Friday, 20 May 2011

Intimate Tranquility

I had decided it was time to get out for a trip on a stillwater,in that respect I would say we are spoilt for choice in Berkshire,but commercials do not really do anything for me or Robert,they don't really have the same allure that most overgrown pits and quiet forgotten lakes have and with that in mind we decided to head to an old lake that we had never fished before,but had taken a look at over a year ago,after finding out that it had some Crucian and old strain wild Carp,combined with Crabtree esque surroundings was enough to make us eager for a spot of fishing on it.The lake itself is surrounded by tree's,rhododendrons and reed beds dotted along the margins,it had a magical,peaceful feeling surrounding it.

Robert had setup in his own little spot with a willow tree next to him,deciding to fish a single ledger using some 10mm boilies that I had made for him a few days prior.I decided to fish further down into an area of the lake where it was silty and had some marginal reed growth,with some nice overhanging trees one side,I decided to use some more traditional baits,bread,maggot and sweetcorn being what I had brought,along with some sweet strawberry and scopex cloudbait mixed with crushed hemp,casters and maggots.

I decided to bring the Cortesi Centrepin with me so I could learn how to use it and break myself in with it,I really could not think of any better place to do so then on such a lake,the float had not been in the water long when I caught my first fish a small roach on a size 14 and double maggot,it was during having a sip of a cup of tea that I noticed one of the lake's rocket shaped carp, slurping up a surface soup of insects,I decided to suspend a small piece of bread just below the surface nearby to where he was,slurp slurp,closer and closer it came and all of a sudden the bread was gone and the line zipped across the water,I lifted in and was met by that typical cranky run such Carp do,as it decided to go from 0 to 60mph in the blink of an eye.The Cortesi sang a merry tune and to be fair,It felt superb,but alas the fight was short lived as the hook pulled out.

Little did I know that this was going to be the topic of the day,how to lose fish due to what I believed was very soft lips,but I also partly attributed it to my lack of experience with playing fish on a centrepin.

Robert's rod had been rather silent until now,unsuprising when fishing a bottom bait during such a warm day,but later in the day I noticed him with his feeder rod hooped over and saw he had a very lively fish on,which turned out to be one of the lakes old inhabitants,a slim wild Carp of 4Lb 3oz,shaped like a golden bullet.

Meanwhile I was having a few more immaculate silvers including my first few small silver Bream,a fish I didn't even know populated this lake,which was suprising and added to the mystique of this water.The Crucians however were being as fickle as only Crucians can be and were not being very willing to say the least,so I decided to try further round the lake as I had spotted some more Carp mooching about by the reeds,another small cube of bread was slid up above the hook and this time freelined just outside of the area where the fish were patrolling,ten minutes later a light yellow pair of lips appeared and sucked in the small cube of bread,the line snaked out and I set the hook,all hell broke lose.The fish charged off along the reeds,rod hooped over centrepin whirring and me trying to gain a modicum of control over said fish,I have never felt so much feeling of direct contact with a fish prior to using a centrepin and it really was something else,every run I felt more directly involved and just controlling the pin during each dashing run was so very pleasurable.It was not long before a turbo charged torpedo shaped,wild Carp of 4Lb9oz was sat in the net.

The day wore on,the sun was now easing and Robert had without telling gone on to land another two fish both on the 10mm boilie mix including one of 4Lb and a beautiful spawn laden female of 6Lb+ which he felt needed to go back straight away,not wanting to unduly stress the fish with a picture.

I had by now landed two more Carp in another spot on corn,both were very much perfection in minature.Both looking like they had never seen a hook before.

I was also rather enjoying some good sport from the lakes Roach and got them going very well on the strawberry and scopex cloudbait,every bite followed by a lovely hand sized red finned Roach what more could an angler ask for?

Then it began,I decided to change from single to double corn,rod swung across,float settling in line with the reeds,all was calm save for the odd patch of fizzing,the float then decided to shoot out and lay flat,whilst zipping across the side of the reeds,I struck,the fish responded by stripping line at a rapid pace,the Corstesi pin crackled into life,I tried to gain line on this fish,which felt more bullish than the others had,applying some side strain,I managed to get the fish to come back directly in front of me,but this was only for a fleeting moment and this fish was clearly having none of it,deciding to take off along the far bank tree line,with me fingering the centrepin drum as much as I possibly could risk doing.After around three minutes of playing,the hook slipped yet again,the fish was gone,my heart was in mouth with excitement as I mulled the loss over a flask of tea with Robert.

This then went on to happen with three more fish,hook pulls on all three and led me to believe that they seemed to be pretty soft lipped and needed playing more delicately,which wasn't easy given some of the reeds and overhanging bushes.

It was late Evening when I had my final Carp,once more on a small cube of bread next to an overhanging tree,I sat a way back from the edge of the margins,just enough to watch the bread and see the line as it vanisehd in a flash,I purposely played this fish as delicate as I could allow given any snags and the 4lb hooklink,it was another lovely looking Carp of 4Lb6oz.

I have to say I really enjoyed spending the day using the centrepin as I felt more in control of the fish,but at the same time being so used to using a fixed spool reel,it was like going from driving a car with automatic gears to one with manual,a learning curve,but really enjoyable one and ultimately very pleasurable.Whilst Robert and I slowly packed up,we both remarked that it had been a lovely peaceful way to spend a days fishing on this old looking lake,I think Bernard Venables put it most apt when he said:

"Our times are strange times, with a sort of fever on them. Men, who should have their feet on living soil, are shut up in sky-offending towers of flats; great towns sprawl and breathe foul fumes, not air. Crafts die and machines are master; cold plastic replaces the honesty and nature of wood. We, citizens of the chemists' era, must search with a kind of panic for those rooting tendrils that should unite us to our true origins"

Amen to that indeed.


  1. Lovely writing and some lovely looking fish.
    Dont forget that your finger is the clutch when using a pin, think about how tight you set the clutch on a normal reel, maybe thats why you had so many hook pulls.
    Amen to the quote at the end of your post.

  2. Hello Mike,

    thank you very much,it was a lovely way to spend the day and better still learning a new art.

    Thank you so very much for the advice, it's very much appreciated,it seems very likely this is the reason why I had so many hook pulls as you say.

    After having only ever used a fixed spool reel since I started fishing as a youngster and then going on to this pin,I have to admit to feeling a bit in at the deep end,but I am enjoying it a lot.

    If you have any more tips or help you can give me I would be ever so grateful.