Article - Coarse


By Mike, added on 22/10/2007

Stardate Captains Log; Sunday 14 October 2007

I was down at Lamb Street outdoor market. This lovely market is here every Thursday, the stall holders’ selling all kinds of antique small items; jewellery, fabrics, clothes, general bric-a-brac, books, small furniture items, medals, stamps, plus a vast array of memorabilia. There are I guess over forty stalls in all, but the one I was heading for, was John Andrews fishing tackle stall. John seems to specialise in second hand & antique fishing tackle. You will see items displayed on the cloth, which you may not have seen since you were a kid just starting to learn the ropes. I was looking for a centrepin. I was after a nice centrepin, large diameter with a wide drum. I wanted something for long trotting with a 3 or 4lb line. Not too pricey, nice & smooth & not sounding like a block & tackle when the ratchet was on.

Amongst the mass of alien faces, I suddenly saw a familiar one, it was John. He looked better without his regular hat on. I looked at his head, wandering from the two of us, who looked like they had the most grey hair. I think John just took it.

We chatted fishing, then the conversation turned to the impending weekend. There was to be a gathering of fisher types & we were going to go fishing on the river Wye in mid Wales. Then John suddenly announced, very casually ‘I think Keith is trying to organise a trip to Redmire on Sunday morning’. Redmire - Just the name of the place conjures up those images of red silty water, deep weedy water & dark carp, huge mirror carp almost black. ‘Was I interested in going?’ You would think anyone offered such an opportunity would immediately reply – of course! My response was hesitant. I have read so much about Redmire, its fishers & fishes, my concern was that I did not want to be disappointed. I did not want my vivid imagination to be let down. After I thought about for a few seconds, I thought I just had to go. I may never get another chance.

On Sunday morning, our rendezvous point was a café near by. As we pulled into the car park, our host Martin Mumby, stood dressed in green with his arms folded across his chest. I had never met Martin before, but as soon as we entered the car park, I knew it was him. He politely greeted us & asked us to follow him on the short drive to Redmire. Suddenly the great adventure became real & had really come alive. The hours drive to get here immediately forgotten.

We took a left turn into a narrow lane, the road winding slightly, then after a mile or so slowly rising up over a hill & down the other side. I always wandered, & yes, Redmire really was hidden from every road. Unless you knew specifically where it was, any prospector would never find it. The entrance to the farm had a small sign by the entrance, the name of the farm bearing no resemblance to that magical name that has excited so many over the years. There were no fishing signs, no evidence nor clues to the existence of a fishing pond. We turned right onto the farm track, bumped along the track, then had to turn onto the grass to pass the stubborn sheep, refusing to budge from the track. Our host Martin, stopped his car in front, got out & opened a metal gate. We all drove through, took a left turn down another track, parking our cars at the bottom of the hill.

Down in front of us was a copse. Through the trees I could see the glint of water. I recognised where we were, I had seen many photographs of Morris Travellers & Clubman estates, parked in the same spot. Fishing rods propped up against their sides, respective owners taking puffs from their pipes. It felt very humbling, even just to be standing here in the same spot. The thing which was immediately overwhelming for me, was just how exciting it must have been for the Redmire pioneers, coming fishing to such a place, containing unknown monster carp, which would heavily belittle present records.

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I swapped my shoes for my wellies, picked up my camera & followed my host. We crossed over a stile & joined a path. We had joined the pool, on the right hand bank looking up from the damn. The damn was twenty yards to my left, stretching left to right.

I was strangely familiar with the first pitch. I had never been here physically, but actually standing here, it was like some sort of confirmation ‘yip, I remember the Jack Hilton scene here in this book & I can recall the Scene in that book’. Martin informed up this was where Chris Yates hooked the twenty three pound common in the Passion for Angling Midsummer Madness episode. I think we all knew, but it to hear it confirmed from our host Martin, was quite something….we were reliving snippets of history.

We followed the path left, before it turned right across the damn, passing over the overflow. Here was the fence. That fence which was in so many photographs. Redmire would not look the same without it, that very fence was as much as part of Redmire as the lake itself. You can see the punt in the photo also.

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It all seemed quite surreal. As we slowly moved along the bankside, gathering together again at each swim, Martin politely gave the names of each pitch. It was like tasting different good quality malt whiskies. Like you know most of their names, but the confirmation of each one brings a smile of satisfaction to your face. Martin’s comments included; ‘This is Pitchford’s, this is the Willows, this is where Dick Walker landed the forty four pounder in 1952, this is where Chris Yates landed the fifty pounder in 1980’. I thought it similar to some kind of open air museum. Lets’ just call it a place of great heritage.

Half way around & I was bursting for a pee. I did the polite thing & loitered behind while the group slowly moved forward. I sidled up to an available tree & did the deed. During the act, I suddenly started chuckling. I was wandering how many great anglers on the banks had pee’d up this same tree! Talking of which, we then shortly passed by the wooden toilet, built forty years ago by one of those pioneering anglers. It is not a toilet now, it’s tilting slightly, but is still more of a monument than a toilet.

A fellow visitor & I stopped at the spot where the fifty pounder was landed. Keith sat down on a tree stump. He looked out over the pool, scanning the surface. He didn’t say anything, neither did I. We didn’t need to, silence was better & at this moment & more appropriate. I think we both knew each others thoughts, reflecting on what events had taken place here.

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There was lots of weed in the swim, growing up from the bottom, forming small soft clumps on the surface. Two commons leaped out, the water at this end of the pool was murky, some of the Redmire carp had been, & by the looks of things, some were still feeding.

Further round the pool, a few coots were ducking & diving for bits of weed & other tit bits of food. The resident moorhens were clucking about their daily chores. They went about their business, & probably had been for a generation, completely oblivious to the grand events & the past secrecy & mystery surrounding this little pool.

Our editor John (editor?  - J), has attached some of the photos I took on Sunday morning. You no doubt have seen the same views before, many times, but I am sure you will enjoy them all the same.

Before I came, I mentioned I had some reservations about coming here. I am so glad I had the opportunity but then took it. From what I saw & heard, Redmire is in safe hands. I was a little surprised to hear that spodding & bait boats were permitted. Redmire is a small pool, so why would be wish to gate crash the tranquillity bombing it to oblivion? Just an opinion I suppose. On a much more positive note, our host Martin; sounded so very passionate about this place, which is what we need. The future of Redmire, at least short to medium term looks good. Please don’t lets turn this place into some kind of theme park, that would be a true catastrophe. Keep things just as they are, as they are now. It brings me to a phrase I often use ‘no one can own land, you are just a temporary custodian, until the next person comes along’

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