Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Redmire Pool November 2013

Here is the account of my previous visit to the pool as published in Angling Times for the benefit of those who didn't see it...

When someone mentions Redmire Pool, most will immediately think of Richard Walker, Chris Yates and possibly, Jack Hilton. Black and white photos, a weedy farm pond that held monsters and the glory days of carp fishing when the path was laid for the recreation we know and love today. But it doesn’t have to be so vague, so yesterday and so nostalgic.

Yes, it would be magnificent to travel back in time to witness first hand each of the many milestones as they occurred, even to see the pool when it was much younger, more mysterious, perhaps when the old willow was still thriving, when leviathans still roamed. But you see, most of these things are still present, if you believe and if you travel there with the right mind-set, then the magic that is Redmire Pool will be quite obvious. From the day you arrive to the day you leave(and longer) the mystical atmosphere of the 50’s can be with you.

My most recent trip was no different to any other; the pool was just as special as it will always be one of my favourite places. It was mid-November, Paul, Steve, Alan and I were to spend four nights at that pool of dreams, and having not met any of my companions before there was the added excitement of making new and like-minded friends. Although it was my sixth visit, it was just still as electrifying as the first time I rolled down the hill with one thing on my mind, looking out from the dam.

Probably the most famous and photographed view in carp fishing is theRedmire dam, and yes, I still get slightly emotionalwhen I think of the legends of the past who have looked out from that very spot, dangled a line and on occasion caught great carp. It was Steve’s first time at Redmire so allowed him to have his moment alone, and it was clear this moment meant a lot to him.

The weather was more akin to autumn than winter, yes it was chilly, but we experienced no frosts during our stay and that first afternoon was sunny and fairly warm. On our first walk around we spotted the tell-tale sign of carp feeding at the shallow end of the pool, great clouds of dark red silt billowing up like great terracotta columns rising from the lake bed as carp sifted through the silt in search of food. This is always a sight to get the heart racing and to think about rushing feverishly back to the car to fetch a rod.

We drew straws to pick swims, Paul drew the longest one and opted for the Willow Pitch, Alan set up in Pitchford’s, Steve plumped for Stumps and I chose the Evening Pitch as my base camp. Just as soon as my shelter was built I was off round the pool with enough kit to spend the rest of the afternoon stalking the shallows from Climbing Island. It was wonderful being there watching the world go by, there were no takers even though there were clearly fish present, but it mattered not and just before tea time I deposited some free offerings around the area and made my way back to base for the night.

As night drew in and darkness fell Redmire came alive, for it is through the hours of nightfall that the mind can really begin to wander. Images are more vivid, as are the thoughts ofour heroes, Walker, Quinlan, Pitchford, Taylor et al, who would have all at some point fished this very pitch, hoping as I did for some action although for me on this occasion it wasn’t the be all and end all, for angling, especially at a place such as this, is not all about catching. It was Bernard Venables in 1968 who asked “An angler, surely, is not just a catcher of fish?”

Morning came, breakfast passed and soon after I made my way back to the shallows. All looked to be rather quiet, perhaps I’d beaten the carp to it so proceeded to cast my two rods into position and sat back to enjoy the day. Throughout the morning I kept an eye on the patch of water in front of me and it was only when the swan arrived and started to feast upon the bait I’d deposited the evening before that I realised the carp weren’t coming. Nevertheless, a morning spent in the shallows is a morning to savour, the spot just to your left where Yates caught his record, ‘Hilton’s’ or the ‘38 Pitch’ opposite you and the old toilet, better known as ‘The Thunder Box’, directly behind you.

A brainwave just before dark saw me dismantling camp and moving all my things into Keffords. The thinking behind it was that I could be up bright and early and into the shallows without too much disturbance or kerfuffle. I like Keffords, mostly because it was the first pitch I ever fished at Redmire, and was where I caught my first Redmire carp, so I will always have a soft spot for it. With the rods cast out it was time to settle back, fire up the Kelly Kettle and think about what to have for dinner. The night was a cold one with a clear sky and a billion stars. The owls helped set the scene as I drifted off to dream of days gone by.

Day three was the kind of day that can transport you back to a time when life was lived at a much slower pace. It was over cast for the most part, the air was ever so slightly damp and my coat stayed zipped up for the duration. The shallows were quiet once again, it seemed as though the carp needed a little sun on their backs if they were to visit, so with that in mind I left Keffords and returned to the deeper waters of the Evening Pitch for the remainder of the trip.

On the final day of the trip just as I was thumbing through a copy of Creel magazine I heard a delightful buzzing coming from one of my ‘Heron’ alarms. The result, and after a spirited battle with the old split cane creaking nicely, was one of Redmire’s jewels in the shape of a stunning common carp just shy of 16lbs. Although there is no such thing as a failure at Redmire, it is always nice to kneel on the dam with a carp in your hands. After the photos were done I returned my prize back to the pool and thanked Isaac for sending me such a special gift.

Perhaps the antiquated tackle I use allows me to get closer to the spirit of Redmire, perhaps it’s the mind-set I arrive with, whatever it is,I am somehow permitted to unlock Redmire’s secrets and for that I thank the legends of the past every time I leave the pool for the wonderful gift they have given us.

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