

My set-up was a simple affair comprising of a drilled bullet stopped by a Korum Quickstop (fantastic bit of kit) with a longish hooklink to a size 10 hook with a fat worm hung upon it.
 The wind howled and the air was a mass of bright yellow falling leaves, very autumnal, but not cold.
 The tip soon wrapped around and a stunning 'Footballer' was soon in the net, followed in double quick time by another of around a half of a pound.
 I really should fish this little stretch a bit more, to look at it you'd think it barren, but it is home to most species, including, apparently, some maniac Carp. I am happy to sit catching Perch here though, it just seems right to me. Especially as I am aquainted with the staff of a nearby factory canteen who are happy to pass food and hot tea over the fence for me!
 The day didn't transpire into one of those halcyon fishing adventures but the fish came steady throughout, no world beaters, just a pleasant day by the river. This one was the biggest, I just put the float next to it for scale.
All the fish I caught were in mint condition, this fellows fins, so bold, they really are lovely fish. He even gave a little wave for the camera.
 Dan unfortunately didn't fare so well as I.He wouldn't have a dunk in my swim,where the fish were obviously holed up,stubborn sod, but he is young and has the makings of a fine angler.
 I did move to a couple of other swims but to be honest the river needs another foot of water and the leaf litter was an obstacle to good presentation.
As I packed away I was pleased to see a Kingfisher fly the length of the beat, just a couple of inches above the water. They always tear around as if they are late for something...My stomach rumbled, maybe I was late for dinner. I soon set off back past the footbridge in the direction of home.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Fishing 'Tackle'

I have just been looking through the somewhat difficult to navigate website for Ampthill and District Angling Club.
I was somewhat amused to discover the following photograph in their gallery of last years big freeze.
Tell me, did they really not see the artwork of one of the local 'erberts upon the ice?...haha.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

More Redmire Pool Pics

"In the heat of noonday I have cruised  in a punt upon the surface of that small fathomless pool and looked far down among waving weed cables at broad netted backs stirring there in those mysterious depths" 'B.B.' Confessions of a Carp Fisher.(1970)
"Our long vigil had begun.It continued until daybreak, and after. The sun rose deep orange, it's beams making the lake steam. Nothing moved; I was lost in a quiet world of green and grey and gold"..Richard Walker, Walker's Pitch(1959)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Redmire Revisited..A Dream fulfilled.

It had been around four weeks since I started to grow the now obligatory Redmire beard. I'd aimed at least to have a 'Bob James' but probably just about managed a 'Chris Yates'...Someone had described it as a "stunning appendage" in a 'Carry-On' film manner,which made me chuckle.

There we were then, early again, waiting for time to pass at the end of the farm track, full of anticipation and joking excitedly.

The lads from Carlisle drove out and we listened to every word of their exploits before wishing them "Safe Journey" then driving in ourselves.

Mr. Bamford was..well..Mr.Bamford, he really is one of us and gave us the green light to head on down to the pool.

Parking beneath the gnarly old Oaks we scurried around to the dam like kids running home from school. The sight that befell us was simply stunning. The pool in full glory and gin clear, totally different to the hot chocolate colour and leafless trees of last November, what a difference a month and a half makes.
Walking around is like re-acquainting oneself with an old friend,there's familiarity but also change.

I opted for the 'Willow Pitch', I'd been fishless in 'Stumps' last year and felt that the opposite bank received more sun, which is maybe important as the colder months draw in.

We can all wax lyrical about this pitch and for me it certainly has an aura  like no other on the pool..and rightly so.
The Swans payed a visit and a mouthy Kingfisher flew from branch to branch as I set up home for the weekend.

I have said before that I am not really in the camp of 'It's all about being there' and that I truly wanted to catch one of the Carp that swim in this beautiful place..As I sat looking out at the tranquil panorama before me, it struck me, that I was wrong, very wrong. It's not at all just about the fish..it was a watershed moment for me, for the first time I actually got it. I baited the rods, two on boilie, one on maggots. I am not fazed by fishing amonst weed at all...The words of one of the old fellas from my younger days rang in my ears "Where there's weed, there's fish boy"'he'd tell me.

I relaxed, enjoyed, drank it in.
It amazes me just how fast time goes on this little oasis of bliss, away from the rigours of work and town life, night drew in soon enough and chugged on into intense blackness.

The Owls hooted down near 'Stumps' and every now and then a fish would 'Kaboosh' out in the unseen depths.

People that know me will know that I have this somewhat irritating disposition of being rained upon nearly every time I fish, and trust me, I fish a lot. Last year,on the pool, it rained almost continually and in desperation I asked the spirit of old Izaak himself to give me a break.I was met instantly with a clap of thunder, the only one of the weekend and have been cursed ever since.

It was no surprise then that on this night it started to rain on me. After about an hour of rain amplified by the drips from trees I once again pleaded with old Izaak that enough was enough. Incredibly (or coincidentally) the rain stopped almost immediately followed by a savage take on the right hand rod which stopped as the culprit inevitably went headfirst into a weedbed. Looking at the rod I could just make out movement on the tip."I'm having some of that",I thought and struck heartily. With two quick thumps I knew the fish was on and moving, kiting around in front of me. My friend Stewart called out from The Evening Pitch "Are you in bud?".I knew that hooking a fish is only half the battle, many slip the hook and are lost, my heart pounded.I shouldn't have worried, the fish kited straight over my other lines, around the weed beds, down to my left hand side and straight into the waiting net,"In the net", I excitedly replied.

Has I looked down at a stunning little Common which just might be related to Clarrissa, I realised that this was a moment to savour and took a few seconds to contemplate.

Izaak had finally smiled on me, I'd come to realise what fishing at Redmire was all about and I'd been rewarded in the best possible way, a Common from 'The Willow Pitch'. She was carefully sacked for the short while until it was light enough to photograph her.

There I was then...Dick Walker's Hat, Chris Yates' Beard, a Redmire Common from the Willow Pitch, having my photo taken on the Dam Wall...Does it get any better?

Chris Yates may have called my fish a "Scamp"...well let me tell you something. On the way to the pool we had a copy of that fine publication Carp Talk in the car, the front cover was emblazened with a certain Mr.Hamidi holding up a 70lb+ fish from the imaginitively named Gigantica....Would I have swapped my "Scamp" for it? Never in a million years.

The next day was spent in 'Keffords', a beautiful day, the sun beating down upon me and feeding fish in front of me, clouding up the centre of the pool.
It took an eternity for the fish to move away long enough to get a cast and another for them to return, but return they did, six or seven patrolling up and down with just one ducking down to feed at any time,as if he was checking it out for the rest.

I sat there watching bubbles fizz around my bait and the water taking on that red/brown hue but the line stayed still.

Back in the "Willow" my good friend Tony and I spent the evening drinking Claret and eating "Redmire Risotto" talking about those that had come before and the joy this place brings to those that know. Long may it continue.

The night, to be honest was a fine nights sleep followed by an early morning dash across the dam, that Risotto!!!

What a stunning morning on Redmire though.
I knew I had to leave, I didn't want to go, but I'd fulfilled an ambition of 30 years. I'll be back on the phone in January and as for the beard? Next year it's the full 'Springate'.

Thanks to all that make it possible for us to fish at Redmire and to Mr. Taylor of CarpOn Baits for producing the bait that made my dreams come true.


Monday, 4 October 2010

A New Rod

Have just taken delivery of a new (old) fishing rod, the first fibreglass rod I've owned since childhood...Not sure if it'll be any good for the Grayling trotting I bought it for but I think it was a bargain for a Hardy Rod(Conquest 13ft) and seems quite useable so I  will give it a go.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

I've Been Away

I've been on a break with Lady Sarah to one of my favourite places to be, Brixham in Devon.There was no time to cast a rod but here are some edited highlights of the trip for those that may be interested.

I did venture into a shop or two...

We ate well.......
Drank well.....
Made friends..
Admired the views....

Er undersea..........

And I swear I could've caught one of these....