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Redmire Pool Report by Stu Harris - August 2011

A real summer session at last, that's what was going through my head for days after phone wars day. I was trying, with others, to get a 5 day slot for 4 of us. But, as I got through I was told there was a 5 day August slot but only for two. As hard a decision it was but I had to take my angling buddy Tony along as he'd dreamt of the place, read all my books and seen all the films but never ever visited. So it was set, we had the best part of six months to plan everything so we got together regularly be it at his flat or on the bank and didn't stop talking Redmire Pool the whole time.

The time finally came to set off for the pool. The journey all told took around two and a half hours and was spent, mostly, singing Oasis songs at the top of our voices. To say we were excited would have been the understatement of the year. He wanted to get there for the first time and I wanted to see the look on his face. We arrived at the New Inn somewhere around 11:30am and met up with Les, David and Colin. David and Colin were to be our companions for the 5 days and as soon as we all met up and started talking it was apparent that we all had that one special thing in common, "A Passion for Redmire".

Les filled us in on what had been happening down at the pool over previous weeks and all the way through breakfast and lemonade I could think of only one thing, eating as quickly as possible and getting to the pool. We left the pub just before one and made our way to Bernithan Court Farm. Once in the car park we made straight for the dam, Colin, David and I sat on the bench and gave Tony his moment, the first glimpse of that so beautiful view. And the first words that came from his lips……."Tiny innit!!!" Not quite what I was expecting but well said I suppose, besides, that's the general feeling when anybody stands there for the first time. I think, to be honest, Hugh Miles did a great job of making the pool look like a massive pit.

The Famous Redmire Dam
My Swim

So, after a good walk around we had to settle on swim choices. Tony and I preferred to fish adjacent swims if possible and the guys decided that it would be fitting to let Tony have first choice of swim as it was his first time. Now that may sound quite straight forward, but he's the type of angler who can turn up at a lake, walk around for 4 or 5 hours, not like what he sees and head off home. Things were made a little easy for him here though as the sheer number of fish present at the dam end of the pool twisting and turning through the thickest of the weed. He decided to set up stall in The Willow Pitch so I opted to jump next door in the In Willow Swim. David chose Stumps and Colin settled into The Evening Pitch.

The first thing I did was retrieve the marker rod from the bag and swung a lead through the swim to gauge what was in front of me. There was a fair bit of weed around but nice clear strips in between. The foliage above was quite low so no overhead casting could be achieved, so it was gentle underarm flicks to the spots once I had clipped up and marked the lines. Bait for me and Tony were the Sausage Oil boilies we always use everywhere we go and rigs were kept simple with a small piece of shrink tube kicked over above the eye of the hook to aid turning. I fished with 2oz leads and Tony opted for 1oz. By 4pm we were sat back soaking up the wonderful Redmire atmosphere with the rods doing their thing wondering if the rain would return. That first day wasn't the best day weather wise, in fact the rain fell all the while we walked around choosing swims, but it looked to be great Carp weather so were in good spirits from the start.

All afternoon, as we set up and a while after the sheep in the nearby field were being very noisy, but by tea time they started to wander off and it became suddenly quiet. The plan was to fish the swims through the evening and to the morning and after breakfast we'd get up to the shallows and see if we could stalk one out. I really wanted a Carp from the surface of Redmire as I hadn't done that yet so that was high on my list of priorities. Funny enough the shallows looked fairly devoid of fish on our first walk around, the majority of them were in front of the first few swims either side, but as we all know, that can all change in the blink of an eye.

The first of the action came quite early on, at around 6pm. Tony and I was enjoying a toast to the Carp gods, a glass of Cabernet Shiraz was in hand and we were flicking through the Redmire Pool book gawping at the stunners that have lived here over the years. Just then my left hand rod (we only used two each at the start) was away and I was soon on contact with my first carp of the session. I played that first fish in very gingerly, I always do and it was rolling around on the surface a couple of rod lengths out when the hook pulled and the rod sprang back. I was a low double common, I was understandably upset at the loss but at the same time happy that I'd received a take so early on and felt confident that more action would come our way. As I recast the rod the rain started again with a light drizzle that peppered the surface of the pool.

The first Carp of the session went to Tony next door in The Willow Pitch. The time was around 7:15pm, not too long after my loss and he was determined not to lose his first ever Redmire Carp. I slipped the net under a pristine common of 13lb 10oz and we jumped around a bit as the excitement was too much to bear. I congratulated him, shook his hand and took some pictures of his prize before releasing the fish and allowing him to get his rod back out and continue fishing.

The Smile Says It All...
Off The Mark...

During dusk I settled into my bag, we were shattered from the journey, the excitement and seeing a fish on the bank so early. As I laid back I could hear the Owls calling, a blackbird and the odd fish crash down towards the shallows. I hadn't long got comfortable; it was around 9pm, when my left hand rod was away again. I leapt out of bed, slipped on my footwear and struck into another Carp. The fish got weeded early on and came towards me kicking a little but mainly gliding into the net being held out by Tony. Not a big fish but at 9lb 9oz it meant I too was off the mark on the first evening.

It was a dream start for us, soon after the photos were done and the fish returned, we set about making a cuppa, chatting a while about the result we'd had and about the potential for a days stalking next day. I left Tony once more at around 10:30 and returned to my bed. For a while I sat listening to rain gently falling on the bivvy roof but I was soon asleep and being woken at 1:40am by a few bleeps on my right hand rod. I watched as the bobbin flew all the way up, the tip pulled round a little but then all settled back to how it was previous, very strange.

My Swim

I woke on Monday morning at around 5am. Peered out and was met with the most amazing sight, there was a high mist creeping across the pool and it looked amazing. I quickly grabbed my camera, wound the rods in and trotted round to the dam; I just had to capture this. The Pool looked awesome, the best I'd ever seen it and I snapped away at one of the most beautiful mornings I'd ever witnessed.

On the way back from the dam I heard Tony's alarm and as I got to him he had just struck into another Carp. As I had the camera in my hand I thought it would be rude not to take a quick action shot for him.

I netted Tony's second of the session, a bigger fish at 15lb 10oz and after shaking his hand once more we visited the dam to get some shots of him holding his prize with the spectacle behind him. A shot full of atmosphere!

Once back in my own swim I sat and drank a cup of tea, made Tony and I a bacon sandwich and thought about visiting the shallows with a stalking rod, perhaps the floater gear. The sun, by now was a couple of rod lengths above the open pitch ad it looked to be the beginning of a glorious day. Surely the carp would soon, if not already, be wandering off to the shallows in search of some summer sunshine on their dark flanks. I pieced together my Barbel rod, set up for floater fishing and made my way to the shallows at a little before 8am. I looked around from the islands for a while but it was apparent that the fish weren't there yet. I returned to my swim and visited Tony just in time to see him land Carp number three, another beautiful mid double common at 15lb 4oz. We took the pictures in Climo's to my left as the light seemed to be good in there.

Number 3 For Tony
A Misty Morning On The Dam

At around 10am we set off for town, we needed to visit the tackle shop and Sainsbury's so thought we'd make the one trip early and not have to leave for the remainder of our stay. We arrived back from Ross at just after 1pm and Tony opted to get his rods back out in The Willow Pitch for the day. I, however, was gagging to try for a Carp from the surface as; after all, that was my main target for the session. To cut a long story short, I had the fish feeding on mixers around the Keffords area of the pool and did get offered a few chances, but as always here, I messed them all up and eventually the Swans put a stop to proceedings. I did fish on the bottom from Bramble Island to an area I saw clouding up but I do believe they were feeding on Bloodworm and completely ignored my boilie!

At half two I decided to get back to my swim, have a drink with Tony and bait up prior to getting the rods out for the night. Before baiting up we sat in my swim having a cup of tea whilst I thought it a good idea to fire a few mixers out whilst we sat and chatted. The wind was blowing straight across to The Evening pitch so I imagined the mixers to settle against the weed bed between us where I'd seen the odd fish poke its head out. Within a few minutes the mixers started to disappear amongst the swirls made as the Carp scoffed down the drifting dog food. I already had the rod set up, 1.75tc Barbel rod, small Shimano reel loaded with 6lb line and a size 10 mixer hook. Out went the cast past the feeding fish and I gently drew it back into position where they were feeding. The difference I made this time was to attach three red maggots to the bend of the hook in an effort to hide it from the fish. I was quite surprised to see the fish rise, swirl at the bait and then watched on as the controller slid away. I struck and the fish charged off, Tony watched the whole thing and just said "Wow!!!!"

As you can well imagine, I played that carp very carefully, small hook, light line, but I needed to scale down like this to get a take. But, it wasn't until the fish rolled a few rod lengths out that things got really scary, "Oh god, it's a Linear!" I said and I think Tony was as worried as I was. Inch by inch I played that fish, walking back up the swim and trying ever so slowly to coax that fish into Tony's awaiting net. When she finally did go in we let out such a cheer that the next time I spoke to Colin he said we were like little boys after that capture, he said it was nice to watch and congratulated me on achieving my goal for the session. It wasn't a particularly big fish, at 14lbs, but it was remarkably pretty and I too wanted my picture taken on the dam.

Tony's Camera Work Was Outstanding

I carried on firing out the mixers for a while longer after that capture but nothing took interest, soon enough I had the rods out for the night, it was tea time and I was getting hungry anyway. I did hear Tony's alarms a few times throughout the evening but he soon informed me that a family of Coots had discovered one of his spots and were diving for their supper. The guys on the other side, Colin and David, had been stalking around the pool that day too but had yet to get off the mark. That evening I prepared Chilli with rice and tortilla chips (Doritos!!) covered in grated mozzarella. It went down really well with a can of cold lager.

By 7:30 I was tucked up in my sleeping bag. A stiff wind blowing from behind me was cold; most of the fish seemed to be in the centre of the lake out from Keffords and the dam area, which before looked really good, looked a bit dead. We just hoped they may drift in under cover of darkness for a munch. By 10pm the wind dropped and a shower passed through but the rods remained still.

Five am I was rudely awakened by Tony, thrilled to bits at just landing his fourth carp of the trip. It was great for both of us that the fish were still visiting and immediately my own confidence shot through the roof. I took the photographs for him, shook his hand on some great angling and we waved the stunning Carp goodbye. Four Carp by Tuesday morning was a real result, especially as he'd never seen the place before. That common weighed 13lb 09oz.

Shortly after I returned to my pitch to await the movement of the rod tips, as I sat there I penned these few words. "I look across the pool and am blinded by not one, but two morning suns, both bright white as they force their way through light cloud, one starts to climb high into the blue, the other begins its decent to the bottom of the pool where it will stay for most of the day. Redmire awakens, Swans begin to stir and Coots chase each other at the dam end. The air is filled with a multitude of bird song and the steady breeze, now blowing from me to the huts, rustles the leaves above. Time to take it all in, time is precious here, one moment you have a few days ahead of you, the next it's almost time to leave this paradise for another year. I sit and imagine how many of my heroes sat here in this very same swim awaiting a take as I am right now. Maybe their heart also skipped a beat every time the line twitched or a few bubbles surfaced near to where the bait sits. These things are magical and are thoughts only Redmire can conjure, for this is the land of giants, legends and magic."

After breakfast that morning we decided to christen the Kelly Kettle at Redmire so I proceeded to build a fire in its base and lit the fire. The kettle was ever so nearly ready to pour into the cups when at smack on 8am my right hand rod tore off. It ripped off through the weed and we had half a feeling that this could be a much better fish. As it turned out it was just a very spirited little chap and another stunner of a common which weighed 11lb 11oz and was photographed in Climo's again.

Good Angling
Scrappy Scamp

For the rest of the day from about 11am until 4pm we were stalking the shallows once again. I must have had a dozen chances with the floaters but every time I missed. Tony was a bit better managing to hook one, and on his newly refurbished rod, but unfortunately the hook pulled. He also had a good little "In the edge" spot going but the good mirror that kept visiting failed to take the hookbait. The rest of the evening was spent eating Hot Dogs and talking about the days events. Frustrating it was but you could only feel great respect for such wily old fish. We'd already had seven of them between us so weren't doing too badly at all. It would have been nice to have been a little more successful during the day, and considering how many chances we had, gutted we didn't convert one of them. At 9:30pm a massive moon shone over the dam and a chilly night approached.

Wednesday was a completely different day the previous couple, windy, overcast and very Carpy. The evening previous I baited up a patch in front of Keffords with 3 mil pellets and 12 mil boilies. I trotted up there early that morning as I arrived I saw plumes of red silt billowing across the shallows coming from the area I baited, I could see bubbles rising and the odd fish drifting through the area, I'd found the Holy Grail!!!! Gently, I flicked a rig, with only 1oz of lead, onto the clear spot the fish has created overnight. Within half an hour the spot was clear, the fish had gone and I'd been well and truly stitched up. Clever, clever fish!!! My thought then was to bait up again and spend the night in there under Tony's spare Oval. But that never did pan out, all will be revealed.

That morning we had a little look at Cranstouns and surrounding areas but decided the Coots that lived in that area would be a real pain. We had a little fish from the dam, which was pleasant and Tony was desperate to catch a carp on that new rod of his.

We then visited Little Redmire to have a little stalk but didn't see much occurring after half an hour so returned to our swims. As we got back Tony saw a fish roll on one of his spots, so the decision was made to sit it out in our swims. And a good choice it was as at midday I received a fast take on my left hand rod and landed a very tough and angry 9lb 15oz common. Carp number eight was photographed, the rod retuned to its spot and the kettle went on straight away.

9lb 15oz

At 1:45pm I was reading a few chapters of the book Tony lent me as the same rod was in action again, this fish got choked with weed quite early on so, to be honest, I just had to pump it ashore and into the awaiting net. But when we removed the weed, we couldn't believe our eyes, the fish, again, wasn't big, but boy was she good looking. The pictures were taken on the dam and we released a true gemstone!!

Just before 3pm that same afternoon, Tony's world came crashing down upon him. He had a seriously fast take that just trundled through the thickest weed and nothing was going to stop it. He tried pulling from all angles and every trick in the book but eventually the line parted. That loss really affected him as I and he knew that what he'd just lost was, more than likely, a much better fish. I did the best I could as a mate to console him, but we're all Carp anglers, when you lose one and have an inkling it's a goodun, it really really hurts!!!

At 5pm I decided to set up a third rod, a small gap in the weed to my left was attracting some attention so I set it up the same as the other rods, gently flicked it onto the spot and ten minutes later I'm into another Redmire common. In the net she went after tangling the other lines (the reason I prefer only two rods) and we weighed her at 13lb 4oz. By now, and after a bit of a giggle, Tony was starting to feel a bit better and after seeing another fish on the bank and photographing it for me he seemed to perk up and got back to business.

They Kept Coming

The wind dropped soon after that last capture and here I recall a snippet from my diary. "Its pitch black now, the moon is big as it was last night and shines high above the huts. With the glow of my candle it's difficult to make out the silhouettes of the far bank trees, but if I strain hard enough they are still there. The wind still howls through the tallest trees but its gusts are fewer and have much less pace. Wildlife is unusually quiet, it seems all bird life have worked so hard battling against the wind all day both on the water and in the air that they are all shattered and fast asleep. The penultimate night at this fabulous place and I am already starting to sadden somewhat at the prospect of leaving. As selfish as this may sound, I'd love to have this little paradise all to myself, but of course, I'd let you guys fish it for free anytime you wanted!!

If the previous nights, and indeed sessions, are anything to go by, I'd be surprised if anything happened now until dawn, but then this place does have a tendency to change the rules without notice so you really never know. Here's hoping I have to scramble outside at stupid o'clock in just my socks kicking bait boxes and kettles over as I fumble around in the dark!!"

At 4:30 am, that third rod was away and I played out a beautiful little linear mirror. I recognised the fish to one that was caught when I was at the pool in October, it was caught from the same swim and I photographed it. This time I was the lucky captor. She weighed just 10lb 4oz but a real character and I was pleased to make her acquaintance once again.

Soon after releasing that fish I turned around to get the tea things ready and the middle rod swung round and line started to hiss from the reel. I watched on as a powerful carp charged left and right and kept trying to gain the sanctuary of the thick weed bed in front of me. But, I kept the pressure on and soon enough was netting my second carp of the morning. This carp looked really long and I had a feeling we could finally have our twenty. I zeroed the scales and Tony hoisted her up. The needle settle bang on 20lbs, maybe half an ounce over but I was more than happy with 20. The pictures were done impeccably once again by Tony and we watched as she swam back into those magical depths.

Early Success

Soon after the rods were back out, I made Tony and I a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea. It was now around 9:30am and I'd got back into the book he leant me and was sitting out by the rods when I heard the alarm on the middle rod squealing again. Over I dashed and into Carp I was, this one became stuck fast in the weed and took a few minutes to get moving again. Eventually I got a large lump moving towards me and we netted around 60lbs of weed. After clearing the weed away we saw a very portly common looking back up at us Not very long, but very round. This peach weighed 16lb 14oz.

Although conditions for the rest of the day were near perfect, it remained windy and rained on and off with overcast skies, we never received anymore action, the latter part of the day was met with clear blue skies which wasn't a good sign and, as darkness fell, that same big old mood shone again high up over the Redmire dam. Owls hooted, bats got closer and I looked forward to dreaming of big, dark, scaly old carp.

Friday morning, the day we leave and I was met very early with the news I most wanted to hear. Tony had landed one, it was the mirror he dearly wanted and he wouldn't be going home on the back of a lost fish. That fish looked amazing in the early morning light, there is something a love about dawn but it's even better if you're staring at a beautiful mirror Carp. His fish weighed 15lb 12oz and was a stunning dark heavily plated warrior.

Proper Fish!

At 5:30 I was back on my rods willing it to happen. I don't want to sound greedy here but I really wanted to catch one on the last morning. In October I started to catch towards the end of the session and was banking on a last morning take. That final take didn't come on that session, but I hoped that this time around it would. I started to look around the swim and put a few things away, tied up the bin bags and return pots and pans to their rightful place and all the time watching bite time tick away minute by minute.

At 7am I heard the alarm and the third rod fishing the left hand spot bent round almost 45 degrees. I picked up the rod and felt the fish was hooked but there was something terribly wrong. The line came straight off the rod tip and went down to a clump of weed, then the line shot out thirty or so yards to an angry Carp that was trying its best to rid itself of a hook.

I just couldn't get any control and all the time the fish tore left and right with powerful bursts. Eventually the fish began to tire and on the fourth time of trying Tony heard my shout and came to my assistance. He could see straight away that the weed was jammed in the tip ring but the fish was still two net lengths out. Slowly and gently he started to hand line it in until it was safely in the net, I knew I could rely on him!! That final fish of our session, our 15th and my tenth, weighed 16lb 7oz. a wonderful end to a dream session. Soon after weighing and photographing we started to pack down camp and Tony would have to get to work and sort out a few things.

Last Knockings

That last night, David decided to spend it on the dam, so, early evening he got his rods ready and his bedchair and sat it out watching the darkness fall and then disappear again in the morning. Although David's week ended fruitless I really do envy him for spending that night, alone under the stars on the dam, how wonderful!!! Both he and Colin were terrific company for the week and I really do hope our paths cross in the near future.

With the van loaded and the swims clear we wrote our little chapters in the log book and, with one final look and photo from the dam, we said goodbye and thank you to the most amazing, magical and mythical place I know. --- MT² Consultancy © 2021