The Redmire Experience - Ian Bailey

The last session on my Colne Valley syndicate had resulted in a fantastic 48 hours, landing five fish to 38lb 2oz and losing a big fish that had me up to my waist in water in an epic battle I will never forget - as they say the one that got away, well this truly was. The session was relentless in the way of observation and stepping up a gear to get on the fish. Cell cork ball pop-ups presented with the new Mouthtrap with super sharp size eight Choddys again was the winning set up.
The last few weeks was the build up to my first ever trip to Redmire pool. What a place, documented in many books over the years, held two different British records and is the Mecca of carp fishing as Jack Hilton once said - he wasn’t far wrong. Though the small pool in Hereford doesn’t hold the whackers it did back in the day it still has a fantastic stock of fish and still a few mystery lumps swimming in its depth’s.
The trip was a B.C.S.G get together to meet some other members and see some friend’s again - the trip had a great line up of members with Dave Gawthorn, Jay Carter, Dave Finn, Simon Hartop, Bill Hopkins, Kevin Cook and Gareth Moors; it was going to be a fantastic trip and one we would talk about in years to come. Myself and good friend Dave Finn set of early from Essex on the Friday morning like school kid’s all excited - we kept talking tactics, how would the pool fish and would the lad’s eat all this BBQ food we had.
Our journey was soon over and we all gathered in the local pub called the New Inn for the draw for swims and a much-needed cold pint. The draw was made. With everyone in the group situated in swims we got going to the pool. Dave Gawthorn lead the way knowing its location. It’s really hard to find being on an old farm called Barnithan Court. To be honest, without Dave’s guidance I don’t know where we would have ended up.
Meeting Les Bamford the proud owner at his cottage he gave us a run down of what was going on. On the pool he informed us that the weed was up this year and thicker than the year before and the group before had left on the Wednesday so it had been rested for a few days. Leaving Les we set off down the track to the pool - what a sight I was blown away taking it all in and I had fallen in love with the place it truly had grabbed me.
After walking the pool we got to work with getting set up and I settled in Pitchford’s pitch. What was interesting was how each swim had fish cruising around happily in the weed and although we could see them they knew we were evident in the area and soon was moving into the thicker areas for the day to chill out in the sun. With the weed covering most areas, I fished to the edge of the main weed bed keeping tactics simple with 3in of 25lb supernatural tied blow back style to a size 6 Wide Gape, rigged with a Mainline Cell dumbbell, which was placed in the small size Soildz PVA bag’s we have just released. These were accompanied with a mix of different sized Marine pellets from Bait Tech. Both rods were fished the same with my other rod placed down my left hand margin near some reeds which screamed carp.
The evening was spent with the lad’s enjoying a fine BBQ and a cold pear cider…very nice. Stories of old and new were told and just being at the pool was enough - catching a fish was a bonus. Late evening we retired to our pitches for much needed shut eye. Awaking at first light I must mention how quiet the place is – it’s unbelievable…no noise or light pollution at all. With your hand held in front of your face you can’t see at all, so if you get a night time bite make sure you have your head torch.
Kevin walked into my swim telling me Gareth had a three fish catch through the night with the biggest being 22lb+ - what a result same tactics I had employed to so I had confidence I could trip up one of the pool’s old boys. Through the day I tried zigs close to the weed bed with various hook baits and depths. Guru N-Gage was the hook link of choice combined with a Mixa in size ten tied simple no-knot fashion. Resting the swim around two in the afternoon I joined Simon and Dave Gawthorn on the Dam Wall to enjoy a cold larger with Les Bamford - this man has some tails to tell having us in fits of laughter for hours.
Les left us to go and watch the football and by now we had all gathered for another epic BBQ with some local specials provided by Dave with various flavours of burgers and sausages. My cider was interrupted with the sight of fish showing close in the margins of a swim called the In Willow on the west bank. I couldn’t take it anymore, I crept off and gathered bare essentials to move swims. Loading the old barrow from the car park I got round to the swim with the lads geeing me to get the rods out. It was the same presentation again, but using a 3oz Flatliner Pear, breakaway style, with a few blobs of putty up my main line.
Dropping them in close I scattered a few 8mm pellets around each and slackened off the 20lb Subline to lay flush to the lake bed. Late evening with the light fading Finny latched into a Redmire common and after a scrap from each weed bed he landed his prize. Though only 9lb+ I had never seen him so happy.
We all retired to our pitches and I was woken to a savage take on my left hand rod. Locating the rods in a daze I picked into the fish and it was gone, gutted it all happened so quick and on inspection the hook point had been done so the fish had been hooked in tough mouth tissue or bone. Re-doing the rod I got my head down.
At first light I was woken to a bite on the same rod and after getting into the weed I had to coax the fish out. Luckily, with the lead lost it helped get the fish in the net easier. What a carp - size didn’t matter I had done it and caught a Redmire carp.
Early morning photo’s on the Dam Wall were captured and with the fish returned I was chuffed to bits. We were off at midday for the long drive home, with handshakes exchanged and far wells until next time we left the pool. With some fine angling from all and new friendships made it was a brilliant session that I will never forget. Well I’m in the office and the weather has changed with low pressure and strong winds for the end of the week. I’m off to Cambridge hopeful of bagging a lovely old carp that I would dearly like so come on Split Pec. Until next time folk’s tight lines and Redmire forever.

Ian Bailey