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 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.



  1. Well done Gurn, scamp is a stunning fish. I would tend to agree with you but a fish certainly makes the 'being there' experience taste a little better, almost a fine claret I'd offer?

  2. It's a strange thing Dave..It would seem that the less you feel a need to catch from Redmire, the more you enjoy it, and apparently the better the chance of it offering up one of its prizes!

  3. A truly wonderful weekend Mr Gurney.Fishing just doesn't get any better than that.'We lived like Kings' mate.

  4. We sure did my friend.'Twas the best of times.Can't wait till next time.

  5. What a great write up and pictures, And a great common, And a water with some great names 'Willow Pitch', 'Stumps' Fantastic, And your friends with you also by the sounds of the replies,
    Thanks for a great read,

  6. It is true that the pool has some fantastic swim names, many are named after the old boys who fished there back in the day 'Keffords','Cranstouns','Inghams','Hiltons' none alas named after its most famous of anglers, Walker, even Denys Watkins Pitchford or "BB" as he is more commonly known has a swim named after him and despite trying very hard he failed to catch a single fish there.Apart from the 'Willow Pitch' perhaps the most famous swim is 'The Evening Pitch' scene of many hauntings and apparitions, was once the scene of a full-on excorsism.

  7. Nice blog.
    Great fish.
    Fantastic beard, Welcome to the fuzz face club.

  8. Ahhhh But have they named A swim after "The Gurn" That would be nice i think,
    Good Lck,

  9. Great write up Gurn. Sometimes the atmosphere is enough - but a fish helps ;-)

    I don't think I could ever fish Redmire, I have too many images of the place from the writings of Walker, Yates etc and to make those images solid may spoil the dream.

  10. Dave, I can understand that to a degree. One can hold a place in such esteem that you're afraid that visting may shatter the illusion. I have to say that in my experience though, Redmire surpassed my expectation by a country mile.

  11. Okay then, when are we going :-D

  12. Well mate, with any luck I will be going next year..It is open to all,but the whole season usually sells out in one day.

  13. Nah, I'm more than happy with the Redmire in my head :-)