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7-12/02/2011 - Redmire Pool

I arrived at Ross on Wye at 11 am. I met up with Anton and Oz and we had a bite to eat in Morrisons. We set off for the pool just after 12 and drove past Bernithan Court Farm just before 12:30, half an hour too early so we nipped into Llangrove and had a quick pint of Worthingtons in the Royal Arms. After our pint we left for the pool and arrived, once more, at Bernithan. I drove over the cattle grid and along the track; suddenly I could see sparkling water, Redmire Pool, and as we got closer I could see the famous dam!!

The Entrance
The Redmire Dam
Once the cars were parked we went for a stroll around the pool and pointed the various swims. The thing that really shocked me at first was just how small the pool was, I know it�s been said countless times but just how did 3 records come from just a farm pond??
View From The Sluice
View From The Boat House

My favourite was Keffords, this swim was nicely situated on the western bank and was within close proximity of the shallows, where I was hoping to spend most of my days stalking. I made camp and whilst setting up I had mixed emotions, it felt quite awesome that I had finally made it here and at the same time taking in the fabulous atmosphere I also realised that I was also here to try to outwit one of these most prized fish. The swim was beautiful, even in its winter colours.

The Pool from the Dam
Looking Accross to Keffords from the Fence Pitch
I quickly pitched up the bivvy and got out the marker rod to see what�s in front of me. I found that around 1 third of the way across it was nice and clear with straggly weed leading up to it, the plan was to drop my hookbaits just in front of where the weed ends. The rods went out at 10, 12 and 2 o’clock and I scattered a handful of freebies over each rod.

The 4th rod was set up and fished just off the rushes to the right of my swim. To my left were the small islands including the climbing island. I was hoping the sun would be out the following day so I could have a little stalk up there and even a little shimmy up the tree. That evening started off with Blackbirds, Robins and Wrens calling in the hedgerow behind me along with Coots splashing around up in the shallows and a Water rail swam under my rods. Then, as night fell, The Jackdaws started their evening frolics and very noisy they were too!! It was surprising just how dark it was on that first night, and indeed every night, pitch black with no moon.

The night turned fairly cold with rain setting in from 10pm until 2am. At 3am I received a lift on the bobbin on my left hand rod which promptly dropped, just as I was dozing back off it lifted again this time staying up, I dived out and struck into what felt like a decent fish. I played that fish in very carefully hoping and praying it wouldn�t fall off. If I landed this it would be my first fish of the year, my first Leney and my first Redmire carp. Once it was under the rod tip it caused me a few hairy moments but soon enough safely in the net. On the mat I couldn�t believe my eyes, the most beautiful long bronze common Carp, just like the ones I�d seen in the books. I called Anton and he came round to help with the pictures, it weighed 18lb 8oz, a corker. After that I got the rods back out got my head down, buzzing!!

Rods Out Ready For Action
Off The Mark - 18lb 8oz

Monday morning was grey and chilly with a gentle breeze blowing up to the dam. I went for a wander to see how the others had got on and Oz in the Evening had a 3lb Common in the morning. 2 fish out on the first night, not bad going. I walked back to Keffords having a sneaky peak in various spots on the way back and also visited the islands and shallows looking for signs of fish. I saw nothing so got back to my swim and cast the rods back onto their spots. This method had produced for me already so I decided to stick with it for the day. Up in the shallows the Coots were splashing around again, a male Chaffinch visited me briefly and Robins were singing all around the pool. Bacon rolls and tea for breakfast and sleet arrived mid morning with a very cold breeze. The rods were quiet apart from the odd Dabchick swimming into the lines. Time to chill, take it all in and read through a magazine or two. I had fun with a Robin for a while that day; I gave him a few maggots in return for a few nice shots of him perched on my rods.

Mr Robin
Stalking Spot

The Ducks and Coots started to move out from the shallows towards where I was fishing but they posed me no threat as I was fishing in 6 � 7 feet of water and the Swans couldn�t reach either. It tried to snow that afternoon and the swans were being a pest swimming into my lines and clearing out my margin spot. The plan was to get fresh baits on and get ready for the night session. Beef Curry on the menu for Monday night washed down with 2 cups of tea. Just before dark Anton in the Style pitch had a nice 5lb Common. Once again the Jackdaws got noisy just after dark and I could hear the faint drone from the motorway. As it turned out the night was unproductive, for all of us and very cold too.

In the morning I popped into Ross to get supplies and on my return I went up to the shallows to see if I could spot anything. I climbed a tree on the farthest island and saw a few patched on clouded up water. Then I saw a dark shape glide through, that was enough for me, I quickly got 2 rods and soon had 2 criticals with 4 bait stringers on the spot. I sat there for most of that day and read carpworld but nothing came my way, but I didn�t mind, I was fishing opposite the spot Chris Yates caught the Bishop and the sun was shining, what more could I want.

Sunrise
Frosty Start To The Day

I was back to my swim by 3pm and got the rods out. Then I had a late lunch and a couple of mugs of tea, hailstones came and I started getting a few liners, hopeful that something may slip up through the night. The sky that night was clear with the reflection of the stars on the pools surface it was very pretty indeed. All wildlife was quiet, as were the rods until a little before 10pm I had a lift on the right hand rod. I got outside but as I did the bobbin fell back to the ground, I hit it anyway but there was nothing there. An aborted take but still gave me optimism. That one was on a snowman. This came after hearing the third fish of the evening crash out, if they were jumping, they would be feeding. That was the last of the action until I awoke at 3am. I popped outside the bivvy to see the still clear sky, frost in places and a chilly morning.

I decided something had to be done so I changed 2 more rods onto the snowman, if I was to fool another of these wary Carp it would take a certain amount of effort on my part. I was looking forward to capturing on camera my first Redmire sunrise, the previous mornings had been overcast.

The alarm was set for 7am and I woke up just before that, the morning was again cold but the pool was still and it looked like the sun would rise in the North East. I set up the camera on my table with a bucket on top of it; I had forgotten to bring my tripod!!! I got some fairly nice shots and started to think about the shallows again and another crack at those crafty residents.

I got up there about 9:30 am and cast the rods onto the spots, this time they has the snowmen on each. I shimmied up the tree to see if anything was about but all looked quiet. On the way down I heard the spool of my reel revolving so I jumped down, picked up the rod and struck. The fish was on but there was something wrong, the freespool wouldn�t disengage. The fish was kiting towards the snags opposite I held onto the spool and steer the fish into open water, played about with the reel and got it working and then, after a spirited fight got the fish safely in the net. I could see it was a good fish, another Common and back in my swim I weighed it at 21lb 6oz. Oz and Anton came round to do the pictures and the fish was returned. Somebody up there was smiling on me!!!

Swans
Unbelievable - 21lb 6oz

I was made up, 2 winter Redmire Commons; it was all a blur at the time. I calmed myself down and went back for another go. At first all was quiet but then I saw another plume of mud rise from the bottom near my spot. I sat by my rods waiting for it to go off again but the Swan came in for a feed and cleared me out. I had trouble with them on and off all afternoon, they are fairly new to the pool and don�t know the rules!!!

At 2pm I returned to my swim, got the rods out and had a bite to eat. I sat back and reflected upon the week so far. That day started off bright and sunny but eventually got cloudy, windy and snowy. The night was motionless, just as couple of liners and a frost.

I woke at 7am on Thursday, quite sad that the week was almost over but optimistic at the time remaining. It was a bitter start to the day, a Blackbird visited me as he had done most mornings and was given a handful of maggots. I went up to the shallows but there were no signs of fish, they seem to drift in once the sun has risen and started to warm the water. Some men further up from the shallows were cutting down trees with chainsaws and a tractor was ploughing the field behind my swim. Later in the afternoon I noticed a few patches of bubbles on the opposite bank, I put 2 baits on the area but nothing came of it. I got back to my swim sometime after 3pm and, yet again, had the rods placed ready for the night ahead, the last night. I decided I�d like to sit out for as long as possible, read my book and have a nice cup of tea. This didn�t last too long as by dusk my toes and fingers were numb, it was a pleasant hour though.

The far left hand rod I managed to get near to the spot I�d seen the bubblers earlier. I threw a few baits over each rod and put the kettle on. Supper was chicken soup that evening and it was all about laying on the bed listening to all the sounds I�d got familiar with over the week, the Jackdaws, Coots, planes overhead and the distant motorway. Redmire had lived up to my expectations and then some. I felt privileged to have been there and walked the banks, fish a few swims and even to catch a couple of the descendants of legends. 15 years I�ve wanted to fish the pool, even just to visit would have been a dream come true. Fortunately I�ll be returning when she is in her wonderful autumn colours. The night was another cold one, frost on the way no doubt. The frost did come and the night extremely cold, but by morning the frost was less than the previous morning, although there was a small amount of cat ice in the margin near the rushes to my right.

Ready For The Evening
Carpy Heaven

It was a little cloudier on that final morning and as the birds sang it was time for me to start thinking about moving out of what has been home for the week. The rods could stay out for another few hours in the hope that something may take an interest, but as the sun began to rise in the east the sun began to set on this fabulous trip. I reflected upon how amazing it had been, Redmire still has that magic, the same magic I�d read all about so many times and the very same magic I�d just experienced for myself. My maiden voyage had been everything I�d hoped it would be, mystical, emotional and triumphant. I take away with me fond memories, jottings and pictures both in my mind and on my camera. I just wonder what she will look like on my return visit in October and whether she will be as kind to me. But let�s be honest, even a blank week isn�t blank at Redmire, there is so much to see, hear and experience. All the stories come to life and the pictures you�ve had in your mind for so long become reality. With one final salute I said in the words of Chris Yates, �Thank you redmire, and may you always be as beautiful as you are today�.

If heaven is half as wonderful as Redmire, they can come and get me!!!!

Stu.

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