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Old school angling pt2.
13 Oct 2011 at 11.39am
In reply to Post #181
Only the older generation will remember the forties and fifties and how hard it was after the war years most things like butter cheese and tea were rationed which carried on into the early fifties when things started to pick up but even then it was hard the wages were very low a lot of the people living in the country side were employed on the land as farm labourers some even worked down the pit mining for coal it was a hard way to make a living, the railway was another that employed hundreds it was in the days of the steam engine my step father was a signal man at craven arms but when i think of the hours he put in to make a living it was very hard , but we managed and got by. really i could not of moved to a better place than craven arms it was here i learned to fish although i fished before. This place with all the rivers and lakes was something else my mother and father would worry that i may get caught fishing some of the lakes, but i never did but fishing the river onny was a bit chancy with all the bailiffs and keepers that looked after the river i learned to trot a float and trundle down a worm and feel for the bite and even fly fish SAM tried to teach me but i was never that good it was years latter when i became a bailiff for a big trout fishery that i really started to enjoy casting a fly and really caught some good trout the biggest rainbow was eighteen pounds with some nice brown trout thrown in i loved it and would spend hours out in the punt with my springer spaniel SAM, ballifing was a not an easy job especially at night when you would get the poachers down they say it takes one to catch one i had i had done my fair share of poaching over the years the owner of the lake approached myself and graham as we had been recommended by some one else and asked if we would consider doing the job.
I was supplied with a set of x army night vision binoculars they were quite good on every entrance to the fishery i set trip wires that were connected to a tube with a cartridge inside if the poachers tripped the wire it would pull the cotter pin out releasing the bolt and then bang on the road side of the lake i had six set in a row i would take the pellets out of the cartridge and supplement it with rice if you put a car hub cap under the tube what a nose it made with the rice hitting it, i have left a few pellets in at times i was there one night all was quite it was about one thirty there was a terrific bang followed by a lot of shouting as they ran down the side of the lake tripping a further five they were that frightened that they left thier rods, behind in there hast to get away i but that was the object to frighten them and stop them coming, i was there with graham or another friend most nights, and never got to bed much before the early hours but it got easier they started to learn and eventually kept away i had a lot of help from the police and keepers from other local estates, if i had any trouble i would ring the one keeper he would bring down his alsatian it was an ex police dog god he was nasty if we caught any poachers they would not argue back but would stand there untill the police arrived i got threatened a few times but it never came to much its funny really i am now a great freind of one of the old poahers i had trouble with he is a great chap and is now a memeber of my syndicate. well a bit more latter
10 Oct 2011 at 4.07pm
In reply to Post #180
When i was a youngster at craven arms i fished most of the lakes in the area, most were very private and only used for duck shooting. I fished one such lake it was not to far from my home i would cycle the two or three miles hiding my bike behind the big hedge that surrounded the lake the other problem was the big house stood at the end of the lake, when they had the big party you would see them all out on the lawns beside the lake the butler and his staff would bring the tables and chairs out side onto the lawns, the tables would be piled high with food and drink i would be hiding in the reeds, that fringed the lake watching it all go on, god were they posh the ladies, would be dressed up in there long skirts most of the gentlemen, wore black dinner suits or tweeds this was in the late forties early fifties it was a bit of an eye opener for a youngster like me as i had never seen so much food we certainly never lived like that but i suppose it was the big divide the rich, and the poor, i will not mention any names but the said gentleman, ended up being the high sheriff of Shropshire, they had some very big shoot days on the estate, i always returned home with a few pheasant the keepers failed to find i would mark where they came down and hide them in my sack, it was an easy way to get a meal or two and our neighbors were always pleased as it was very hard living following the war years, so a bit of a change to our diet was always welcome.
Back to the lake my tackle was not over good i had just got the tank aerials my step father had them made for me i used them for all my fishing the reels were the old star backs loaded with silk line it was a bit crude but i caught the floats were porcupine quills i did acquire some split shot but the hooks were the old black eel hook size eight you could not get anything else where i lived i would sit in those reeds on my old sack at times i would get my backside quite damp but it was a hazard of fishing and not being seen, my mother would make bread paste flavoured i think with honey, it was certainly very sweet and i would always carry a few worms i would float fish beside the reed beds the float would slide away and i would catch roach after roach thinking back they were only about half a pound but they looked quite big to me and they were fish, i will never forget this one day i had been sitting there for a good two hours with out a bite, when my float disappeared and the line flew from the reel Christ what had i got on i played it to my feet a couple of times without even seeing what it was god did it scrape i was that exited and my heart was pounding like a sledge hammer i eventually got it to the side and he just lay there it was a carp but not like any i had seen before his flanks were a bronze color and he was shaped like a torpedo, i managed to wrestle him into the reeds we had no nets then, god he was big how big i had no idea, i had a dilemma do i take him home so every one can see him or just let him go i took the second option and watched him swim away it was not until years latter that i realised they where Wilde's maybe stocked by the owners of the big house years before for food, it was not the last carp i caught from that lake over the years, but i will always remember that one carp i was only about eight or nine years old and it was one of the first i ever caught, thinking back it was about four pounds but it looked absolutely huge to a youngster like me . well a bit more latter
8 Oct 2011 at 12.58pm
In reply to Post #179
The wind was blowing as i made my way to the brook i had hidden my bike in the field by the railway line it had recently rained hard and there was a bit of colour in the fast flowing water i made my way to the first of the water falls there were three in all. I had made my rod up before approaching the bank where the old falls were they were man made and had stood for generations, i had collected a few nice red worms which i would use to catch the willy trout, that lay in the foaming water, i cast into the silver spray using a swan shot for weight and a couple of red worms for bait it was a cloudy night and the movement of the clouds cast shadows over the adjacent fields i sat down and listened i could detect no noise only the howling of the wind, it caused the odd tree to creek and groan i felt for the bites i knew they would come i slight pluck of the line then a steady take lifting the rod and tighten up no need to strike i was in once again i would always catch under the sill of these falls, it was the late fifties and i needed a few trout for the family and neighbors i knocked it on the head, and put it in the bag and recast i did not have to wait long i felt the pluck and was in once again but this fish, did not want to give in eventually i got him to the side what a sight met my eyes it was a cock fish an old male it was the biggest i have ever caught from this brook i was in a dilemma did i return him or take him home to eat, he had lived a long time to reach this size he was deep and long spotted red and black down both flanks he was about two pounds big for a brook trout i would let him go i watched as he swam away into the foaming water under the sill of those falls.
The Brook a i poached all those years ago its altered a lot since then
I carried on down stream once again i cast under the falls ,it had hardly hit the water and it was away i brought it to the side another of about a pound it joined the other in the bag i stood and listened i could hear the keepers dog barking in the distance it carried on the wind making it sound nearer than what it was the hoot of an owl in the trees above gave me a start but i no need to worry old bell was tucked up in bed slumbering the night away he was not out tonight , maybe he had been to his local and would not give the brook a second thought it was stocked for the gents and ladies to fish with there artificial flies, but it was mine for tonight i would stay until the early hours getting home before Dawn i caught a further eighteen trout a good night work but there was one more thing i must do before i went home i tied two trout together and crossed the field to old bells cottage making no noise i hung them on the gate, he would find them next morning, it was my way of saying thank you and to say, i had called once again he knew it was me but could never prove a thing he would get Sgt Landers to call at my home but he would go home empty handed. I have told you all before i would call him old white eyes when he got exited and was telling you off his eye balls would go white he would call and see my parents where had i been the night before in bed mum would say, he chased me many times and actually caught me but i had already hid my rod and fish so he just let me go to his disgust, i was talking to a friend the other day who said he was still alive he must now be in his nineties, when i think back it was all harmless fun, but poaching was a serious offence in those far off days. more latter
another of the brook i used to run down here and hide from the keepers the water was a lot deeper in those days
6 Oct 2011 at 12.27pm
In reply to Post #178
As i crossed the dew soaked fields the prints of my boots stood out i was the only one who had past this way except for the prints of the badgers a sure sign they had been after the worms in the early hours before dawn i followed there prints back to the old set that had been there for generations i wondered how many of there kind had actually been born in this set, it had been there when i was a youngster how long before i can only guess, how it survived the old keepers i do not know as i would creep up to where he had his gibbet there was always a badger or two hanging there i would look at all the animals he had killed old foxy was one, the weasel was another, stoat, jays, crows, buzzard they were all hanging there even a cat or two and all in the name of shooting the keepers protected their game with a rod of iron nothing got in the way of the pheasant and partridge days, if they did not produce the goods then they would loose their jobs that was a fact, you really would think there would be no wild life left but there was even more than today maybe not as many badgers in those days the fields were full of flowers poppies every where you looked the woods would be full off the wood sorrel primroses blue bells fox gloves grew on the sides of the woods, the yellow water iris, in the boggy ground there were the orchids, several different types where have they now all gone i think herbicides and such things have killed a good many of our native flower farming methods,changed hedges ripped out to make way for the combines its all had a big impact on our country side.
When we were young we would walk miles to collect the mushrooms it was nothing to collect a big basket full
they would be made into soup or fried and served up with home cured bacon from your own pig and eggs from the farm with big chunks of home baked bread and butter, but today you are lucky to pick any some of our local farms where there used to be an abundance of mushrooms are just not there any more shame really but once again its farming methods although i think it may be getting better as more farmers are letting a few corners of our fields grow wild which draws the wild life in its like a magnet, it grows poppies thistles long grasses it helpes the feild mouse and many birds even old foxey will lie in the grass and sun himself in warmer weather, the brooks and small rivers are now a lot cleaner i dont know if i should say this but the otter is now making a recovery and can be seen on most small rivers but the difference is in my young days they were controled not that i really cared for the method as i have said before the river ran red from the blood ot this animal but there must be some sort of control, they will find thier own level with the availabilty of food but that could take years. well a bit more latter
5 Oct 2011 at 11.08am
In reply to Post #177
It seems just like yesterday when i first started fishing with my grandad i was only three years old its been a journey one i have enjoyed immensely i learned myself to fish as we lost my grandfather in 1947 my father got killed in the war so i had no one to teach me i learned the hard way but slowly persevered and started to catch fish as i got older i ventured further afield one of the nicest lakes i have ever fished was Acton burnell i poached it on and off for years until i got written permission from the owner it held some beautiful fish roach carp tench and of course pike i got to know the keepers quite well, when i was youngster there was Bert Howlett head keeper and peter jackson under keeper i must admit before i really knew them i poached the lakes they were both man made and as i said before between the two lakes was an eel trap i expect it is still there today the wild life was amazing just up the fields from the lakes was another pool it was in the woods it was absolutely full of Rudd i would go up there to catch my live bait for pike fishing they were not big the biggest only around half a pound how they got into this little pool god knows but they were the right size for live baiting i knew those woods back to front they held some very big shoot days there and some huge duck days i can see the gentlemen standing now and the ladies all dressed up in there tweeds, its one place i really never took many pheasants from as Bert had been very good to me letting me fish the top lake i would sit on the dam wall between the two lakes and fish for the pike i never caught any real big ones seven or eight pounds was the biggest but they were big to me.
Just down the road from the burnell was another pool not big but covered in lilies it was private and the farmer would let no one fish there but i was determined to have a go it was so awkward because of the trees around the pool and the big lillie beds but i got to know the farmers son and he took me a couple of times we managed to fish in holes between the weed and Lilly beds but it was useless you would hook into a good fish then loose him because of the weeds we did manage to land a couple they were mostly tench the farmer would not let you cut any weeds out, i think it was also used for duck shooting i went this one day and his son said we could not go anymore as his dad had played hell with him for taking me there, so it was rather short lived the pool is still there but you never see anyone fishing it. just down the road was another lake it stood in the grounds of this big black and white mansion i had some great times fishing there i would poach the lake right under the owners and keepers nose it held carp and i caught them to just under ten pounds i got to know the Gardner who had a son called Roy he would say if you get caught Pete they will throw the book at you i must admit it was strictly private and once again it was used for shooting i got chased a couple of times and the police were called but that was my own fault for taking some one else with me they must of heard us talking but i had some happy times fishing on that lake over the years, i would be about sixteen years old and would cycle from my village of Bayston hill hiding my bike in the under growth then i would cross the fields into the grounds of the hall . a bit more latter
4 Oct 2011 at 2.46pm
In reply to Post #176
I am finding it very hard not to be out fishing, but my health must come first i have severe stenosis of the spine and i am finding it hard to lift or sit for long periods it has really hit me hard as i have always been used to being down the fields or on some lake fishing but it has stopped me walking any distance so until i am sorted out i can only reminisce about times gone by and my love of the countryside and off course my fishing and shooting that have been part of my life. I have fished a good many lakes some legally some not one such lake nestled under the fringe lined trees of hill country i had gained permission to fish there from the farmer it had only an average depth of four feet and at times it could be very cold fishing there. But i loved the place and would float fish with maggot or bread i caught literally hundreds of crucian carp over the months i fished there, not big only about a pound occasionally you would hook into a tench i think the biggest i had was only four pounds i had ten in one session but that never happened very often it also held a few half decent carp mostly commons i always put one rod out for them and caught them to around eighteen pounds it was good fishing and i had it all to myself but alas that was years ago it is now rented by some fishing club they have improved the access and built a few stages to fish from but its not not for me any more i liked it as it was covered in lilies, with the sides of the lake reed fringed, all that has now gone why the lilies, i don't know they were poisoned by some sort of weed killer that was sprayed around the lake so they could get more swims for matches they now run, apparently the spray did not hurt the fish and only killed the weeds.
HOW man destroys his environment but that's exactly what they did on this lake when i fished it years ago it was beautifully covered in lilies and reed fringed now its all gone feature list its just like fishing in the middle of a ploughed field no bushes all gone what the farmer thinks i don't know but i suppose he is getting money for it which helps out as most are hill farmers breeding sheep a hard life some one said to me the other day why is lamb so dear to buy when the hills are covered with them, its not the farmer that makes the money its the middle man they also send them abroad they are then sent back and it pushes the money up a shameful exercise. I really wonder what we are coming to when i was young we had none of this we all lived together in harmony there was no greed as such every one helped one another i am a Shropshire lad and hate to see the land disappear building houses here and there we loose our wonderful wild life which is our heritage and needs to be looked after for the future generations so much has disappeared in my part of the countryside places where i walked and fished are now covered in houses and it still altering they are now talking about building on the green belt i really hope that does not happen as if it does i can see a time the country side will be a concrete jungle, it wont be in my life time but it may for the future generations i really wonder what houseman the poet would say about his beloved shropshire now, it was he who wrote the shropshire lad, well moan over a bit more latter
A poem from houseman from the shropshire lad
In my own shire, if I was sad,
Homely comforters I had:
The earth, because my heart was sore,
Sorrowed for the son she bore;
And standing hills, long to remain,
Shared their short-lived comrade's pain.
And bound for the same bourn as I,
On every road I wandered by,
Trod beside me, close and dear,
The beautiful and death-struck year:
Whether in the woodland brown
I heard the beechnut rustle down,
And saw the purple crocus pale
Flower about the autumn dale;
Or littering far the fields of May
Lady-smocks a-bleaching lay,
And like a skylit water stood
The bluebells in the azured wood.
Yonder, lightening other loads,
The seasons range the country roads,
But here in London streets I ken
No such helpmates, only men;
And these are not in plight to bear,
If they would, another's care.
They have enough as 'tis: I see
In many an eye that measures me
The mortal sickness of a mind
Too unhappy to be kind.
Undone with misery, all they can
Is to hate their fellow man;
And till they drop they needs must still
Look at you and wish
3 Oct 2011 at 2.59pm
In reply to Post #175
I have a great passion for my county as i am a shropshire lad we have the hills the plains rivers and lakes its gods own county one mile from where i live is lyth hill Mary webs cottage still stands on the lyth she lived there for many years and had it built to her own design she wrote many books one such book was gone to earth another precious bane she loved the lyth as she could see the longmynd and wenlock edge and the rolling plains, from there she loved to walk through the woods the same wood i told you all about when my mate johns dog Butch got shot and killed by the keeper looking back from there you can see the quarry where we shot the geese all those years ago it is also where they found the woolly mammoth and three youngsters they were over twelve thousand years old and they have now toured the country since being set up for all to see, Mary web was also a very good naturalist and loved nature she moved to London with her husband Henry who was a school teacher but it did not last her passion for the lyth was far to much so she returned after a short stay in London unfortunately she died very young at the age of forty six on the eigth of 0ctober 1927 and she is buried in the shrewsbury cemetery, in the film gone to earth it shows you a lake called the sarn infact it is really bomere where i poached the pheasants and also fished.
The road to the lyth in black and white
I am really very lucky to live in Mary web country it is beautiful you have the rolling plains the hills either side this is where i was born i love to stand on the lyth and see the sun set over hill country as i watch the sun sinking below the horizon i think about the times i have stood on those very hills, i have walked the hills and dales fished the mountain streams shot the duck on a september night on the big stubble fields have watched the vixen and her young on the mountain tops i have disturbed the grouse in all his splendor what a noise they make as the sail down and over the valley far below they are safe today the guns are quite there is only me what more could i want nothing and it is all free, looking back from the lyth you can see the woods where Acton lakes lie nestled below the tree lined woods looking to the left we have Bomere and shomere then Betton these lake are from the ice age then further over Berrington where i fished with jack Hilton and co you can see the small river that i poached years ago the keepers house it still stands at the end of the wood that we called bells wood how many times have i poached that wood to many times to remember the gate still stands shut the same gate i hung the trout on for old bell to say thank you. You can see it all if you stand on the lyth every time i look i shed a tear it has so many memories of a times long ago when i was a youth and could walk those hills and vales. more latter
a poem by mary web showing the pasion she had for nature and the country side
into the scented woods well go
and see the black thorn swim in snow
hight above in the budding leaves
a brooding dove awakes and grieves
the Glades with mingled music stir
And wildly laughs the woodpecker
when black thorn petals pearl the breeze
There are the twisted hawthorn tree
Thick set with buds as clear as pale
as golden water or green hail
As if a storm of rain had stood
Enchanted in the Thorny wood
and hearing fairy voices call
Hung poised forgetting how to fall
2 Oct 2011 at 12.53pm
In reply to Post #174
It was some time in the early seventies when angling time approached Dennis Kelly and myself with a view to having a session on Bomere pool graham and i had got the lease, and we had caught some beautiful roach in the past some over the magic two pounds, Don bridge wood would be the photographer and the reporter he was free lance but did quite a bit of work for angling times we decided to ledger at night and float fish in the day the weather at the time was quite hot and i really did not fancy our chances it was to be a three day session the anglers present were Dennis Kelly of the big bream fame George bebbington, graham and myself i fished with graham in a double swim in those days it was the garden lounger and a big umbrella and for indicators we used the old ping pong balls with a low voltage bulb glued inside a light weight cable went to a small six vault motor cycle battery you clipped them on the line by using a hair grip glued into the top of the ping pong ball they were very sensitive i would clip them up- between butt ring and reel they would float on the water and looked like two small moons but on a serous note they did the job if you needed more weight you would pinch a couple of swan shot on to the cable you did not have to strain your eyes to see them they were something i knocked up at work and worked really well as i have stated before anything we were short of in those days we made our selves the herons were really not sensitive enough to use for the roach.
The ping pong balls hang from the rod
For ledgers i had spent some time making slow sinking ledgers using an arsley bomb and hollowing out a peace of cork the bomb would be glued in side then it would be cut down to size using a Stanley knife and sand paper until it was perfectly round making sure it sank very slowly. It would just rest on the bottom if it was silty, they were painted green or black then varnished to make them water proof, you would cast out and at times would get a take before the bait even reached the bottom, they were very sensitive and did the job . before midnight on the first night graham and i caught eight roach all over the magical two pounds with many more around half a pound it was fast and furious sport i know Dennis and the others had a few nice specimens as well, the float fishing was a lot harder using big floats over a ft long the problem was the sun it caused eye strain and a few of us ended up with bad headaches we had no decent glasses in those days, one thing that did happen was the pike moved in to feed off the roach that had come to our ground bait so it was out with our pike rods hooking small live baits on it was fast and furious sport and when hooked they would leave the water and tail walk in a spray of silver water it was wonderfull fishing we caught them to over sixteen pounds i really forget how many pounds of roach were actuly caught over the three days but it was a fair few and with the pike it put the icing on the cake that made a good story, but that was many years ago it still remains in my memory and only seems like yesterday. a bit more latter
Bomere in winter
29 Sept 2011 at 3.42pm
In reply to Post #173
I have known a few poachers in my life one of the best was a chap called Joe hatton Joe lived for the wild life every thing he did was involved with the country side he was also a great naturalist i would go a long with him in those far off days he liked to catch wild birds all sorts from linnets to yellow hammers his Avery back home was something else bulfinch's gold finches you name it he had it he would use bird lime but also used traps funny i never did see him use mist nets he was conservationist and would let a fair proportion of the birds he reared out into the wild it is a few years since Joe died but i have fond memories him as a real English gentleman or should i say rogue but a nice rogue he would be away with his gun and walk the fields and hedge rows he never bothered whose land he was on as long as he shot a few pheasants. He was not a big drinking man but would go down the pub on our village it was called the three fishes he only went for one reason to make sure the keeper was in there he would say to me its funny how much you can learn when people have had a few drinks if the keeper was in he would be away picking up his gun and dog he would be down the fields and woods he had at least three hours before the keeper returned you would hear old Gerry coming he used an old BSA motor bike for his transport to the pub and back, i can see him now riding the bike back home to his cottage in the wood he would be excuse the pun pissed as a fart and had been known to fall off a few times the main road in those days was very quite and the police never said much to him about his drinking as the Sgt was a big friend and helped him out with the shoot.
poor old Gerry failed to turn up home one night and next morning his wife reported him missing they sent out a search part but did not have to look far he was lying next to his bike on the track that led to his cottage in the woods, but he was dead he must of had a heart attack as he rode the bike home it really upset old Joe as they had one or two ups and downs over the years but deep down Joe respected this old keeper i did also he was part of my life we played many games of cat and mouse i have told you about the time he shot at me, it was over my head when i was in cover but it was still a bit m frightening he always had two black labs with him but they were very docile and you never really got bothered by them they would bark if you got to close to there pen which was behind the house but joe had a trick or two up his sleave and would chuck a bit of meat into the pen i think they got quite used to him he walked where he liked and never once did he get caught but that was years ago in late fifties, i was only young my self i learned such a lot from old joe over the years and i still shed a tear when i think of those times long ago when i knew old joe and we walked together guns in hand. a bit more latter
27 Sept 2011 at 11.31am
In reply to Post #172
I have been passionate about many things in the country side one such exercise was done by a friend we had a big incubator at the farm and we breed English grey partridge they had mostly all died out when he started to breed and let them go, that was a few years ago but we still have one or two coveys around today the birds prefer open grassland with dense cover for nesting they also loved the thick hedge rows which was used for nesting, but the greys really benefited uncultivated areas or wide unsprayed fields but unfortunately farming methods have really been to blame for there decline also the increase in foxes has had its effect, some will say but you breed them to shoot yes maybe but we were also trying help the population as it had fallen by about eighty percent in recent years it a beautiful little bird, that needs a chance no one in my syndicate dare shoot one we have put a total ban on touching them i hope over the years they will increase i may not be here to see it we will wait and see.
Another animal to see a very big decline was the hair going back into the sixties and seventies there were hundreds and on some of the big hair drives i attended it was nothing to see over one hundred shot in a day and that did not even make a dent in the population the big Shropshire estates made money from them it helped the estate out, but over the years in our county they started to disappear mainly due to insecticides spraying the fields i have found young leverets dead herbicides also caused death because it killed the natural diet it reduced the food the animal fed on but they are now making a steady come back it is another we have put a shooting ban on last year we started to see a few so i hope they breed and start to recover its really sad how man destroys the wild life more out of ignorance not understanding what the insecticides they were spraying did to our native wild life, it also effected fish in our streams polluting many water courses but things now seem to be on the mend.
The old game keepers persecuted many of our English falcons especially the peregrine, they were also shot in the war years to protect the homing pigeon and it also was infected disastrously once again from agriculture insecticides, plus egg thieves did not help, another of our birds that suffered was the buzzard, poison was really blame the game keepers of the time would inject a dead rabbit with the poison strychnine was one such thing it would kill anything that fed off the dead rabbit i am glad those days have gone but we still see it carried out by some unsavory characters , owls, were another that suffered quite severely but we now live in better times all that mattered years ago was the pheasant and the partridge on most estates the keeper would have to show the birds on shoot days to his boss and the many gentleman and ladies that took part in the days sport, if that did not happen his job would be at stake so the keeper took action by eliminating everything that threatened his livelihood i know this has nothing to do with fishing but it has been a big part of my life. well a bit more latter
26 Sept 2011 at 12.47pm
In reply to Post #171
Its many years since i fished heart Break pool when i was fifteen i would go along to watch some of the local anglers fish for the big pike it was supposed to hold i got to know the owner quite well and he showed me a pike in a glass case it was thirty two pounds that was back in 1957 it had been caught by the owner his name was sir Reginald Holcroft at the time he lived at a place called pulverbatch and i had to cycle up to see the said gentleman i remember knocking on this big door and being asked into this big rambling house and sir showing me this stuffed pike and lots more beside do you think i can fish the pool i said don't see why not he answered ill give you written permission but don't go anywhere the top pool i did not know there was a top pool but there apparently was he explained it was used for duck shooting and he kept it rather hush hush this really tickled me as i had and still was a poacher of sorts but i would not touch this other pool as he had put his trust in me and i was only 15 years old i felt really privileged to fish there but it was really hard and it broke a good many hearts for a start it was very deep going down to at least 45 ft in the middle so i would only fish the margins with a live bait small perch or roach i caught . I would watch the big cork float bobbing about as the small fish towed it around then it would disappear under the water i would count to ten then i would strike i caught absolutely loads of pike but nothing over seven pounds but they were big fish to me.
But there were other fish in the lake i had heard stories from other anglers about the big bream that was reputed to be in the place in the summer i tried very hard and float fished the margins in between the big Lillie beds i caught no bream but what i did catch was some wonderful perch most were around two pounds i had no scales in those days i also caught a few roach nice fish but i had also seen some big fish rolling on the surface and i presumed these were the bream i wanted one of those fish above all others i tried and tried without success what i did not realize then it would be many years before i got to grips with these big fish i wanted to night fish but sir would not let me . it was many years latter when i got the lease to the place that i really started to catch some lovely bream i had them to 9-12 0z they were good fish that would of been around 1971 or there abouts we also caught some big rudd i did not know they were even in the place we caught them to three pounds also bream hybrids to four pound pounds this was the same pool i fished in the company of Jack hilton and Bill quinlon. more latter
24 Sept 2011 at 2.41pm
In reply to Post #170
I have been lucky enough in life to know many great anglers dick walker was the top of the list followed by jack Hilton bill Quillan terry Thomas Ivan marks who i met when i was fishing in Denmark with angling times another one i have had a few drinks with was billy lane who was with us on our trip they were all great anglers . it was such an honour for a young chap like me to have known them, the first time i met dick i was speechless i had no idea how to approach this great man we were fishing on his private bit of river i had been trotting down hoping for a chub or a good bream it was a very cold day and had forecast frost when i see the big man walking towards me he wore his trade mark hat caught owt Pete was his first words we shook hands and as you all know it started a friendship until his untimely death from cancer he was a clever man a genius really the things he invented speak for them selves the arsley bomb the bite alarm rods he was a true pioneer for our sport i don't think it would be like it is today if it had not been for dick and his many friends from the carp catchers club, i am still in touch with his son Tim i have been looking for some letters i have from dick to myself god know where i have put them i have promised Tim he can have them or copies of them i think they are up in the attic some where i have struggled to get up there as yet i have not found them but i will continue to look as it would be nice to put them on the forum.
When i first knew dick he was into trout fishing in a big way and had broken the rainbow record he was also doing a bit of perch fishing and was very successful at it like he was at most fishing he was a wonderful friend and helped me in many ways from rods to bite alarms his knowledge was extensive a good engineer. i fished with Jack Hilton in the early seventies it was only for a week but he was top of the game when it came to carp fishing he had caught some very big carp i think if i remember right he was fishing Red mire at the time of his visit to fish with us , i loved to chat to jack and bill as they were a mine of information both great anglers i baited up for a week before his arrival to maybe make it a bit more easier to fish the lake as it was called heart break pool but it held some wonderful bream and big Rudd he had never fished for bream and was really up for it so in the company of Dennis Kelly my self and graham he was great company in fact it was the first time i had seen a bivie he had made it out of black polythene but it was warm and dry another of the pioneers its all down to these chaps that we have what we have today it was a pleasure and a privalidge to have kown them all . well a bit more latter
23 Sept 2011 at 1.33pm
In reply to Post #169
I would hide my bike in the thick under growth then walk along the railway line then over the style into the fields it was around midnight when i arrived at my destination climbing the fence and into the wood i stood and listened no sound could i hear the woods were quite and still no one with prying eyes only the animals of the woods i was used to them they would hurt no one it was the keepers that i kept my ear open for but now they would be tucked up in bed after visiting the pub the dog at the house gave the occasional bark but that would not wake him from his slumbers. I approached the lake and made my way forward i had only one rod but i was going to fish this old lake it was left from the ice age not many had fished it only friends of the owners and maybe the keeper, we as youngsters had heard tales of how the pool was bottomless and held some massive pike it was supposed to be very haunted it was a tale put out by the owners to keep people away they wanted no one down these woods i was sixteen years old no ghosts would worry me i had been here many times before. Tonight it was to fish but i would also visit the coverts before i went home i had also brought my trusted rifle it was rapped up in the old sack.
I cut myself a forked stick from the hazel tree behind, i was only using worm i cast it out and sat and waited i had folded a piece of silver paper on the line to act as an indicator my torch had a red reflector i watched with excitement but no movement did it make about an hour latter it moved and slowly the silver paper reached the butt ring i struck and i was in it felt a good fish i played it carefully to the side i could see i had hooked an eel it was a good size maybe three pound plus it was one for home as it would be cooked and eaten the next fish was a small roach of a pound it was worth coming i looked at my watch it was three o clock i put the eel in the bag and hung it on the fence behind with my rod. i only wanted a couple of pheasent for the family as i walked past the keepers cottage i stopped and listened all was quite i moved down into the wood behind the house i moved into the trees surounding the big pen shinning the torch up in the trees i picked one out aimed and pulled the trigger down he came in a ball of feathers then another this was easy i ended up with six i stuffed them into the old postal, bag then i was away the dogs never even barked as i passed the cottage, i made my way back to my rod and sack which i had brought to sit on and cover my gun and retraced my steps untill i i got to my bike then tying my rod to the cross bar bag on my back made for home and bed hanging the pheasents in the shed . the eel was skinned and eaten the next day it made good eating fryed and battered it was a sucsessfull night i left no mess no sign i had even been there it would not be long before i returned again the year was about 1957 long ago but to me it only seems like yesterday. more latter
22 Sept 2011 at 12.04pm
In reply to Post #168
As i sit writing this the leaves are starting to fall from the trees it will be beautiful down the woods with all the different colours its a most beautiful time of year winter is knocking on our door once again the trees and hedgerows have been full of berries black berries holy berries there has been a good nut harvest the elderberries so the birds will be hard at it gorging on the berries getting ready for the coming winter for me the fishing has not been that good graham my friend has not been to well and i am now suffering my self quite badly mainly my back and i have severe asthma something i have never suffered with until now, but it certainly gets you down so at the present all i can do is reminisce about my early years i suppose i have led an interesting life with my fishing shooting and general love of nature i have met some interesting people along the way and if i had the opportunity i would do it all again i would not change one thing i do miss fishing at night i loved the dark and the quietness of it all i would sit and listen to the different noises so different from the day the dog fox calling the vixen the old Tawney owl high up in the tree above where you sit the barn owl as it drifts across the fields like a white ghost the call of the coot the moorhen the badgers as they pass you by it has been a most wonderful experience make the most of what you have got before age creeps up and takes it away life is so very short you are like a leaf on a tree we only come this way once so take it by the throat and enjoy every moment i certainly have.
I have had my ups and downs i fought in the booths at the fair ground i feared no man but being young you soon learn there is always some one better than you i had a few hidings but my love has been fishing and my wild life i have fished most lakes around my county and a few out side the county not all legal i have poached the pheasants so we could live a better life as in the days of my youth it was very hard when i look back and think of all the different game keepers i knew they have now all gone they have died and took there knowledge with them maybe there ghosts still haunts those woods i poached long ago when i was young there was old bell he was middle aged a good keeper i poached the river under his very nose he chased me a few times i would always hang a couple of trout on his gate to say thank you he knew it was me but could not prove a thing he would call the police and the Sgt Landers would arrive with a couple more policemen old Stan sharp was one i have climbed the trees to get away and have listened to them as the chatted far below i have not dared move a muscle but these are my memories of an age long ago it was a wonderful period in my life i would do it all again if permitted but that is not an option. well a bit more latter
21 Sept 2011 at 4.39pm
In reply to Post #167
It was early may i lay in the undergrowth at the side of the wood she made her way towards me not a care in the world she stopped and squatted down relieved her self and on she came, i held my breath as she poked her nose through the fence where i lay hidden. She was a lovely vixen and her eyes were bright she was not pulled around from suckling her cubs, they were in an old rabbit warren up the bank from where i lay she sensed something was not right as she made her way past the earth then did a complete circle and past me by again she stopped and checked the air by sniffing here and there, she vanished into the earth bringing out her four young cubs they were not that old but they rolled down the bank and scrambled back up rolling over and over playing like kids they tried to suckle but she would not stand for that away she went across the fields maybe in search of a rabbit for their meal,
The badgers brought there cubs down from the same bank the boar came first then the sow followed by five lovely cubs it was late evening she brought them through the fence where i lay i held my breath as they clambered across my boots my friend Bern was next to where i lay and was operating the camera even thought they scrambled over my feet they did not know we were there, they were going to the green pastures beyond to feast on the many worms it was getting late i must go but i would be back the next day.
As i drove down the drive the next day i was quite taken back the dog and the vixen were lying out on the grass adjacent to the earth i drove past thinking they would move how wrong i was they never moved i stopped the car and wound down the window i was no more than six feet from the pair but before i could get the camera out they moved away i watched them disappear from sight over the brow of the bank heading towards the earth, i got down into the wood thinking the cubs would come out but i was in for a shock i waited for about three hours but there was no sign they were gone she had moved them something had disturbed her, i wondered if it was us the night before where would she take them i walked the hedgerows and eventually found them tucked up in a hole under some old willow trees i did not go to close and left them well alone i did not want to disturb her again but we watched from afar she fed them often bringing rabbit even hedgehog, over the coming weeks they really did grow and became more inquisitive leaving the sanctuary of the earth and venturing further away i knew it would not belong before they went there separate ways they were now old enough to hunt for there selves the vixen was not visiting as much she knew it was time for them to go. This was in the eighties all part of my life and my love of nature and my beloved foxes. more to come latter
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