Sunday, 10 February 2013

A day on the Colne with Paul Cook

It all began with me dropping Paul a line asking if he would be attending the Romsey Vintage Tackle fair. He was unsure as to whether he would make it but said we should arrange a day’s fishing, just to be on the safe side. Paul kept an eye on his local River Colne over the following weeks, waiting for a gap in the rain when the river could have half a chance to fine down and offer us a chance for the long awaited meet. Finally the rain subsided long enough for levels to drop and I received the message from Paul that things were looking just about right.

Paul told me that the day would include spending some time in the mill pool, then we’d roam the river covering quite some distance in the hope of finding a few little gems to trot. Tackle would have to be kept to the absolute minimum as there was to be lots of walking involved, but that suited me down to the ground, travelling, stalking and carrying very little in the way of kit is something I’d got used to since long session angling had no interest to me anymore.

Travelling light....


Kit and bait was sorted on Saturday afternoon so it was a simple case of loading the car Sunday morning at around 8am heading northbound for Watford. I got there early, I always allow for traffic and if it doesn’t come then I usually arrive half an hour or so before I should. Paul greeted me and after meeting the family we enjoyed a nice cup of tea and chatted in the garden for the best part of two hours. We spoke of many things, tackle, fishing, more tackle and a bit more fishing…then decided we should stop gassing and head down to the river.

With the tackle in the back of my car we set off for the river Colne, a short journey from Paul’s place, arriving at the car park after only five or so minutes. Loaded with our lightened loads I followed Paul through a pathway of hedges and over a bridge to the mill pool. The pool looked lovely, quite sizeable with water rushing in to my right and back out down to the main river to the left, in-between there was a large expanse of water swirling around. Here Paul told me we should have fun with roach, pristine roach that could be as large as a pound.

I set up my Wizard with a trotting centrepin and Avon style float. Paul gave me the nod of approval, helped with the shotting pattern I’d need and pointed out the areas he though the roach would be lying. He also told me there could be a chance of dace, chub and perch, but as with all rovers, it very much depends on the day. I started fishing and, just as Paul said, started catching superb roach, perfect looking bars of silver with hues of sky blue that shimmered as they wriggled to break free.

One Happy Angler


We fished the mill pool for the best part of an hour, then decided to explore more of the river. It was smaller than I’d expected, and I was quite happy with that, my local river is very similar and I think given the chance I’d sooner fish these smaller, more intimate rivers than the larger ones. The next pool Paul put me into was a shallow glide after a blockage caused by a fallen tree, here he told me there can be large shoals of fish at certain times of the year, but after a dozen trots through I only managed one roach/bream hybrid (which I mistook for a new record dace!).

Lovely, even in winter

Tools of the trade...


Bit by bit we searched out likely looking spots, catching more roach and hybrids and stopping for regular flask breaks. We had roamed around two thirds of the stretch when we decided to return to the mill pool for the last hour’s fishing before dusk. The pool was only a couple of minutes from the car too so it was the best option all round. We caught more roach, both of us catching fish of a slightly better stamp than in the morning. And again, we chatted like a pair of old women. When it was too difficult to see my float we called it a day, returned to the car and back to Paul’s.

Paul trotting the end of the pool


There we warmed up (that first hand wash after being out all day in winter takes some beating!) sat at the dining table and waited to find out what the wonderful smell coming from the kitchen was. Soon enough, and after even more chatting and looking through Paul’s impressive Leather book collection, we were tucking into Barbara’s wonderful beef stew with roast potatoes and lots of crusty bread. And if that wasn’t enough, we had apple crumble with cream afterwards!

It was almost 9pm and I needed to get home, so I bid Paul and his lovely family farewell, thanked him for his marvellous hospitality and left for home with three superb new floats to add to my collection. Hopefully we4’ll get to fish together again before the river season closes, I’ll let you know if we do.

Amazing craftwork.


Check out Paul's wonderful website...