Sunday, 10 April 2011

Easter Work Party @ Redmire

The drive from the south coast to the Welsh border was surprisingly smooth with only two tractors through Newent slowing me down a little. I arrived at the pool at a little after 9am and immediately made my way to what is the most photographed spot in Carp fishing, The Redmire Dam.

First impressions were the same as always, awesome. It’s funny but no matter how many times you look out over the pool, no matter what time of year, it still looks amazing and you cannot help but to feel a little emotional. Then my attention was fixed on the shallows, at first I though the Carp could be frolicking in the morning sunshine, but it was more than that…..they were spawning. The first time I was to witness the spawning of the Redmire Carp, I felt highly privileged that’s for sure.

I walked past the Willow pitch, In willow, on through Keffords and onto the islands swims. There, in front of me were most of the population of Redmire grouped together and seriously going at their annual customary antics. It was quite something watching bronze commons and perfect linears splashing around in full view. Although with the sun opposite I couldn’t see very well so I quickly marched around past The Evening Pitch, Pitchfords and on to Hiltons where all became much clearer.
I sat there in awe for a good hour whilst the whole of the shallows was whipped to foam. It was hard but I managed to drag myself away, pitch up the house and await the arrival of the others in the working party. I would have loved to and could easily have sat at the shallows watching the Carp all day, all weekend, but there was work to do. Les had hired a wood chipper, the first time I’d used such a tool but it made light work of the sticks and branches that were lying around in the field adjacent to the pool.
Whilst a few of us cleared the piles of wood, Nick and Les made a start with the chainsaws removing dead branches, clearing pathways and making the place look tidy ready for the forthcoming season. Throughout the season, minimal work tales place (except for the emergency work undertaken by Les) so not to disturb the anglers who wait long periods to realise their dreams. So, during the closed season, work parties take place and any work needed is strategically planned towards the end of the season and a list of jobs is compiled.

Due to the fact that the pool froze fairly early this winter, the weed was still quite high, blanket weed sat on this old Canadian making it look fairly thick around the edges of the pool. On the second day of work a breeze sprang up pushing down towards the dam and we took advantage of this by removing some of the bricks from the sluice and let the pressure push the floating weed over and away. I donned the waders, climbed into the pool and helped the weed on its way, in half an hour we managed to clear a fair bit but back on the dam it was evident that I’d only scratched the surface.

The wood chippings were put to good use with a liberal scattering in each swim. Although very bright in appearance we knew that with a little weathering and treading in it would soon look great. Pitchfords had a large gap at the front of the swim so Les and I repaired this and returned it to its former glory. All the while the Carp continued their courtship making focus and concentration difficult as you can well imagine.

Every morning I was up at the crack of dawn, walked the banks and took photos. Tea was consumed on the dam and once everyone had woken we visited Ross for a hearty breakfast to set us up for the hard day ahead.

With another work party planned and another list of jobs to get through, I have no doubt the pool will be looking as magical as ever by the time the 16th of June comes around. It was great meeting the other members of the work party, we did some serious work in some seriously hot conditions but there was no complaining, just everyone pulling together in an effort to keep Redmire at the forefront of historical Carp fishing, well managed, well maintained and the theatre of dreams for so many.

On Sunday evening we sat around outside the bivvies, drank tea and chatted about all things Redmire until the small hours. It was very pleasant and the company was excellent. I applaud the workers this weekend for their efforts, made some new friends and it was great to spend time with old ones.

As we left on Monday morning the Carp looked to have got the spawning out of the way and were busy feasting upon the hoards of Tadpoles hung up in the weed. The sun was shining, Buzzards and Gulls soared upon the thermals and the steady breeze was still blowing down the pool. It was difficult to prise myself away, but somehow I managed it.

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