Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Two PDAS Legends ."The Daddy" & "The Woodcarving"

Two of my favourite captures, both caught on PDAS waters and both very special to me.....
The Daddy
13th May 2009, unlucky for some…….

I wasn’t going to fish that evening, the forecast was terrible and, to be honest, I just didn’t fancy it. But, as the day wore on and the conditions were once again proving the forecasters wrong I thought a quick hour or so with one rod and some crust could be worth a go……

I got to the lake at a little after five pm and wandered down to the end pegs where casting your crust to the reeds is just a gentle underarm flick, but as I got there I saw the bailiffs were working on building some new steps. Disappointed that my original plan had been foiled I trudged back along the paths half heartedly looking into a couple of swims for some inspiration but it just wasn’t to be. I decided to call it a day early and head for home, but on the way back to the car park I looked across to the last swim on the opposite bank (Andy’s) and decided on an hour in there, “free-lined flake for the tench could be fun” I thought to myself.

Once in the swim I cast out a piece of flake just where the overhanging marginal tree touched the water, an area I’ve had tench from in the past. Whilst awaiting a twitch where the line entered the water I flicked a few chunks of crust under a bush to my right and carried on watching the line for any movement. After just a few minutes I heard those all too familiar tell-tale “Shlurps” coming from under the bush and watched on as the pieces of crust disappeared, although it was very cut back and dark so I couldn’t see the culprit, but it was definitely a carp. I quickly reeled in, attached a piece of crust to the hook and after dipping it to add a little weight I swung it pendulum like and made the cast to where the activity had been, right under the overhang. The fish must have semi spooked as there were no sounds for the next five minutes, but soon enough it was back and had no hesitation in taking the hook-bait and trying it’s best to gain sanctuary among the roots and snags.

After one hell of a short and very powerful fight I slipped the net what I thought was a sizeable fish, little did I know until I tried to lift the net how big it was. On the matt it looked a monster, I weighed it and kept looking at it, such an impressive fish, such a big frame. It was later confirmed that it was, indeed, a fish known as “The Daddy”, the second largest in the lake, and off the top! She weighed 26lb 12oz, a new PB Mirror and I was one very happy chappy! To think I nearly never went, and when I did I got despondent because I couldn’t get where I wanted, just goes to show you…



The Woodcarving

Summer 08 saw me starting to get the feeling I’d outgrown the runs waters I’d been fishing for a while, I felt myself starting to yearn for a bigger challenge. It was time to leave the easier waters behind and seek something with more of a reward at the end, and I had just the water in mind, one that had been popping into my thoughts on and off for quite some time now, one of the premier carp waters in the area. Here I could fish for “Proper Lookers”, fish with names, but most importantly, it was a time when I took my fishing to the next level.

I booked in to do my first session on a Saturday night, end of June. I was ready to go a few sessions without result, that goes with the territory on these harder waters but, I had confidence. During that first trip I fell in love with the place, it was like Redmire in a way, dam one end, stream running in at the other, and some very special looking carp, with gorgeous surroundings and also unseen monsters, I was quite positively buzzing but knew this would be no pushover, hard work, determination and plenty of blanks go with the territory. I needn’t have worried though as the water was very kind to me and gave up one of its secrets on that very first session. It was a small stocky of just under 15lbs, and the seed had been sown.

Funnily enough that fish was to be my last for a while. I put in a fair bit of time, more a campaign that I’d been used to, evenings were squeezed in and even overnighters after and before work, in all I went on to fish 14 sessions without a run. Monday the 18th August was when it all started to come good. I put it down to a tip off and a new bait but that night I had not one but two runs resulting in two twenty’s, a common of 25lbs 2oz and a mirror of 23lbs 6oz. I was elated, not only had I found the fish but this new bait worked a treat. I was back on the Thursday, same swim, same bait. The beauty of the midweek overnighters was that there was never anybody else around, it was hard work finishing work at half 4, getting to the pool and set up by just after 5, then pack up in the morning at 6am to get to work at 7, but this is the effort needed if you’re to get the rewards. That Thursday I hooked a fish from the far bank spot but the hook pulled.

I was back the following Tuesday and little did I know that this was to be one of the most memorable nights fishing I’d ever had, before or since. I finished work as usual at 4:30pm and arrived at an empty car park at 5 to 5. The swim I was fishing was the closest to the carp park so first job was to wander down and put a few handfuls of bait over the spots. There was a nice overhanging tree down to left on the inside margin, the bottom here was gravely and produced one of the twenty’s the week before. It was just a case of dropping the lead off the rod tip on this spot. The right hand rod was fished to the far margin, only 20 or so yards away but as this end of the pool is like a triangle, that margin gets further away the more you look along it, culminating eventually where the big Willow lies at around 60 yards and then the reed beds before the opposite swim.

The rods were on their spots, house built and kettle on by 5:45pm. It was a fairly drab evening, slight breeze and that really annoying drizzle that gets everything really wet without you realising it until you touch something. Another cup of tea and a snack and 9pm came and went, around the time of my good fortune a week previous just as it started to get dusky. I climbed into the bag at 10:15pm and just as I got settled an Owl called out. The drizzle continued and the breeze swung round, I was only using a basic type oval brolly at that time and remember that the rain was starting to speckle my forehead. I repositioned the bedchair further inside to give a little more protection and was soon asleep. At 1:30am and I was woken by a fast run on my right hand rod, I leapt up, slipped on my Crocs and prepared to do battle with something very powerful out there in the dark. So many times during that fight I pictured I my head that little size 8 hookm, praying all the time it would stay in, but my prayers fell on deaf ears and after a minute or two the rod sprang back limp.

I cursed my bad luck, put the kettle on, scattered a few more baits over the spot and recast the rod once again as close as possible to the far bank marginal cover. I was sitting on the edge of the bed sipping tea and shaking my head in disbelief at losing now two fish in as many trips when the same rod, only just recast, burst back into life. I dropped the cup, gripped the rod butt and once again the test curve was tested to the max. This one powered up the far margin away from me towards the big Willow, I kept steady pressure on as I’d heard somewhere there were some nasty snags under its branches. Just beyond the Willow, the reed beds were another safe sanctuary the fish could try to reach. Luckily, just before the Willow the fish turned right and swam towards the centre of the pool, all the time the fish dictating what was happening, although I did my best to stay in some sort of control. Then my worst nightmare, just as I was thinking I had it beat, all went horribly solid. It had found a thick weed-bed and was stuck fast; I kept steady pressure on for what seemed like ages, standing out there in the pitch black, the drizzle, hoping someone up there would come to my rescue. Then, after a minute or two it started moving, I started to gain a few feet of line back on the reel. Whatever was on the other end was extremely heavy but wasn’t kicking at all so at this point I didn’t know if there was a fish there or just a huge mass of weed. It must have taken a good 10 – 15 minutes to pump it ashore and in the headlamp beam all I could see was a massive clump of weed. Once over the net cord I dropped the rod and hoisted the mass up and onto the unhooking mat.

So, there was I, rain still falling, arms aching and still I’m none the wiser as to whether I’ve actually got a fish to show for it all. I tore at the weed bit by bit anxious to reveal its secret, then I caught a glimpse of a bronze flank, a common, but how big? Huge was the answer, certainly bigger than I’d ever seen on the bank anyway. I couldn’t believe my eyes; I was well and truly astounded. Once all the weed was cleared away, there on the mat lay the most beautiful dark bronze carp and definitely larger than my 26lb PB that was for sure. I got the scales ready and the reading was a little over 30lbs, a quick wipe to remove the rain from the scales face and a more accurate reading of 30lbs 6oz was recorded. I thought at the time that it could be the famous Woodcarving common, although I’d never seen it before; it was later confirmed to be that fish. I sacked the fish in the margin for ten minutes to calm myself and the great fish down a bit, dry my hands and get the camera and tripod ready for a few self takes. Luckily she behaved impeccably and I managed to get some really nice shots. I released my prize, sighed a deep sigh and let out a little “Yes”, and just as I did, the Owl called out once again as if in acknowledgement of the recent events, perhaps he’d witnessed the whole thing.

I went about texting a few pals to tell of my good fortune and once the rod was back on the spot I climbed back into the bag and dreamt of big bronze commons. At 4am I was woken again by the sound of the alarm singing in the night, same rod and once again I was in. This time a small stocky mirror of just over 13lbs was landed and quickly returned. Six am found me waking to the alarm on my phone, time to pack away. Somehow I didn’t much feel like work that day,  I spent most of the day daydreaming, longing for my next visit to the pool…

The mighty Woodcarving...


  1. A couple of truly gorgeous fish. Where where they from?

  2. TF

    The Daddy lives in Soake, and the Woodcarving lives in Brownwich