Thursday, 3 January 2013

Catnappin' at Poole Hall Fisheries, Shropshire

Poole Hall House. Or should it be
Toad Hall? What a view from
a peg on the Abbey Pool. Jocky
and I tried to pop in for afternoon
tiffin but they set the hounds on us.
There can't be a fisherman in the Midlands who hasn't heard of Poole Hall. Can there? I remember being taken there as a kid by my Dad and so, last summer, felt the need to revisit and improve on the three record breaking gudgeon that I caught when I still had a Donnie Osmond hair cut and stylish beige bags (flares with massive leg pockets and a rather attractive five button waistband - You know you want some!) Only one slight problem, when you search on the Internet you find that there are in fact TWO Poole Hall fisheries (and one other stately home in Cheshire) One without and 'e' and one with an 'e'. The one that we were after was the one with the 'e' and with a fantastic looking Georgian (?) stately home.

Mmmm . . . chocolate! And some
nicely manicured bushes
We arrived early with only one or two cars already parked on the gravel next to a couple of temporary huts that looked like they'd been around since the end of WWII. But don't let appearance fool you; one was a welcoming fisherman's caff that provided tea, coffee, instant porridge (very excellent idea dude) and free fishing advice. We took a walk around the main part of the fishery which has six imaginatively shaped fishable pools in all, then settled for a start on the narrow leg of the Kingfisher pool.

How does he do it? Is Jocky the
Hermione Grainger of the riverbank? Or
just a jammy sod? Cast your votes now!
The interesting thing about this particular pool (apart from its rather suggestive shape when viewed from the air) is its colour; a rather attractive opaque, muddy, cocoa brown. So dark in fact, that at any moment I expected to see Augustus Gloop come spluttering to the surface with a couple of Cadbury's carp truffles clutched in his porky little fingers. Still, it was a nice pool and the colour didn't stop us pulling out the fish. I managed to regularly reel in an assortment of carp flavours up to about 4lb, and Jocky, bless his little cotton wellies, continued to catch the whole range of coarse fish species as per usual: carp, roach, bream, perch and a lovely golden rudd!

A fantastic sight. The only thing you
can't see is the man on the lawn mower
doing his best to put a dent in about
three years worth of grass cutting on
the far bank.
So, after a few hours of prolific fishing, instant porridge and a couple of impromptu downpours, the place seems to have filled up with the world and his wife. I went for a wander only to find that the car park was full and pegs on the main pools are in short supply. It's certainly a popular place. After another trek to the cafe for a coffee, the young lady there advised me that today, the specimen pool was fishable as part of the daily rate and might be a little less crowded as it was situated on another part of the sight, well away from the massed populace.

It sounded like a good proposition and after a short haggle, Jocky agreed to accompany me on the short (but heavily laden) walk to the Abbey pool in the shadow of the Georgian mansion. This is a beautiful pool, clotted with trees and reed beds and although a little more exposed and chilly than the others, well worth a visit. We settled in to two pegs nestled in amongst the willows and apart from a few tree casts (bastard things) began pulling out some nice fish.
Nice! Thought I might get
the day's prize, but no,
Billy the cat had other ideas!
I managed a glut of larger carp up to about 10lbs, all very nice fish caught on either mahoosive cubes of luncheon meat, or even better (and my favourite method of catching carp if its allowed) on free lined floating bread or red pellets. There is something extremely satisfying about creeping into the rushes and dropping a floating bait (which incidentally, I hooked still using a hair rig through the bread - novel eh? Or just lazy?) right on to the nose of a feeding giant and just holding your breath until you see the water break in a whirlpool and hear the noise of natures own suction powered vacuum cleaner. When the fish takes your bait, it is fishing excitement at its utmost!
Cat. Cat! CAAAT!! Quick, fetch a
saucer of milk and a scratching post,
The old dog is up to a new trick.

Anyway, there was me thinking that I had fish of the day with my carp bag, when blow me down if there isn't somewhat animated excitement and hullabaloo from my next door neighbour's peg. I sauntered over in Jocky's direction only to hear the strained cries of 'It's a cat! It's a cat'. Surely not? The first catfish on our travels? As I held out the landing net, Jocky reeled his capture to the surface and we both gazed down into the whiskered snout of a large tabby. As we landed the beast and laid congratulations onto the shoulders of the great hunter, we debated how to handle the beast with a mouth the size of a fist. Surely if we took a step closer it would take someone's leg off? Well. it didn't, but it was a marvellous fish of the day. Well done Jocky old son.

As dusk settled, we packed away satisfied and content and hungry for chips. The cafe was closed now but the trip to Poole Hall was a great day out and I would recommend it heartily. Was there anything to complain about. Only the standard of the toilets, which were by far the dirtiest and SCARIEST that I have ever seen in many a trip to a car park this side of Middle Earth. Still you can always use the bushes or knock the door of the Mansion House. Good luck.

Riviera Kid
Amidst fishing success, Jocky gets asked to lift his feet so
that the grass underneath can be mowed.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Brides, Birds and Blakelands - near Bobbington ( )

A Great Guest Blog by Jocky Fox (What a great dart player's name - R.Kid)

How sweet! Just like a scene from
'Little House on the Prairie' only
 without the dungarees. R.Kid
Jocky visited the above Carp Pool on a clear sunny Sept 2012 morning - the first of the year when an ice scraper was required to clear the car windows before setting off - for a solo outing i.e. without side-kick and mentor the ‘Riviera Kid’ …

On arrival (at about 7am) through the early morning mist Jocky could see about 4-5 hardy souls were already in position … no doubt anticipating a glorious day of reeling in a glut of Common, Mirror, Ghost and Grass (rumoured to be up to 15lb) Carp plus a few Golden Rudd …

Two rods are allowed at this establishment - so the tactics of the day were a ledger with large chunks of Spam in the middle of the pool and a float (a pre-weighted small waggler) with maggot(s) nearer to the bank …

It wasn’t long before the clicking sound of the ‘bait-runner’ could be heard through the fast clearing mist and the first (of many) 3lb(ish) Common Carp of the day was in the landing net …

Ruddy hell, he's not wrong you
know! R.Kid
The float and maggot combination at about a depth 2.5-3ft was also successful for catching Golden Rudd after Golden Rudd (ranging from micro to about 1/2lb) - red maggots were the bait of preference for these most beautiful fish, with a deep yellow hue and bright red fins …

A short one minute stroll to the Blakelands House Hotel reception was made mid-morning to pay the tariff (£10 on a weekend (£6 on a weekday), a little steep perhaps - but the pond is limited to 10 pre-booked anglers a day, so you don’t have to worry about over-crowding) … toilets are also located in the hotel should you need to visit …

On returning to the peg, a steady stream of Common Carp (on the spam) and Rudd ensued until the float and (two red) maggots combination close in to the bank presented a surprise …

Under went the float and strike and wow - ‘this is one monster Rudd’ thought Jocky … until the hook line snapped … so there is a ‘monster of the deep’ swimming around somewhere in Blakelands pool with a hook in its mouth (and unfortunately not attached to Jockys line !) …

Congratulations Jocky old son, 
it's twins! R.Kid
Jocky decided to try and repeat the trick - and would you believe it - a 3.5lb Common Carp took the maggots (the first time any Carp has taken maggots) … and this time, with some careful ‘playing’ it ended up safely in the landing net …

Now two rods at a time sounds like a great idea until ... you get two ‘good fish’ on each line at exactly the same time …

It was mid- afternoon and Jocky was well into the groove until the float descended like a depth charge and the ‘bait-runner’ set off like ‘a whippet on speed’ …

With no Riviera Kid to assist, Jocky wrestled with two ‘fighting fish’, alternating one at a time and deciding which was the bigger and to stick with this one first …

And here's the proud father. Notice the
suspicious smile and the dodgy
shirt sponsorship. R.Kid
After 5 minutes or so, a nice 4lb Mirror Carp (caught on the float and maggots again) was safely deposited in one net and (after collecting a second landing net out the rod bag whilst controlling the ledger rod) a slightly smaller Mirror Carp was reeled in to another. Is there a term for a pair of Mirror Carp landed together at one time …

After such an adrenalin rush, the rest of the days fishing experience was somewhat more sedate - a few more anglers turned up throughout the day but the 10 angler limit meant loads of room (and fish) for everyone …

Jocky had two visitors throughout the day, both apparently intent on making off with his bait - an old brown Labrador turned up on a couple of occasions, but her attempts to covertly snuffle a few chunks of Spam were thwarted …a brave Robin however, was more successful in making off with a beak full of maggots on more than one occasion …

Under a full moon strange things
can happen. Jocky assumes his
furry alter ego and contemplates
how he is going to pack away
his gear without opposable
thumbs. R.Kid
The day was nicely rounded off by the visit of a ‘Bride & Groom’ to the pond side for some wedding photos (presumably without Jocky grinning in the background?) …

All in all, a great days fishing … and Jocky will be back for his outstanding hook …

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Shatterford Lakes on the off-chance

There I was, driving happily along the A442 in search of a) River fishing at Hampton Loade. I arrived there to find that I needed a BAA licence in order to fish! (Found out later that if I'd have walked the other way from the ferry, I'd have found a section owned by the Kinver Freeliners and could have paid a day ticket - Duh! Oh well, that;s for another day) and b) Poole Hall Fishery at Alveley. Disorientated by the early morning and lack of Shreddies, I headed along the A442 in the wrong direction, saw a fishery sign and turned in, only to find myself not at Poole Hall, but Shatterford Lakes. I didn't know it existed but after an extremely friendly welcome ( I emphasise this because I have since read that the reception here can sometimes be a small cereal flake covered in sugar - Frosty Ha Ha!) from Chris co-owner (I think), and a detailed guide the handful of lakes hidden away here, I decided to stay a while and fling a few hooks.
The day was over cast, but I tried not to. Just to the right
was Cardiac hill. I picked my way through the remains of
former anglers who underestimated its ferocity on the way
back to the car park!

My vehicle was pointed in the direction of a narrow but steep track that bordered several of the lakes here. I rolled all the way to the bottom and parked in a spot overlooking the most picturesque of the set, Stuart's Lake. Here it was but a short downhill tramp (they call the slope 'Cardiac Hill' but I can't imagine why?) to the pool side. A fellow fisherman with three rods in the water assured me that he was going great guns with the carp and catfish in this pool, although he had been there since November 2009 (I jest, only two days and nights) After departing wisdom and advice about luncheon meat and boilies, I shuffled along the side under the weight of my back pack and collapsed in a likely looking spot, Choosing the hair-rigged luncheon meat (Spam Spam Spam) approach.

Now, a few people (my next door neighbour Maud for one) have asked me 'Riviera Kid, what in carp's name is a hair rig when it's at home?' Now, I don't know what planet Maud has been living on since the 1970's but the hair rig is quite simply the most effective rig to use for carp EVER (excluding dynamite)! So, if you know all about hair rigging, you might want to skip this paragraph.

The hair rig - The delicious alternative
to dynamiting for carp
As you can see from the expertly informative picture, the bait is actually mounted on a small length of line (the 'hair') just behind the hook. It is placed on by passing a baiting needle through the meat, pulling the line through by the small loop tied in its end and then placing some sort of stopper through the loop to stop the meat falling off. You can buy plastic stoppers but as you can see in the picture, I have cunningly used a small piece of folded grass to add to the natural look of processed meat lying at the bottom of a lake! The theory behind this little beauty is that carp feed by sucking in potential food and spit it out before deciding to eat it. When this happens with the hair rig, the strategically placed hook 'skewers' them on the 'spit' (my non-technical phrase) stage of the operation. In my experience, you get a higher percentage of cleanly hooked fish using this method. You can buy sets of hair-rigged hooks from any good tackle shop (I like Hingley's in Stourbridge - Excellent) or you can tie your own using an extremetly clever 'knotless knot' method (see the cool video below  for a quick guide) I favour the buying method as trying to tie extremely small knots can lead to headaches, blindness and a severe case of perforated finger syndrome.

Big Jim. A carp of almost dustbin lid proportions!
Anyway, despite using this masterly tackle set-up, I didn't do awfully well in my day's session until the last half hour when I bagged my on and only common carp. A decent, if extremely portly, 6.5lb common. Throughout the afternoon, gigantic carp were scudding along the surface of the lake hoovering up and bread or floating pellets that I cared to throw in, except of course the ones that contained my hook, proving that fish can do internet research on fishing techniques also. Next time, I think that I might try one of the two specimen lakes that are here at Shatterford. A bit more expensive but probably worth it if you land a 40lb catfish.

Oh, and Cardiac Hill. Now I understand.

Riviera Kid

Monday, 6 August 2012

Return of the Pond with no name!

So here I am once more at this tiny little backwater (not in the literal sense. Or maybe it is? Who knows!) with my carp gear and sandwiches (see previous blog on Pond with no name for more background info). The pool still looks overgrown and idyllic, the car parking is still dangerous for non 4x4s, and the cost is still a fiver. The only new thing this season is a couple more cleared spots on the bank that can serve as pegs, and it was to one of these, at the less attractive end of the pool, that I was drawn.

The view from the bin zone. Not the nicest niff, but great
access to a remote island in the Atlantic. Notice the now
defunct cattle enclosure on the right, thankfully devoid
of defunct cattle!
It was an area situated right next the one and only dustbin on the site (nice smell of old meat) so not the sort of place you'd bring the wife or fiancee, but for me it looked ideal because it was opposite a small shaggy Island that spewed forth a couple of nicely overhanging trees. Its near to an area that I have had some success before but the newly cleared zone gave me a little more direct access to the spot of water that I wanted.

There are quite a lot of fish in this pool and I think a lot of them are wild. I decided I was going to hunt out a few of the big ones so I set myself up with a hair-rigged strawberry boilie that looked nice enough to have on a sandwich. I took my time to cast just in front of the trees, without, thankfully, the heartache and embarrassment of getting stuck in them. I employed a technique known world wide as the underarm plop (What? You've never heard of it? Where have you been?) to place my strawberry delight right on the button.

Carp a la strawberry delight. Notice the well organised
set up of the Riviera Kid. As tidy as his bedroom.
Now throughout the whole day, I only caught three fish. The first, a smallish bream who had an amazing talent for filling his mouth beyond all reason with boilie. The second was a fantastic looking common carp weighing in at 6.5lbs. Beautiful in colour and flawless in its sheen, I was quite convinced that I'd reached the peak of my day. A call along the bank to a fellow angler and he very kindly took a piccy (through gritted jealous teeth no doubt!)

Satisfied, I planned to take another hour or two to wallow in the great fish that I had just nabbed. The clouds around started to darken a little and the other three anglers all decide to call it a day and pack up, so I was starting to get the desire for chicken curry and a nice frosted can of Guinness myself. Just a few more casts. And boy am I glad that I hung on.

Wow, a giant torpedo of a carp. The yellow object that you
can see in the picture is actually a two-person kayak, just
to give you some idea of the size!
Do you recall that memorable scene from jaws when Robert Shaw is sitting around eating a cheesy cracker and the reel on his gear starts to gently click round a few notches. Everything goes quiet and just as he straps himself in to his reinforced seat, the fish takes off an the reel screams like a formula one engine and the rod bends like a grass stalk. Well, guess what, the same thing happened here. A few short clicks of the bait runner reel, I brace myself in my reinforced camping chair and suddenly the reel takes off, nearly taking me and the rod with it. After a good ten minute struggle and unheard cries of 'We're gonna need a bigger boat!' I managed to land the most glorious looking 14lb common carp. A personal record and wouldn't you know it, no one there to share in the victory or sigh the chitty. I had to photograph it on the unhooking mat but  it was the fittest, sleekest, most muscular carp that I have ever caught. I even thought for a short while that it might be a grass carp as it was so long and slender but on reflection, the snout was not upturned enough.

Anyway, with it safely returned, I did depart, happy, for a well deserved curry and glass of the dark stuff. Happy days

Riviera Kid

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Sweet smell of specimen fishing at Lavender Hall Fishery

When you've been catching carp for a while and the five to eight pounders are becoming a regular occurrence, you start to get a little cocky and begin dreaming of bagging a world record, or at least one that causes your biceps to strain and your back to ache a little when you pick it up. So with this in mind, Jocky and I decided it was time to drag our backsides down to what is commonly called a 'specimen lake!' thinking 'How hard can it be?' and 'We'll just use bigger lumps of luncheon meat!' - Easy! No.

Postman Pat finds a convenient parking space while
delivering the Riviera Kid's copy of the Beano spring
fishing guide
The venue we chose for our big game extravaganza was Lavender Hall Fishery in Coventry. We arrived early and after negotiating a small farmyard hay-bail storage style car-park we were pleased to find a picturesque cafe and tackle shop next to one of the five lakes that are contained here. After a pleasant chat to the friendly owner and a delicious cup of coffee (always a good barometer of a fishing venue in my book) we opted with bravado for the 'Station' specimen pool. At £13 for a day ticket, it's a little more expensive than we were used to, but with thoughts of landing a great white shark of a carp, we were more than happy to shell out the going rate. We collected our tickets, braced ourselves for a phone call to Norris McWirter and asked for directions.

A nice scenic picture of Jocky's chair. He was off checking
the voltage on the train line.
Now, you might wonder that 'The Station' is an odd name for a fishing lake. So did we. That is until we trundled on down in the red van and found that we were situated a mere twenty-five feet from a stopping point on the West coast main line (or something to that effect). Conveniently situated for vanless fisher folk or a quick shopping trip into the city, but a bit disconcerting when your best carp-summoning spells are broken with automated cries of 'Mind the gap' and 'Beware of the doors (of perception??)' Still, it didn't seem to bother any of the entrenched bivvied bods that were scattered around the its shores. I think Jocky found it a little more of a strain as he has a bit of a soft spot for locomotive engineering and the instant recall of West Midland train timetables. Thank goodness it wasn't an Eddie Stobart depot or I wouldn't have seen him for dust! 

Jocky's dream of a bream. We did think about frying it for
our sandwiches, but stuck to Snickers bars instead.
Anyway, to cut out the waffle, this specimen fishing is not as easy as it seems (No! You don't say!) You can't just chuck out your pound of ham and expect the lesser spotted giant carpicuss to roll in every five minutes. Jocky did at least have time to pour us both and excellent cup of coffee, and finish most of our lunch before he had the first hit. A nice bream. But hardly the fish we'd been dreaming of. A couple of lads camped out along the bank pulled out a great fish of about 15lb so that kept our spirits up. The next few hours were spent frustratingly pulling out 'smallish' silver fish and visiting the rather nice cafe, and to be honest, we were just coming to the conclusion that we were not cut out to be specimen anglers when, yes, you guessed it, We had our first big triumph!!!

Thomas the tank engine arrived on the dot of 4:15. A
real elbow-creaker of a common.
After a short battle of no more than ten minutes, The Riviera Kid struck gold with a decent fish of 10lbs. 'Only ten?' I hear you shout. Yes, only ten but actually my biggest carp to date and, we thought at the time, the start of a lucky streak. The fish looked ok but it had a bit of scale damage on its upper back. With one whale in the bag, we continued with renewed enthusiasm for a while longer. Alas, aside from a couple more silvers, we had no luck and reverted once more to the comfort eating of the cafe.

I think we were a bit too hopeful of cashing in big at our first visit to a specimen lake and rather underestimated the time that has to be put in to bag the big 'uns. I'm sure that there are people who strike lucky first time (plenty of photographs on the cafe wall of eight year old kids putting my ten pounder to shame) but I think if we really want to move up a class, a bit more preparation is in order. In fact thinking about it, I rather fancy one of those camouflaged bivvies, my very own lakeside kettle and one of those comfy little bed seats that I can snooze on whilst not catching anything. Oh well, dream on.

Riviera Kid

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Once more into the fire of the Furnace . . .

Well, Jocky and I couldn't resist it. As soon as the sun threatened to pop out of the grey Spring sky, we dragged our Fairweather backsides out to the wonderful Furnace Mill Fishery in the hope of another amateur carp fest. Well, the weather wasn't that fair (bleak and rainy for much of the time with the occasional spell of sunshine - crumbs matey, I am Michael Fish!!!) but the fishing was! It just goes to show that Mozambique Matt was right, this place just can't fail to disappoint.
Spring hasn't quite sprung but the
Riviera Kid stalks his prey
in the foothills of beyond. With full
 view of convenient car park.

We were actually first on the scene again, and after a lovely 'waggy' welcome from Henry, the mild mannered spaniel, we paid our subs and began our trip on the quaintly labelled 'Mucky Meadow' pool just in front of the car park, choosing two likely looking pegs on the far bank. Light rain forced the early introduction of gorgeous green fishing brollies and we both let fly with large hunks of luncheon meat fished on a size 8 hair rig (adventurous eh - we were after the big game this time!)

It wasn't long before Jocky, once more, was the first to feel a tug on his waggler and sure enough, he pulled out a lovely common, a perfect golden nugget to get the day going. For the next two hours, we reeled in a steady flow of fish, ranging from 2.5 to 8lb, all caught on Cost cutter's best spam (mmm, don't know about you, but I can never resist a nibble - takes me back to school dinner in days of yore) Me on the ledger and Jocky on the float.
Jocky measures up and his fans are not
disappointed - The ruler is actually 8 feet
long! Just to give you a sense of
 the scale of our success!!!

I've said this before, but the other great thing about Furnace Mill, apart from the ever friendly welcome that you get, is the availability of tackle food and toilet facilities on site. The coffee is excellent and made to order. The only downside to our day up to that point was the invasion of the other bank by a gaggle of loud yampies, fishing in their nightclub gear and/or specially camouflaged chav caps.

Still, at least they settled down to a bit of fishing eventually, by which point my good pal and I decided to up sticks to another pool (There are just too many lovely spots to choose from here!) so we lugged our gear and sandwiches over to the Furnace pool and tried out the narrow section that looks like a canal.

I switched to floating bread as it had warmed up a bit and the great thing about this part of the pool is that you can see large, carp shaped submarines scudding along from one end to the other. I've also said this before, but the best kind of fishing that you can do is to stalk carp with nothing more than rod, hook, line and wet hunks of Warburton's. The feeling of anticipation as big, thick carp lips rise out of the water and suck up your offerings like a vacuum cleaner is unbeatable! Whilst I was up and down the bank, Jocky preferred the more sedentary approach, landing carp after carp from the comfort of his armchair (all he needed was his slipper and a pipe - see video) We successfully dragged out a handful of meaty fish until the daylight began to fade and the bastard midges began to bite.

Overall, I still can't speak highly enough of Furnace Mill as a relaxing, top notch venue for the pleasure angler. It's definitely worth a visit, if only to stroke the dog and taste the coffee.

Riviera Kid
Simply too big to handle - the best gudgeon
of the day.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Fly fishing at The Lenches

     How many words rhyme with Lenches? Wenches. Benches. Tenches. There's three for starters but none of them are very useful when you're trying to think of a witty title for a blog. "But what about tenches?" I hear you holler. "They're fish, are they not, Riviera Kid?" Yes, dear reader, they are. But the Lenches (Lakes) are not about tenches, they're all about TROUT!

The fearful symmetry of the Lenches
     And the place is literally swimming in them! (Duh!) I fact, while I was there, a man in a small Tonka toy lorry rolled up to the edge of the lake and dumped a shed load of plump rainbows into the water (I tried a sneaky cast into the back of his aqua truck but he was having none of it) And that, in a nutshell, is what this gorgeous venue is all about. The fish go in mature, at at least 2lb or so, and then they just get bigger until you drag them out of the water, wack them on the head and fling them in the pan. There's no catch and release here, and although the cost is steep (between £19 and £25 for 3hours to all day) you do get to take away a fresh lunch (if you catch anything).

October sunshine! And in the
distance . . . an excellent pie shop!
     So the lakes here are picture perfect, well maintained and brimming with fairly naive fishes just waiting to be tempted by your Hackled Goat's Toe. When you roll up, you are welcomed heartily by the bailiff and offered a hot drink and useful advice. The scenery really is idyllic and there are plenty of inviting pegs. I was here with friend and fly fishing mentor, Guru Bob and his young apprentice (son), so as soon as he gave me the required gear (I have none of my own yet) I was away and slinging my hook. The fish were surfacing everywhere and the great thing about fly fishing, I have discovered, is that at any moment you can cast out and try and land your lure right on the nose of any tasty fish that passes by. Unless, of course, you're a bungling novice like me.

Gorgeous Timmy the Trout. And the
fish is attractive too.
     That said, on the hour mark, I hooked a decent fish on the edge of a overhanging tree. After a fair battle of about six or seven minutes (they don't try and drag you under like the great white carp) I managed to land a lovely 4lb rainbow, which my wife had already claimed for tomorrow's tea. The other great thing about fly fishing, as I have said in an earlier blog I think, is the ability to uproot and roam around a venue without the masses of bait and tackle that you need for coarse. And the Lenches is an ideal location for stalking, so I pulled my stetson down over my and commando crawled around the two lakes.

      Sadly, I hooked, but did not land, another nice fishy. The rest of the day was a blank for me and Guru Bob did hook a biggie but it escaped at the last minute to run and tell tales of the 'afterlife' in every fish bar from here to the opposite bank. You are limited to a certain number of fish with the price that you pay on the day, although that certainly didn't bother us on that fine October morning.

"Now then Young Guru Bob, 
visualize the trout on to the line . . ."
"When can I have a pasty?"
      When my time was up, I packed away with satisfaction at a fine day's fishing and a dream to one day own my my own gear (I wonder if you can go after carp with flies? I bet you can.) While Guru Bob carried on fishing, I went on a casting practise tour of the lake with Guru Bob Jr, pretending to give good advice but principally just hanging grimly on to his jacket to stop him flinging himself further into the lake than the fly on the end of his line.

     Finally, we headed back to the ranch-house. They also serve home made pies for ravenous anglers to fall back on in the well-appointed tackle shop, and provide you with more coffee (there was also a stray dog story on this occasion!!) So all in all it was a tremendous day (cheers Guru Bob). I will certainly be going again in the future.

Riviera Kid