Sunday, 17 October 2010

2nd visit to Redmire

The day of reckoning was upon me, my second trip to Redmire, this one being a summer trip, although the weather had something different to say about that. The night before I was due to set off Hereford, and indeed most of the country, had the first frost of the year. Not a particularly heavy frost but a frost none the less and a long time since the last one.
The journey was exiting, in fact, the whole getting ready thing including preparing bait and tackle and even loading the car, checking and double checking the checklists and saying farewell to my loved ones. “I shall return in 5 days time, pray that the gods of Redmire are kind to me!” I said as I left the house.

Once I got over the Severn Bridge the scenery changed, it always does. There is something special that I love about the Welsh countryside, rolling hills, valleys, old bridges, it has everything. I got to the pub at a little before 11am and was already supping a shandy when Rich entered. We introduced ourselves and sat to talk of the prospects for the week. Whilst chatting we thought it a good idea to order a meal from the bar so that we did, polished off our meals and set forth to the pool.

First impressions were that it was so much greener than when I last fished back in February. I had visited since at the work party but that was different; I had no rods with me on that particular occasion. We parked the cars and set off towards the shallows, pointing out the various swims and the likelihood that they could produce fish. What did strike me was the amount of weed present, not as much as a few weeks previous apparently as a lot of it had collapsed from the surface, but much more than when I was there in June.

After a tour of the whole pool we decided what swims we’d like to fish. Rich opted for The Willow Pitch and I went for the Evening Pitch. There was a nice clean spot close to the margin in a swim I called Greenbanks. The plan was to fish the Evening Pitch by night and stalk during the day, maybe with floaters, maybe with bottom baits, but the shallows and mainly Greenbanks was to be my target. Les later told me that the original Greenbanks isn’t there anymore and a tree has grown n its place, the swim I was to fish was called The Open Pitch, but I liked the name Greenbanks better, and besides, the banks were green!!!

The first thing I did was take a bag of mixers and a catapult round to the islands, there were a few fish cruising in this area so I fired out a few pouchfuls and sat back to watch events. A couple of fish showed interest so out went a few more pouchfuls and I left them to it. The plan was to have a go with the floater rod the following day. Later, Rich told me that he could see where I’d fed the mixers and that after I’d left them they ate them all, a good sign!

So, I proceeded to get to work in my chosen swim and the marker rod came out first. There was thick weed as far as I could see but the deeper centre channel was were I was hoping to finds some clearer areas, I was wrong, everywhere I chucked there was weed, there were a few clearer spots though so I ran the casting rake through these for an hour or so and cast three solid PVA bags onto the spots. Once the rods were out I set up the house, put the kettle on and toasted Redmire and hoped that she be in a good mood this week.
With the rods fishing I made a cup of tea and sat back to enjoy the atmosphere of The Evening Pitch, Owls, rodents and everything else that was bust through the night. The rats were actually to be a bit of a pain, I don’t have anything against rats, but when they start running through my lines making my alarms beep at all hours, then I have a problem!! Also, the breeze was forcing acorns from the Oak trees above me and they must have been mega Acorns, the loud plops as they hit the water and even louder bangs when they hit the bivvy roof added to the unrest. That first night was a quiet one as far as the fishing was concerned. A restless night was had due to being in total awe of the occasion, although that was to be expected at such a place.
I eventually did drift off and woke sometime around 6am to the sound of Ducks. It was still dark but there was no frost so that pleased me. It was cold but not overly and there were a few patches of bubbles present as the sun started to lighten my view so I decided to leave the rods out a while and go tackle the shallows a bit later. Rich came round and we chatted about all sorts, mostly about Cane rods of which he makes his own.

At around 11am I left Rich and took the floater rod up to the shallows to see if I could temp something. I had a few more fish taking the free offerings but trying to present a bait to them was proving difficult, there was a fairly strong wind blowing down the pool making a bow in the line and making the hookbait drift away from the freebies, couple that with the fact the water was clearer than Gin and it soon became apparent that this wasn’t going to be as easy as I though t it would be.
It was just then that I noticed a few fish cruising into a clear spot in front of Greenbanks; they would glide through the spot which was around ten metres across by eight metres wide, plenty big enough to get three rods into. I did consider pitching up in there but the swim was very tight and on the slope so I decided the best plan of action would be to fish it through the days and get back to The Evening Pitch by night. After a while I observed the fish stopping on the spot, going down with their tails waving and definitely feeding. I returned to my night pitch and swapped my floater rod for a pair of bottom rods. I baited them, filled my pocket with a few baits and returned to the stalking swim. I had to wait a while until the fish moved off so I could cast but soon enough the rigs were in position and a dozen baits scattered in the area.

Rich came by that afternoon and we sat at the top of the bank having sausage sandwiches for lunch and watching in awe as fish fed on my newly found spot but evaded capture. I did have one chance that afternoon, the line pulled up tight and I peered into the water to see what was going on, all I saw was a plume of red silt and a fish making off at a rate of knots, I’d been done!!!

By 7:30pm I was back in my night pitch and had the rods out for another night. I felt a little frustrated at this point but happy that I’d found a spot that the fish liked to visit and, more importantly, to feed!! Before I left the spot I baited up and planned to creep back early in the morning and get the rods back in position, I was very excited about the whole thing, it always is when you think you’ve sussed it. That night we had a few showers, the rods stayed quiet and the usual circus that is the Redmire wildlife kept me entertained.

Tuesday morning and 7am I was back in Greenbanks, but at first I fished with a float lift method. This was enjoyable for the first hour but the wind started to get stronger and it was drifting around all over the place. I replaced this with the bottom bait rods and sat back to watch the fish cruise through and, eventually, start feeding once again.

By early afternoon I still hadn’t received a take and thought that I’d be much better off if I bivvied up in Stumps, it was closer to Greenbanks and the same fish could possible visit a clear spot in front of there. So, I upped sticks and moved everything into Stumps. Once everything was in place I went back to the stalking spot and continued to fish. At 3pmish a few showers were followed by a downpour, I rushed back to the bivvy and flicked the rods out, just while it rained. Whilst inside listening to the rain coming down I realised that this just wouldn’t do. My heart was in Greenbanks and I thought I’d probably be missing the best bits times there, which I thought would be late afternoon until early morning. As soon as the rain stopped I upped sticks again and moved everything into Greenbanks, it was a tight squeeze but where there’s a will there’s a way.

At 5pm I was all set up in my third swim, with the rods out on the spot and a cup of tea in hand I was happy. Rich went to the pub for a few drinks with Les that evening at around 7, they asked if I wanted to go but I wanted to stay and see how my move panned out. While they were gone, maybe 7:30 or so, my right hand rod received a fast take and I connected with my first Carp of the session. The fish tore off over the weed but didn’t dive into it, that’s the beauty of dropping the leads. It then wallowed around a while under the rod tip and I reached for the net. Just as I was guiding a beautiful linear mirror over the net cord the hook pulled and the fish was gone. I can’t tell you how I felt right then, my whole world was blown apart. A Redmire Linear, that’s the ultimate, and I’d just lost one!!!

Well, after sulking for a while and then fetching my rod from the reed bed I threw it in, I decided that there was a massive positive to be taken from that loss, I’d worked out how and when to catch them!! I was in the right swim and had worked out that the early evening would be bite time, when things got a little dusky and the Carp would drop their guard due to failing light conditions.

With the rods back out for the night I felt sad at the lost fish but excited at the same time at the prospects for the rest of the week. There was a small shower that evening but t came to nothing. The night was spent in the usual way, a few brews whilst listening to the Owls and then I’d fall asleep.
I woke at around 7am that Wednesday morning to a frost but with a little smile on my face, it was as if I knew something was about to happen. Rich came round to my swim at 8 and started to make us some breakfast. Whilst chatting and watching bacon sizzle my right hand rod tore off once again. I was on it like a flash and soon playing my second Carp of the session, I just prayed the hook would stay in this one. Stay in the hook did and I was soon weighing a wonderfully proportioned Redmire Common Carp of 14lb 7oz. I was overjoyed; I had redeemed myself by banking one of those fabulous Leney’s and a good fish too. Rich did the honours with the camera for me……

I released that fish a little further down; I did it out of habit like my coarse fishing days so not to spook the rest of the shoal. I’m not sure why I did it as the scrap would have done that anyway. So I released the fish but found that it had got stuck in a weed bed a little way out, there was nothing to do but roll up my trouser legs and wade in to free it. I was doubly surprised, firstly at how deep the silt was and secondly at how damn cold the water was. Still, with the fish happily swimming off down the centre channel I set off to the car, smiling to change my wet things.

For the rest of that day I fished on the same spots and was visited by Carp throughout the day, although I had a strong feeling that whatever I did through the day to disguise the fact I had a rig down there, they could still see it. I could see them feeding around the rig, I could even pick out the light fish, the dark fish, the linears and the commons. It was like an aquarium down there and I felt I stood next to no chance of a daytime take. It was fairly late when I realised this, almost tea time and already the sun was beginning to set behind the trees at the dam end of the pool. I decided to fish on with fresh baits through the night and until morning and then go for a little stalk up to the shallows and maybe over on the islands. That day there were some really good fish just basking in front of Keffords, I did fire a few mixers in the general direction but they weren’t interested.

That evening I decided to be unsociable and sit out of Rich amazing chicken dinner. I wanted to be poised in case the early evening take came as the light began to fade, just as the previous evening. I sat there eating my totally inadequate tea when at 5:45pm I received a steady run on the middle rod. I sprang out of the chair, leapt on the rod and started to do battle with another Redmire Common. I called out to our newly arrived companion Anthony that I had one in the net and he dashed round to see it and take some photos. This one was equally as beautiful and weighed in at a slightly smaller 10lb 4oz.
This session was just getting better and better, I felt that my early moves and observations had done me proud. With the pics done and the fish returned Anthony went back to his swim with new optimism and a nice dinner awaiting him.

That evening the temperature dropped very quickly, I crept into the sleeping bag, lit the stove for warmth and a candle for light and sat happy, enjoying Redmire’s wonderful sounds and smells. Next day would be Thursday, last full day before I left that wonderful pool so the plan was to enjoy it with lots of roving around whilst leaving my swim to settle and for the fish to get nice and confident without lines being in the water, but before that, there was the breakfast time take to hope for.

I woke again at around 7am and watched on as the sun began to give colour back to the autumnal scene outside my door. Birds began to sing and the creatures of the night were sleeping once again. Anthony messaged me asking how I liked my eggs, he wanted to make me some breakfast. I’ll admit I was reluctant as I felt that morning take was to come at any minute. Just as I was standing at the rods wondering what to do I looked over and saw Anthony playing a fish. “Well done that man” I thought, also, it would give me a while longer before he would make breakfast! I watched on while he tried to free the weeded Carp when my middle rod was almost wrenched from the rests!! I picked up the rod and felt a scrappy Carp try to make off in the direction of Keffords, unfortunately the hook pulled quite soon after. Somehow I didn’t feel too bad about that loss, possibly because I’d had two already, possibly because I felt it wasn’t very big or even possibly because I knew I’d get another chance. Either way, I reeled in and went round to photograph Anthony’s Carp and have some breakfast.

After breakfast I went back to my swim, baited the spot and set up the floater rod. I took a bag of mixers and the rod and net round to the islands to see if I could get anything going, but I found very little Carp activity there, strange as they had been there all the previous day. I stopped off at Keffords and started to see a few and in the small cut out swim to the right I found them. About 10 fish all milling around in and out of the weed, looking well up for a feed.

I loved these two swims, I think they are called Climo’s and the Fence, anyhow they are overgrown and just how I imagine all the swims to have been 50 years ago. It didn’t take too long for the mixers to start disappearing, Anthony and I watched on in awe as mixer after mixer was taken but not just one but 3, 4 or 5 different fish all feeding at the same time. It was time to cast out; I opted for 8lb line, a size 10 hook and a small bubble controller. I didn’t want to go any lighter with the tackle I was using due to the heavy weed all around. If I did hook one I wanted a decent chance of landing it.

Well, all I will say is that it was a great afternoon watching some of the wariest fish in the land tae all but the one on the hook, I tipped my hat to those marvellous creatures and as I set off back to my swim for the final evening I felt certain that some of those fish taking floaters would visit my swim during the evening, then lets see if they are so clever!!

I had the rods out on their spots by 4pm and it was whilst thinking about what to have for tea that the take came, much earlier than expected but delightful none the less. The fish bored quite deep and didn’t feel overly powerful, but as it went into the net I had a feeling it could be the fish I had set my heart on. I called over to Anthony and whilst he was on his way round I dared not look into the mesh, I’m not sure why, I just didn’t want to temp fate. Anthony arrived minutes later and we both peered into the net……a Linear!!!!

We weighed her, not that the weight mattered, she was the most beautiful fish I’d ever seen, and I caught it. It only weighed 7lb 2oz and to a lot of anglers that would be nothing to get excited about, but this was a Redmire Linear, home of the Leneys and that fish could well have been offspring from The Bishop or any of the other famous Mirrors that swam that pool many moons ago. I released that fish with a grin on my face which I can still feel whilst I type this, a few days later!! Once again I sat outside watching the sun set and awaiting, in hope, that maybe another chance would come my way. Another chilly evening was endured and before long I was tucked up in bed and sleeping at that most magical of places.

I rose on that final morning, a little saddened that I was to leave in a few hours, but amazed at the time I’d had, I felt I’d covered every square inch of water searching for those fish, elusive at times, other times down right blatant but close to impossible to catch. It’s the whole experience of Redmire that appeals to so many, the atmosphere, history, cunning fish, beautiful countryside, it really has got everything. My comanions for the week were also marvellous, both great guys who I’d love nothing more than to share some more time at the pool, or indeed, fishing anywhere else for that matter

The breakfast time take didn’t come that day and I found myself packing away at 10am and setting off around the pool with my camera in had for some last minute shots and my final farewells. It was gorgeous that morning; it was as if Redmire turned on the charm just for me to get some nice shots!! As I sat on the dam for one last time I thanked the pool for being so hospitable and welcoming me once again.

Willow Pitch


The Dam

The Fabulous Pool

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