Monday, 17 January 2011

The Grandness and the Blandness of Coombe Pool

In the 1770's gangs of Irish Navvies set to work digging massive holes in the ground all over the country. The largest hole they excavated in what is now the City of Coventry is a moot point. It is the near five miles of canal between the centre of town and Longford junction, or else it is Lancelot 'Capability' Brown's masterpiece of a lake at Coombe Abbey. Well, I have worked out that the 5 mile canal stretch is a sheltered and remarkably paltry 18 acres in total at an average width of thirty feet, whereas Coombe Pool with its total length of 1.6 miles and its average width of say, 300 feet, is a windswept and remarkable 60 acres. Of course, as a feat of engineering and elbow grease the canal wins hands down as the lake merely required the damming of the Smite Brook and the shifting of vastnesses of earth, whereas the canal had not only to be accurately cut through hillocks and embanked across valleys but also puddled with clay the whole length to stop the water from draining away.

Last Friday morning I met with Keith for a day long social and had the experience of fishing both waterways on the same day for the same fish species. I had two predator rigs and rods already set up in the rod holdall from the previous pike and zander session with again with Keith on the Coventry canal (where I hilariously/frustratingly managed all five runs out of the total of our four rods and four of them off a patch of water just a yard square, but missed two and caught only three tiny zander of rapidly diminishing significance) to so I took these outfits along for the morning session at Coombe. I baited and cast them straight out without altering a thing. The depth of the pool was exactly that of the canal and not only that, but it was the same depth absolutely everywhere I cast. Within just a few hours fishing from three or four pegs I had come to the realisation that the entire 60 cares was probably exactly the same depth too with the only feature in the entire lake seeming to me to be the entire three mile round trip of the margins of the bank...

It was terribly grand and quite ravishing, actually. Well manicured too. The fact that any cast anywhere seemed as good as any other was a trifle offputting, a match organisers delight, perhaps, but a specimen hunters worse nightmare! This is the kind of lake where catching a very large zander for instance, and there are some knocking on the door of the British record, is not a matter of skill as such but really only one of sheer bloody-minded, six rods out on three rod licenses (two rods per) for six days of every week of the entire year endurance, or blind pot-luck, or gifted serendipity.

I knew I would not even get a run let alone catch a fish. I didn't mind. I whiled away the fruitless hours just thinking about the mind boggling stats associated with the monstrous blandness of a lake four feet deep or so over all its massive expanse and without any significant variation. I'll guess that I am not the first to do so, and nor will I be the last...

In the evening we cut and ran for the surety of the canal where Keith too suffered one of the micro zander, possibly even one of the actual ones I caught the day before, and I fluffed a further two runs to blank the entire day long.

Ah well, the pub was close and warm and the beer and company as good as it ever was, so who cares...?


  1. Jeff, your last photo seems to suggest that you're carrying out a function that most anglers feel the need to do, especially after drinking too much coffee. Were you making an offering to the predator gods?

  2. Coombe is a funny old lake. I have had a testing relationship with it for as long as I can remember. Most of the time it performs so badly you don't ever want to go back. But then one day it gives you everything you want and more. I know it contains some huge bream, my best being 9lb. I have seen a crucian of nearly 4lb on the bank. obviously there's the night shift (Zander) but its the pike that intrigue me... What can a lake where the dominate species is bream, that regularly turns up near twenties contain in regards to monster pike when more than 70% of the lake is unreachable casting a dead bait?

  3. I have a feeling I'll be seeing quite a bit of Coombe this year. Those crucians you mention, Danny, are one of my targets as I believe that the lake may well contain a fish that'll smash the crucian record to pieces. If you have seen a four pounder, and I've heard of another two at that weight then in a lake that size they will go bigger still because of the laws of probability say that they will.

    The thing is, hardly anyone knows how to fish for crucians. It's a high art is crucian fishing and general pleasure anglers who are waiting for positive bites will catch plenty of roach, rudd, bream, tench, what have you, but only ever a mug crucian.

    99.99% of all good crucian bites go undetected, is what I'm saying...

    Dave, I have been known to make libations to the Gods of Fishing and with great success! It's worth placating anything that might oppose a happy outcome...