I arrived at Ross on Wye at 11 am. I met up with Anton and Oz and we had a bite to eat in Morrisons. We set off for the pool just after 12 and drove past Bernithan Court Farm just before 12:30, half an hour too early so we nipped into Llangrove and had a quick pint of Worthingtons in the Royal Arms. After our pint we left for the pool and arrived, once more, at Bernithan.
I drove over the cattle grid and along the track; suddenly I could
see sparkling water, Redmire Pool, and as we got closer I could see the famous
Once the cars were parked we
went for a stroll around the pool and pointed the various swims.
from the sluice…..
The thing that really shocked me at first was just how small the pool
was, I know it’s been said countless times but just how did 3 records come from
just a farm pond??
The pool from the dam….
A view from the boathouse……….
favourite was Keffords, this swim was nicely situated on the western bank and
was within close proximity of the shallows, where I was hoping to spend most of
my days stalking. I made camp and whilst setting up I had mixed emotions, it
felt quite awesome that I had finally made it here and at the same time taking
in the fabulous atmosphere I also realised that I was also here to try to outwit
one of these most prized fish. The swim was beautiful, even in its winter
Keffords from the Fence Pitch….
I quickly pitched up the bivvy
and got out the marker rod to see what’s in front of me. I found that around 1
third of the way across it was nice and clear with straggly weed leading up to
it, the plan was to drop my hookbaits just in front of where the weed ends. The
rods went out at 10, 12 and 2 o’clock and I scattered a handful of freebies over
Ready for action…….
The 4th rod was set up and
fished just off the rushes to the right of my swim. To my left were the small
islands including the climbing island. I was hoping the sun would be out the
following day so I could have a little stalk up there and even a little shimmy
up the tree. That evening started off with Blackbirds, Robins and Wrens calling
in the hedgerow behind me along with Coots splashing around up in the shallows
and a Water rail swam under my rods. Then, as night fell, The Jackdaws started
their evening frolics and very noisy they were too!! It was surprising just how
dark it was on that first night, and indeed every night, pitch black with no
The night turned fairly cold with rain setting in from 10pm until
2am. At 3am I received a lift on the bobbin on my left hand rod which promptly
dropped, just as I was dozing back off it lifted again this time staying up, I
dived out and struck into what felt like a decent fish. I played that fish in
very carefully hoping and praying it wouldn’t fall off. If I landed this it
would be my first fish of the year, my first Leney and my first Redmire carp.
Once it was under the rod tip it caused me a few hairy moments but soon enough
safely in the net. On the mat I couldn’t believe my eyes, the most beautiful
long bronze common Carp, just like the ones I’d seen in the books. I called
Anton and he came round to help with the pictures, it weighed 18lb 8oz, a
corker. After that I got the rods back out got my head down, buzzing!!
My first Carp of the year…..
Monday morning was grey and
chilly with a gentle breeze blowing up to the dam. I went for a wander to see
how the others had got on and Oz in the Evening pitch had a 3lb Common in the
morning. 2 fish out on the first night, not bad going. I walked back to Keffords
having a sneaky peak in various spots on the way back and also visited the
islands and shallows looking for signs of fish. I saw nothing so got back to my
swim and cast the rods back onto their spots. This method had produced for me
already so I decided to stick with it for the day. Up in the shallows the Coots
were splashing around again, a male Chaffinch visited me briefly and Robins were
singing all around the pool. Bacon rolls and tea for breakfast and sleet arrived
mid morning with a very cold breeze. The rods were quiet apart from the odd
Dabchick swimming into the lines. Time to chill, take it all in and read through
a magazine or two. I had fun with a Robin for a while that day; I gave him a few
maggots in return for a few nice shots of him perched on my rods.
The Ducks and Coots started to move out from the shallows towards where
I was fishing but they posed me no threat as I was fishing in 6 – 7 feet of
water and the Swans couldn’t reach either. It tried to snow that afternoon and
the swans were being a pest swimming into my lines and clearing out my margin
spot. The plan was to get fresh baits on and get ready for the night session.
Beef Curry on the menu for Monday night washed down with 2 cups of tea. Just
before dark Anton in the Style pitch had a nice 5lb Common. Once again the
Jackdaws got noisy just after dark and I could hear the faint drone from the
motorway. As it turned out the night was unproductive, for all of us and very
In the morning I popped into Ross to get supplies and on my
return I went up to the shallows to see if I could spot anything. I climbed a
tree on the farthest island and saw a few patches of clouded up water. Then I
saw a dark shape glide through, that was enough for me, I quickly got 2 rods and
soon had 2 criticals with 4 bait stringers on the spot. I sat there for most of
that day and read carpworld but nothing came my way, but I didn’t mind, I was
fishing opposite the spot Chris Yates caught the Bishop and the sun was shining,
what more could I want.
I was back to my swim by 3pm
and got the rods out. Then I had a late lunch and a couple of mugs of tea,
hailstones came and I started getting a few liners, hopeful that something may
slip up through the night. The sky that night was clear with the reflection of
the stars on the pools surface it was very pretty indeed. All wildlife was
quiet, as were the rods until a little before 10pm I had a lift on the right
hand rod. I got outside but as I did the bobbin fell back to the ground, I hit
it anyway but there was nothing there. An aborted take but still gave me
optimism. That one was on a snowman. This came after hearing the third fish of
the evening crash out, if they were jumping, they would be feeding. That was the
last of the action until I awoke at 3am. I popped outside the bivvy to see the
still clear sky, frost in places and a chilly morning.
I decided something
had to be done so I changed 2 more rods onto the snowman, if I was to fool
another of these wary Carp it would take a certain amount of effort on my part.
I was looking forward to capturing on camera my first Redmire sunrise, the
previous mornings had been overcast.
The alarm was set for 7am and I
woke up just before that, the morning was again cold but the pool was still and
it looked like the sun would rise in the North East. I set up the camera on my
table with a bucket on top of it; I had forgotten to bring my tripod!!! I got
some fairly nice shots and started to think about the shallows again and another
crack at those crafty residents.
I got up there about 9:30 am
and cast the rods onto the spots, this time they has the snowmen on each. I
shimmied up the tree to see if anything was about but all looked quiet. On the
way down I heard the spool of my reel revolving so I jumped down, picked up the
rod and struck. The fish was on but there was something wrong, the freespool
wouldn’t disengage. The fish was kiting towards the snags opposite I held onto
the spool and steer the fish into open water, played about with the reel and got
it working and then, after a spirited fight got the fish safely in the net. I
could see it was a good fish, another Common and back in my swim I weighed it at
21lb 6oz. Oz and Anton came round to do the pictures and the fish was returned.
Somebody up there was smiling on me!!!
I was made up, 2
winter Redmire Commons; it was all a blur at the time. I calmed myself down and
went back for another go. At first all was quiet but then I saw another plume of
mud rise from the bottom near my spot. I sat by my rods waiting for it to go off
again but the Swan came in for a feed and cleared me out. I had trouble with
them on and off all afternoon, they are fairly new to the pool and don’t know
At 2pm I returned to my
swim, got the rods out and had a bite to eat. I sat back and reflected upon the
week so far. That day started off bright and sunny but eventually got cloudy,
windy and snowy. The night was motionless, just as couple of liners and a frost.
I woke at 7am on Thursday, quite sad that the week was almost over but
optimistic at the time remaining. It was a bitter start to the day, a Blackbird
visited me as he had done most mornings and was given a handful of maggots. I
went up to the shallows but there were no signs of fish, they seem to drift in
once the sun has risen and started to warm the water. Some men further up from
the shallows were cutting down trees with chainsaws and a tractor was ploughing
the field behind my swim. Later in the afternoon I noticed a few patches of
bubbles on the opposite bank, I put 2 baits on the area but nothing came of it.
I got back to my swim sometime after 3pm and, yet again, had the rods placed
ready for the night ahead, the last night. I decided I’d like to sit out for as
long as possible, read my book and have a nice cup of tea. This didn’t last too
long as by dusk my toes and fingers were numb, it was a pleasant hour though.
Ready for the evening……..
The far left hand rod I
managed to get near to the spot I’d seen the bubblers earlier. I threw a few
baits over each rod and put the kettle on. Supper was chicken soup that evening
and it was all about laying on the bed listening to all the sounds I’d got
familiar with over the week, the Jackdaws, Coots, planes overhead and the
distant motorway. Redmire had lived up to my expectations and then some. I felt
privileged to have been there and walked the banks, fish a few swims and even to
catch a couple of the descendants of legends. 15 years I’ve wanted to fish the
pool, even just to visit would have been a dream come true. Fortunately I’ll be
returning when she is in her wonderful autumn colours. The night was another
cold one, frost on the way no doubt. The frost did come and the night extremely
cold, but by morning the frost was less than the previous morning, although
there was a small amount of cat ice in the margin near the rushes to my right.
It was a little cloudier on that final morning and as the birds sang it
was time for me to start thinking about moving out of what has been home for the
week. The rods could stay out for another few hours in the hope that something
may take an interest, but as the sun began to rise in the east the sun began to
set on this fabulous trip. I reflected upon how amazing it had been, Redmire
still has that magic, the same magic I’d read all about so many times and the
very same magic I’d just experienced for myself. My maiden voyage had been
everything I’d hoped it would be, mystical, emotional and triumphant. I take
away with me fond memories, jottings and pictures both in my mind and on my
camera. I just wonder what she will look like on my return visit in October and
whether she will be as kind to me. But let’s be honest, even a blank week isn’t
blank at Redmire, there is so much to see, hear and experience. All the stories
come to life and the pictures you’ve had in your mind for so long become
reality. With one final salute I said in the words of Chris Yates, “Thank you
redmire, and may you always be as beautiful as you are today”.
is half as wonderful as Redmire, they can come and get me!!!!