freeline-25 - Page 83



Berkshire Blanks and Nene Nomads
I
n my last couple of diary
pieces I have mentioned that
I have been fishing a large
water in Berkshire. Although
this water is very well known,
as indeed is its biggest occupant, I’m not going to name it or the
fish. This is mainly because the place
is busy enough already with a high
turnover of anglers. I’m sure a vast
majority of those reading this know
where I’m talking about, and I’m sure
quite a few have trodden its banks.
The gravel pit is around 90 acres in
size with getting on for thirty islands
and a dozen points, which go
together to create a maze of channels
to make the fishing interesting to say
the least. For me it would be near on
the perfect lake if it wasn’t for a few
things… The speed boats are a pain,
or more precisely all the buoys that
they scatter about the lake, not to
mention the jet ski jump ramp and
random scaffolding structure that is
positioned right in the way and stops
access to a large chunk of water. I’m
not that keen on the use of bait boats
on waters like this, as they tend to
push the fish out of reach and into the
middle, and it’s a piece of kit I really
want to keep out of my armoury
because I carry enough with me as it
is. It would also be nice to have a
defined syndicate, and whilst I’m talking ideal lakes it would be nice if it
was closer to my Derbyshire home to
save me a £40 fuel bill and 4.5 hours
in the car each week. But I’ll carry on
dreaming on that last point!
I started on there towards the end
of June, so I missed the “silly season”
where the fish seem to feed without
caution and anglers fill every swim
and half gap. On my first session I
parked up in the car park on the culde-sac lane near the cafe and set out
for a look around. It was a hot and
humid day so I wore my shorts to
keep cool, but I realised that it was an
erroneous decision before I reached
the end of the first point because the
paths were overgrown with what
mainly seemed like nettles and a few
brambles. But I figured I was already
stung and there wasn’t much point in
getting changed, which turned out to
be a bigger mistake!
The lake itself was a stunning place
with very mature trees adorning the
banks and islands, and every swim
looked carpy. After about three miles
of walking (some of it around the
wrong lake, as it’s hard to tell what is
a bay and what is a separate lake!), I
ended up in the maze of channels and
bays that ended in the infamous Dogleg Bsay. I thought the rest of the lake
was confusing, but this section was a
complete enigma. Now I knew why I
was advised to bring a map, which,
being a typical bloke, I ignored! However, I did see my first carp in this
area. They didn’t look too relaxed as
they scooted around the swim, but at
least they were there and I had found
a few. I only had one night to fish,
which hardly seems worth the near
300-mile round trip, but I needed to
recce the place so I made the most of
my time.
I took directions off a bailiff and
made my way back to the car, quickly
scanning a few swims on the way
back, but I left a bulk of them to
explore another day. I arrived back at
the car completely knackered from
what must have been a seven-mile
walk through mainly overgrown
paths. My legs were in a bit of a mess
from the amount of stings, scratches
and bites that I had received. I was
keen to get to the swim, but I couldn’t
resist the allure of the Cunning Man
Inn. A nice cold pint under the aircon
watching a couple of games of Murray at Wimbledon was just what I
needed to recharge the batteries.
I managed to resist what could
have been a slippery slope of another
beer, and I pulled up in the car park
nearest to the swim I had earmarked.
With a loaded barrow I set off to claim
the swim, which was easier said than
done because I couldn’t find it! It
seemed like no matter which direction I took I returned to the same spot
where the path split into four. This got
rather frustrating after a while, but I
did eventually, out of luck more than
judgement, find the swim! I had a
very quick lead about with a light lead
and I found a few areas to fish. Once I
had everything set up I chilled out
with a not so cold beer and thought
how strange it was to fish a swim
where the furthest cast was three rod
lengths when there was ninety acres
of water behind me! But I was on fish
and when six shadows ghosted under
my rods just before dusk I became
even more confident. Two of the
shadows looked like big fish too! I
was a bit disappointed to wake up
biteless at dawn, especially after a
few liners, but I suppose it wasn’t to
be, and time soon ran out. Looking
back that session remains one of my
best chances to catch; it’s just a
shame I couldn’t fish for longer.
A few weeks later and I had managed to track down the fish again.
This time they were holding in a vast
Not the biggest at 21lb, but it’s nice to get off the mark.
FREE LINE 83

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