Monday, 3 October 2011

On fire at Furnace Mill Fishery

Is that Matt Hayes over there? Can you autograph my bag of hemp please Matt? Is Mick with you? Should I waggle for carp or just blitzkrieg them with a ton of lead? Can I borrow your sunglasses?

The reason I'm harping on about Sir Matt Hayes, dear reader, is that good mate Jocky and I are here on the strong recommendation of the Holy Father of Fishing himself. I read that this is Matt's favourite fishery in all of the Middle lands of Olde England and quite frankly, that's good enough for me. The question is though, is he telling the truth? The answer – a resounding yes (well probably!)

Meltdown at the Furnace Pool
The place opens at eight and we were there, queuing at the gate, and duly admitted by a very friendly owner on a quad bike. The first thing that you notice is how stunningly well kept the whole place is. There are four excellent pools that are set in a small forested oasis that really makes you overjoyed that you took up fishing and not BMXing as a hobby.

There are quite a few rules here (not unreasonable) but thankfully very few that restrict your choice of baits, the only downside being that if you plan to use pellets or boilies, you must use the ones on sale at the well stocked tackle shop and cafe. (Yes that's right, a well stocked tackle shop AND cafe AND toilets within casting distance of the pegs, sheer heaven for the more sedentary of us fisherfolk) Still, when times are hard, you can't really begrudge the place making a few extra bob to keep up the excellent standard of the venue. Even better still, we found that we ended up doing quite well without the use of said boilies and pellets!

Hardly time to open his flask!
After parting with £6.50 each, Jocky and I made our way to a secluded couple of pegs on a narrow strip between two of the lakes. We'd chosen the Furnace Pool and quickly set up, him on the waggler, hair rigging luncheon meat (he's quite partial to a slab of meat is Jocky) and me spraying some lead around with a hair rigged pellet attached. As Jocky cast out, he sat down and lamented that he was not expecting the manic start like he'd had a few weeks earlier on our visit to The Vineyard (see earlier blog) and was quite happy to sit and enjoy the scenery and lovely weather. But of course, the spirit of Matt Hayes was looking down on us and hey presto, within minutes he was into a cracking 4lb carp and as happy as a sandboy.

Luncheon meat seemed to be the meal of the moment and after an hour's work with the pellets that I had just purchased, I switched to spam and pulled in a stunning 5½ pounder. The fish here are in fantastic condition (exception – see tench below)and really beautiful and for the next two hours we had a stream of sizeable commons, mirrors and even a ghostie.

Sleeping carp causes Riviera trouser rip.
Whilst I only brought in carp, Jocky fetched out a Frisbee sized bream and an old warhorse of a tench, complete with mangled lip and a wooden leg, but still lovely enough to foster a jealous look from my peg (amazingly, I've never caught a tench in my life) It weighed in at around 3½ pounds. Excellent!

Around mid day, deep fishing slowed and the carp began to rise all around us in the warm sun. I took to hair rigging a piece of bread on a long length below a float (radical or what!) A quick dip of the bread in the water and you have the required weight to cast it some distance. I chose an area just down to the right, in front of a bank of reeds (where there were no pegs) and spent the next two hours pulling out tasty carp. Some fisheries don't let you use floating baits and it's a real shame because it's one of the finest methods of fishing that there is. When that dark submarine shape approaches your helpless flake of nimble and you hear the sucking sound of an industrial vacuum cleaner, there's no finer moment in the sport. Oh Joy.

Where's Henry, the mild mannered janitor?

And so it went on, carp after carp and hardly time to enjoy excellent coffee in between. I have to agree with Matt Hayes and say that this is an excellent fishery and we certainly will be visiting it again. The owners are friendly and helpful and the fishing is cracking. Oh, and there's a sprightly spaniel called Henry who may just pay you a visit in between fish.

Happy days! Or should that be happy Hayes?

Next blog, the pool with no name.