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The Gnarly Pit
(Above) Ouch!
(Below) The Royal Box and one in the
rather have mates around than
strangers, which is exactly how I feel
about carp fishing. We are all selfish to
a certain point with information etc,
like making sure you keep a few
things hidden to work to your advantage. That’s just fishing, but once you
get to a certain level, especially with
good friends, and even more so with
good anglers, you are more privy to
quality information. And Dickie is certainly one of the best anglers that I
have the good fortune to be able to
call a friend. Maybe he’s not as keen
as he once was, but he’s still got it
when he wants to. He knew two pairs
of eyes would benefit one another.
I think it might have been that
same evening that I took the 50minute drive to go and see him and
have a look at the old place. It hadn’t
changed much apart from the
hawthorns on the High Bank had
grown, and the paths were overgrown with the same weeds that
cover the paths over lots of the pits in
the valley. I think the stuff is called
common comfrey. That, along with
the burdocks, brambles, nettles and
being a not very oft trodden path, it
can be a mission to get around. That’s
without any tackle! Note to self...
never wear shorts! Oh, and the
mozzies can make it veritable hell
come dusk every evening – swarms of
the little vampires. That evening we
sat chatting about this and that, looking across the main lake watching a
f e w b u b b l e r s h e r e a n d t h e r e. I
couldn’t wait to make my acquaintance with the place. As soon as my
ticket turns up, on the first available
Friday I would be heading down
On my first trip, I loaded up the barrow at the car park and then took the
long walk along the path between
two other huge lakes before I reached
the end of the Gnarly Pit. This is the
hardest thing of all about this particular venue – getting around it. All along
the west bank is a ditch. There are
three bridges made of sketchy bits of
wood that you have to cross to get to
various swims and back bays. Each
bridge is linked to a different area.
What we called the first bridge, that
took you to Pad Bay and the Point into
Bunker Bay. The second bridge takes
you to the Pads swim and another
two swims that look onto the same
water as the first main swim on the
east bank, which is also the Canal
Bank. Then the third bridge that took
you to a knuckle that housed three
swims we called the Gap, the Path
and the Point. All were within a few
yards of each other, but faced totally
different parts of the lake.
If you then wish to go the other
way to the Canal/High Bank you have
to walk along the path to the canal
bridge and do a left down an overgrown trail that goes up and down
until you reach the lake. On this entire
bank you have three main swims:
what we dubbed the Royal Box due to
it being the most comfy swim on the
lake, the Reedy Point that has a couple of little platforms that you can
stand on to cast out, which looks out
to the left hand side of the main lake,
and then the last is what we called
the Dugout, a tight swim right in the
middle of the main body of water in
the main lake that is a pain to get
down to because of the steep bank.
There are other bits you could fish
from, but it’s mainly overgrown until
winter. Unless you wanted to do go
half way around the lake next door
and back down the path along the
large lake behind you couldn’t do a
full lap in one hit either. It was a logistical nightmare. A look in the back
bays etc from wherever you were
entailed either leaving unattended
tackle or you had to take it with you –
a nightmare, I can assure you. But it
was an adventure that gripped me for
a while, at least.
For my first trip, after arriving fairly
late in the day and going over all three
bridges, I went and fished a swim we
ended up calling the Pads. It’s named
mainly due to a clump of ornamental
water lilies that were in the margin to
the right of the swim, and nothing to
do with the pads in Pad Bay. I cast out
that evening and proceeded to get
punished by the mozzies. I remember
thinking Dickie wasn’t wrong about
them, next time I’d be sure to get
something sorted!
That evening I had a bite and
landed my first Gnarly Pit carp, a
twenty-odd pound common. The next
morning I had a further five bites.
Every one came off in the thick blanket weed. I was distraught. It was the
worst run of losses I’d had in years.
I’m pretty sure though, from what had
been showing, that all of the bites
were the smaller residents. All but
one of the fish came adrift without me

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