Yesterday dawned clear and bright and I had it in my head to make the most of the day by heading North with Judy, jumping ship en route at whatever day ticket water I could find at short notice, and having her go on to the relatives, sparing me the ordeal. It's a bit of a stab in the dark going to a water never fished before
,with only flimsy and frankly unreliable reports to go on, no real idea of what the place is like, no clue of what might be encountered and even if the stock is such that catching anything at all is likely.
Out of the many, I whittled the choice down to just a few. My first choice was Tatton Mere, a large estate lake in the grounds of the grand georgian mansion of Tatton Park, a lake that produced the Cheshire carp record just last year, but that on further enquiry was found to be still adhering to the close season, and so it was out of the question. Second choice was a small water that sounded attractive enough in reports but when I finally found a picture it looked like a sewer at the edge of a sink estate. Third choice was going to be the only choice, it seemed.
The Old Sand Pit, Brereton Pool
Brereton Pool in Brereton Country Park is a large old sandpit filled with clear water, surrounded by woodland, and as I was to find out later, a local swimming pool. I really should have thought things through, and chosen somewhere that on a hot sunny day would not attract hoards of boisterous young lads and their pink skinned girlfriends. I took a hike right around the whole fourteen acres of the pit hoping to get a little local knowledge, saw only the one other fisherman who'd set up in a secluded peg deep in the woods, but as I drew closer I saw the inevitable three rod pod with matching accessories of someone who probably could tell me the names of all the resident carp and their historic dimensions, but who I judged, upon years of exasperating experiences of trying to talk sense with carp anglers, would know next to nothing about other fish in the water apart from the fact that they were a pain to crawl out of bed for, variously small, slimy, underpowered and generally unfit for purpose. I wondered for a moment if he would tell me about three pound roach and four pound rudd falling to his boilies, and nearly broke my resolve, but in the end I just couldn't be arsed, so I passed him by and made my way round and back to the first peg on the circuit.
At the waterside I found a staging that was a good six feet above the water! I could lay my rods to point straight out at the water and then go down a little flight of steps and walk about about beneath them. Novel, but a bit brainless. The water was quite clear and the shelf steep, in the shallow margins a jack of five pounds appeared from beneath the bankside bushes, a shoal of a thousand tiny silver fish passed into the swim, divided smartly in two and skirted around him. He stayed quite still. Nothing happened.
Pike in the Shade
I cast a lead into thirty feet of water, decided it was too deep for sweetcorn, retrieved and brought back tackle smothered in silkweed. I decided to move and found some shallows where a double figure carp was patrolling at some speed, in a sort of hurry, looking for scraps of bread perhaps. I set up in a peg where the shallows fell away to what looked like manageable depths and put out some groundbait in four feet of water. A couple of pound bream came into the shallows, moving rapidly, in plain view and not at all perturbed by my presence even when I stood up and walked about, so I put a few grains of corn over their heads to see what they would do - they gobbled them up on the drop and then when no more were forthcoming they smartly cleared off. Clearly a blue, violet and brown check shirt is great camouflage in clear bright conditions against broken shade!
Eventually I started getting the odd bite on the quiver and then a sail away on the float which hooked the inevitable bream, possibly one of my visitors. Next cast, another bite was inexplicably missed, probably the visitors mate..... and that for bites, was that, I had not a nudge the rest of the day.
Landing a Bream