Strawfields – May 2012
Although I don’t have children of my own Roz has a son, Damian, and we have a granddaughter, Aaliyah, who is something of a tomboy, even though she still loves her girly things. We like to have her for a couple of weeks each year, and usually that involves visits to theme parks, donkey sanctuaries and Primark. However, this year she decided she wanted to go fishing and, more importantly, to catch a carp. Sadly most of my waters were club and syndicated and guests were not allowed to fish. Even if they had been, the nature of them was definitely not suitable for a seven-year old. As always, a friend came to the rescue and having spoken to my pal Matt ‘Donk’ Clarke, he put me onto a small piece of water between York and Selby, just off the
A19. According to Matt, it held stacks of carp to upper doubles and was his go-to winter water, for a bite. Surely if it fishes in winter it must be even kinder in the summer months?
With Wednesday booked off work, I was informed we wouldn’t be starting before 9am and we’d be finishing no later than 4pm to ensure we got a Mcdonalds for tea. A 9am start was a pipe dream with two ladies to get ready, and it was more like 10am when the
Jeep drove through the farm gates and down the bumpy track to the pond. I genuinely had no idea what to expect, having not seen any images of the water or its fish, but feared it would be lines of anglers, a cafe and more rules than F1. What I did find however, was a typically underfished farm pond of under two acres with beautiful reed-fringed margins and plenty of trees. Wow, this was nice! Swim selection was easy – I picked a swim we could drive to and one that had margins that would allow Aaliyah to land one if we were lucky enough to hook something. The brolly was set up, the girls were made comfortable and it was down to me to get the rods out. The margins were deep, real deep. Heck, I had 10 feet in the edge, and well over 15 feet, just two rod lengths out. I presumed that the carp would hug the margins so coated them in my favourite ‘mush’ magic mix. Crumbed Nashbait Monster Squid, with added hemp and lots of liquid was my fail-safe concoction and I’d fish a small pop-up over the top of it. Four large handfuls of mush went left and right and a pop-up was lowered over each cloud of attraction. The leads thumped down nicely, rods on the rests, alarms on and clutches set. I’d barely stepped back before the left-hand rod was away and one angry carp tore line off the clutch... Crikey! Even the girls were impressed and as I played it in and Aaliyah got ready with the net. She really wanted to play it but until I got that first one in, she’d have to wait. Soon a nice scaly double was sat in the mesh. Roz stayed well back, whereas Aaliyah was more than happy to be involved in the picture. The next one came minutes later and with a little help, Aaliyah wound it in and I was merely the netsman. Aaliyah held the fish and the day was a success already. Phew, granddad had come good, thankfully. By mid-afternoon we’d had over a dozen carp and Aaliyah’s concentration was past its sell by date; Mcdonalds was calling and I was not complaining.
Postscript: I went on to have many more sessions at the lake mainly between December and April when bites at other waters were hard to come by. In 2015 I caught a carp off the top in every month of the year from it, simply by dropping in after work for a few hours. Sadly its proximity to rivers and dykes meant the dreaded otters had a field day there. Having found enough carcasses to almost put me off carp fishing full stop, it was time to leave it alone. Sad times, but what a water it was.
RIGHT TOP First time this carp has seen nail varnish I bet
RIGHT BOTTOM The ladies were ready... Roz, and her OK magazine