Friday, 29 January 2010

The hallowed pool

There is a place,a special place on the border of England and Wales that by mention of its very name brings that misty eyed look on every Carp anglers face.A place where legends have swam and fished,such mythical fish of such size that even in the infancy of specimen hunting it drew the finest anglers from miles away.
Strange then,that this place is a farm pool of just two and a half acres.In early 1934 this lake was stocked with just 50 Galitian Carp.The pool has gone on to produce three british records.In 1951 Bob Richards caught a magnificent mirror of 31.4lb followed the next year by Dick Walkers famous "Clarissa" although he actually named it "Ravioli"!!These captures were eclipsed in the early 80's by Chris Yates amazing "Bishop" caught on a Mkiv Avon cane rod.....This place is Redmire Pool.


In November last year I was lucky enough to cast a line in this most hallowed of pools..

Let me start by saying that I've always had an ambition to catch myself a carp from Redmire and never really understood them that say"It's just about being there"....
Up the little track we rode.It was sunny but cold.We arrived at the gate outside the residence of one Mr.Bamford.We liked him,he spoke our language and said that even though we were slightly early we could go down to the pool.The previous weeks anglers were packing their cars,we did the courteous thing and waited until they were ready to leave before going to talk to them.They hadn't caught,the weather had been against them,I felt sorry for them.
We strolled around the lake,my first impressions were dominated by the Terracotta colour of the water,just a week ago I'd read reports of it being gin clear.Walking the swims was like strolling around any famous landmark,each image you'd seen a thousand times,yet it was new and exciting...this was Redmire Pool.
We helped one of the previous weeks anglers bump start his car,Redmire wanted him to stay.They left quickly though and the pool was now ours.
It seemed to take an age to set up,the darkness rapidly encroaching and the sun long gone,we took tea on the dam wall benches.I set up base in Stumps and cast in to the reddish depths for the first time.


As is the way with some that visit the pool we drank Claret into the darkness untill I was alone in Stumps in the a quietness unlike any I'd experienced with the trees glowing in the moonlight.
Now,we've all heard of ghostly things happening in the Evening Pitch but when I heard someone distinctly whisper"Gurney" my surname in Stumps I looked for one of my friends.....they weren't there,I wasn't scared..just baffled,retired to my bivvy,had a few line bites and not much sleep.
In the morning I was joined by my friend Stewart who had clearly enjoyed the Claret more than me and slept like the proverbial log,.Tea at 7 am with real leaf tea in a pot on Redmire with all the birds waking up is glorious.Our other pal Tony was paid a visit in Greenbanks,he'd not had action but amused us by recalling that he'd been visited in the night by an Ostrich with it's throat cut(he'd been awakened by the call of a pheasant).


The sun was trying to show so I decided to wind in all rods and to float fish the West(sunny) bank.I baited most swims from Willow to Bramble Island with micro pellet and maggot.I fished so hard that the time flew by so fast,at one point my float bobbed,I could hear my heart thumping so loud that if it had sailed away beneath the depths I may have keeled over!!It was a wonderful day I will never forget it,I tried everything but alas,was fishless.


That evening we drank more Claret in the Evening Pitch in the pouring rain on the orders of estate owner Mr.Richardson who assured me that the only way to catch a Redmire Carp was to drink fine wine and sing to the fish.I retired to the bivvy,sodden in the relentless rain that had now engulfed us singing"1-2-3-4-5 once I caught a fish alive".The rain continued through another fishless night and on into the terrible task of packing away.
The pool had beaten us.We were all still"Pitchfords" for at least another year...and as we drove away I thought what a fantastic experience I'd had at a place that is a credit to everyone who's involved with it's upkeep.I loved being there..........................but I still want to catch a Redmire carp.

I will be back to continue my quest in October,If anyone who has caught there has any tips,I'd be happy to hear them.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Noble Roach

Is there not a fish swimming that holds such a place in the fishermans heart as the noble Roach.Almost every angling book I have read lauds it as "probably the first fish you will catch".As you have seen, this statement holds true with me.
I have to admit that it has not been a species I have targeted for many a year.However,the waters are freezing and as an angler who will set his stall out for "them that are 'aving it"..this weeks prey was redfins.
The air was bitter and the breeze cut into the hands that filled the feeder.As I drunk tea I thought back to that Tartan thermos (I bet you can still procure one on e-bay.mmm)I still think them fish must get really cold.A depth of 14ft is no place really to be waiting after a total month long freeze-over for some loon to toss you a plastic recepticle full of Turmeric flavoured red it?...Indeed it is,and now I know how big they get...



Boyhood Dreams

Those early times my Father would say,"We're off boy"are as fresh in my mind as the feel of an autumn day on the Grand Union.I recall the creaking of my smaller basket kindly donated by some angling aquaintance of my parent,the smell of petrol as Dad fired up the old Cortina and the clanging of a tartan Thermos against its wicker surround.The trudge of welly boots along the towpath making the herons fly up into the blue.
My first rod was a one piece six foot Auger with "built for anglers by anglers" proudly emblazened on the fish logo,my reel was a cheap blue centrepin.
Of course in those days I'd eat my sandwiches,drink my Bovril and discover quite soon that Wellies have no insular properties at all.
The lure of a warm fireplace or dinner was always abated by the thought of that little float going under.One day,it did,my first ever fish a perfect roach no more than 2oz..I was ecstatic..I wondered just how big they would grow and if he was cold.....It is now that I recall that day,all these years later because yesterday I went out in search of monster roach....

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