Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Redmire Bites Back

It was now monday, the time was 11:31 a.m, it hadn't stopped raining entirely, but it had stopped raining torrentially for the first time since our arrival around 21 hours ago.
The Willow pitch, where I'd set up for the night in a deluge was now under 6" of water.

I'd had to abandon ship at 7am as the lake came up to join me.

I was so thankful of the refuge of the boathouse as the rain just hurled itself upon me. I estimate that the pool rose around a foot overnight. I'd have been no more wetter had I  jumped in. My only option was to drag all my sodden gear around the pool to the Evening Pitch in the pouring rain. This swim was higher, though not much drier.

Everything, and I mean everything , was drenched. Not the ideal first dawn of a Redmire session.
 I checked on Malc in The Stile, he had a small tributary of the Wye running through his bivvy, he looked at me asking,"What shall I do?"..."Move", I replied. He knew he had to, but was so reluctant to face the outside of his bivvy. Eventually he moved to Pitchfords.
 Remarkably, there had been two runs in the night. Malc had lost a good fish and Tony, in the relative comfort of Stumps had landed a fine common. He had remarked how wet he'd become whilst playing the fish, but was soon humbled by mine and Malc's plight.
 Eventually the rain subsided enough to take a few photos.

 Note the relative clarity of the water at this point, it was soon to change dramatically. It stayed dry for an hour and the place took on the look of a shanty town with clothing hanging from every available tree.
 As I took out my MkIV for the first time a shard of sunlight flashed through the trees.

Float fished lobworm at the dam wall produced nothing but a few tugs , perhaps by an over ambitious gudgeon, their time would come.
 I was joined by Malc with his new Avon, we sat and discussed the weather, all very british.
Back at the Evening Pitch it was time for Redmire Cake, made by the ever thoughtful Lady Sarah, it was a welcomed treat.

If I'm honest, I didn't want to be in the Evening Pitch. I love to indulge the fact that it has a history of being haunted, that fact doesn't bother me. I just don't think it is one of the better swims on the pool. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers.
 I cast the rods out as the wind blew, what would my first ever night in the Evening Pitch on my fourth visit to the pool bring.
 At around 2 a.m. I woke with a start. A ghost ?, A demon?, A fish?......No..Music! I could clearly hear a song. It was horrible outside, but there, through the wind and rain, was this tune. I didn't know what it was but picked up my journal and wrote down the words., "I don't want to set the world on fire".

This is tune I heard, I make no claim for it being supernatural, but I have no idea where it came from. All very odd.
No fish overnight, morning brought a trip to Ross for provisions and the chance to feel human again.
 On return, I decided to take the MkIV down to one of the platforms for a couple of hours.

Note the way the pool had now coloured up. The rain and wind continued but I was treated to a low fly past of a buzzard over the shallows as I took shelter beneath the trees.
 St.John phoned to say he would be down the next day, I told him of our plight and living local he was aware how bad the weather had been, he actually had genuine fears over the integrity of the old dam wall. Bless him, he tried so hard to be sympathetic but couldn't quite supress his laughter.
 Malc had seen a few carp from the dam wall but bites were not forthcoming, I headed back to the Evening Pitch.
 I was soon joined by the legend that is Bamford who had come down to see how we were and remove a few bricks from the overflow to take some of the strain off of the dam, we shared

The rain soon returned with some venom and I hurriedly sorted the rods for the night.
 Organised soon became disorganised and at times chaotic, the rain and wind just came with a frenzy I'd never witnessed on the bank before.
 With the band 'Stomp' performing on the roof of my bivvy I prescribed myself a small amount of Napolean to aid sleep and calm real fears of a tree falling upon me.
 The rain continued into all of the fishless night. Spiders ran from all around the pool to seek sanctuary in my shelter, I half expected Noah to float by.
 Fortunately a dry dawn broke, kettle on, re-think. Then more rain...more tea.

With the removal of the bricks the pool level had started to recede. I had seen a fish top on the other side of the lake. As the rain persisted, I made the decision to move again , back across the dam to In-Willow.
Having finally rebuilt the camp I took out Lucy, the Lucky Strike with my mind firmly fixed on Gudgeon.
 I headed for the relative shelter of Cranstouns, armed with a pot of pinkies, my 'Redmire Pinkie-Pult and a size 22 hook.

Not long after the first cast, a bite, strike and I'm into one of the mire's finest. I was so excited, I couldn't have been happier had it been a carp.

I was soon having a ball, getting one of these cracking little fellows on every cast, catching around twenty in all.

I called Ash, Tony's son to tackle up a rod and join in the fun. Sitting in my swim, his face soon shone with the happiness only a gudgeon can bring. I moved aside to the right as the rain came again and was joined by Malc, who was allowed to use Lucy to catch his first fish from Redmire.

Later, at In-Willow, the weather had taken a turn for the better. I think it is my favourite swim on the pool. The view, when the sun shines, is just great.

St.John arrived and we met for the first time on the dam wall. It was a Livingstone-Stanley moment. "You must be Gurn" he said with outstretched hand.
 He'd made some ferrule stoppers for me, for the Lucky Strike. Excellently made, I recommend them to all cane users. He can be contacted via the Redmire or Traditional Fisherman forum or you can buy them here.
 He also brought the bottle of Glenmorangie I'd won at the TFF AGM raffle. This was soon followed by Sir Les Bamford who'd kindly supplied two thirds of a bottle of Coke and two mugs.
 It has to be said that the scotch didn't last very long, but what a laugh we had.
I'd taken the opportunity of tying some new rigs earlier whilst confined to the bivvy, these went out overnight on spots I'd trickled bait into over the course of the day. Alas, another fishless dawn broke.

Looking out from the bivvy I could see dappled reflection and the trails of jet planes. This could only mean one thing, the sun had finally appeared.
At around 10am I reeled in the overnight rods and took the MkIV up to Bramble Island with a view to try to persuade one 'off the top'.

The colouration of the pool made the task of fish spotting incredibly difficult. Every now and then I'd see a dark shadow through the polaroids. Of course, the colour also stopped the fish seeing the riser pellets and floaters I pulted in at regular intervals. The fact is, that after four hours of continuous baiting without a cast I didn't get a single rise, I tackled up a float for carp and strolled down to the dam.

The view from the dam, when the sun shines is one of the finest in fishing. One can sit, relax, reflect and be at peace.

The float shot out of sight and my heart thumped. For a short time I had illusions of it being a carp. It was not to be, however. A few sharp shudders on the end of the line signified an eel It was the biggest eel I'd ever caught. No photo though, I'm not fond of them and it was soon returned safely to it's home with not too much drama. I have now caught all species in the pool.

That evening, our last at the pool, we enjoyed the fabled 'Redmire Risotto'...Yes I know it looks hideous, but it tastes bloody marvellous, and though not exactly haute cuisine, it hits the spot. This year we have the recipe.
 You will need ......One Can of Chilli Con Carne
                            One Can of Minced beef and onions
                            One Can of Irish Stew
                            One can of Lentil soup
                             Drained boiled rice.
Basically throw the lot in a big pot and stir and heat. Only ever to be consumed on the banks of the pool. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

As the sun set on our final night I was still confident that we might get another carp. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, this was not to be a tale of triumph over adversity.
 With two runs on the first night, I'm sure that if the rain hadn't arrived and continued for so long we have continued to catch.
 The amount of cold water that went through the valley and the way the pool coloured had scuppered our plans. I have fished the pool four times now. Twice under coloured conditions I have failed to catch carp and twice under clear conditions I have caught carp.
 We still enjoyed it. I loved catching those gudgeon, they'll stay with me forever, and we'll be back next year.
As I looked out on the final morning I saw leaves falling from the trees and settling on the surface of the pool. a squirrel buried food, sensing the rapidly arriving colder months, and the rain started again.

Thanks to Les, Nick, Rob, St.John, The Richardson Family and my angling companions.

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