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The Haunted Mere Off The Beaten Track
fact that they were only carp, but I
was thinking back to the problems I
had read about by the guys fishing
the Colne Valley mere trying everything to catch one of those special
fish. Particles placed on little clear
spots went off after being totally
ignored, or being cleaned off leaving
just the hookbaits, but eventually little yellow pop-ups had turned the
tide and accounted for the first few
carp landed for a long time. So at least
when I did start to fish for these carp
I would stick to fishing the method I
had already complete confidence in –
boilies. That would be one less thing
to worry about.
I must have made a dozen trips
down after I saw those two scaly
carp, but despite mostly good fish
spotting weather and still, crystal
clear water I didn’t see anything at all,
not even a roach! It was a couple of
weeks later when I had my next
I had been spending most of the
time looking around those reeds and
under that chestnut tree, but to be
honest I was getting a little bit bored
of looking in the same place despite
the few handfuls of boilies I’d placed
regularly being eaten, so I decided to
climb my old tree and watch the lake
from there. I still had an hour of light
left so up I climbed.
It gives a fantastic view of most of
the lake, and 14ft below me was a
margin surrounded by three huge
rhododendron bushes. There is just a
small gap between them directly
beneath me about 6ft wide. The water
looked deep, as I could not see the
bottom. I rolled a smoke and leaned
back against the tree just chilling
really, still thinking about those fully
scaled carp and wondering where
they could be. I longed for another
look at them. Looking out and exhaling my smoke there was a bit of
movement, a gentle rocking of the
water down to my right about thirty
yards out. It was very difficult to make
out exactly what it was; I just had
that feeling it was carp, and not just
one but several. The movement was
just too much for little fish and after a
while I could make out a bit of fin
here, a little bit of back there. I
watched for maybe half an hour, but
as the sun reached the tree line the
gentle breeze stopped and whatever
it was slowly drifted away.
My head was starting to ache, and
my tobacco was getting dangerously
low, so I decided on one last smoke
then home. No sooner had I taken my
last drag than I just happened to look
down, and it was a good job I did. Out
of the blue a big, old carp glided
between the two bushes. My heart
instantly went into meltdown, and I
strained for a better look. This was
totally different to the other two – coal
black in colour and so much bigger! I
only saw it for maybe five seconds as
it drifted through the gap. I just sat in
that tree staring down, forgetting to
blink, jaw dropped and my heart
thumping. Good job I gave myself
time to calm down really, as my legs
were shaking, and it was difficult tree
to get down from.
As I came to terms with it and
replayed it over in my mind, my first
thought was, did I just dream that? I
couldn’t have, and I can picture it
even now. It had to be as wide and as
long as the big common I’d been
watching in my other water only days
before, which was around 45lb-plus.
In my mind it’s still so vivid. It was
however so dark I could not tell if it
was a mirror or a common despite the
water being so clear. It was directly
below me and so unexpected I didn’t
think or even get a chance to look at
its flank. It was as if the haunted mere
had opened its window once more,
just wide enough for me to have a
small glimpse as a reward for so much
patience and me believing in it. If the
mirrors were the jewels then this was
the crown – an unknown whacker!
Still shaking and my heart still thumping, I half climbed, half slid down my
favourite old tree, and in a daze
walked back to my car.
By now it was getting near dusk,
and I now seriously needed a drink at
the local. I contemplated what to do
next. Now I wasn’t just fishing for a
couple of cracking fullies; I now had a
seriously big carp to catch. I pondered over that pint for some time. I
needed to tell someone about all I had
seen at the haunted mere. I just
couldn’t keep it inside me. I needed
some one else to experience the
unique atmosphere, the magic, the
pain in the arse getting to the lake
undetected and above else to see
those very carp for themselves in case
I woke up and it was all just a
dream… I know just the mate to call,
where’s my phone.
There was no happy ending
though… To cut a long story short
despite chances and strange occurrences and funny moments things
started to happen to the lake. Our
fishing ended without a capture, and
the landowner sold the fishing rights.
To this day that big’un and the original few have not been banked. It’s
still a good story as not every journey
ends in a huge fish on the bank. I
have fond memories though, and it’s
kind of nice knowing there are still
mystery carp. n


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