Yet another new venue to me and this is what I knew before hand… It’s about 3 acres in size and it’s deep – reportedly to 30ft depending on who I spoke to. It’s clear, very clear. It’s very unique as it Ammonia levels are around 36 parts per million and all fish life shouldn’t be able to survive in anything over 7 parts per million. Fish stocks consist of carp to mid doubles, mirrors, commons and ghosties, crucians, brown gold fish, tench and catfish. No silvers at all apparently. Its worth noting that the water is stunning surroundings and is only 10 mins away from my front door so I’m will to gamble here.
Plan was to arrive early doors and I was at my chosen peg by 5.40am. Its always a gamble where to plonk yourself when tacking a new venue and the best bit of advice I can give is to ask the locals for recommendations. As I hadn’t been able to find anyone fishing it on my two scouting trips that was out of the question. I then looked for the well trodden pegs, this would tell me that these swims see more action, usually because its a good area but sometimes that could just be because the peg has easy access. The wind was light and blowing into the corner I opted for and the final reason was the night before I spotted Some fish moving a few rod lengths out from this area so it seems a good a place as any.
With no silvers in the water I could fish smaller baits and any bite I may get in theory should be a nice fish. I opted to fish about 20 meters out on a slider. I was getting about 15 – 16 foot here and was happy it was all sitting well. I had made a little special G ground bait up the second I got to my swim and laced 3 good balls with hemp and caster. On a Drennan Silverfish Match size 16 hook I slipped on double red maggot. I treated the red maggots over night with Krill powder. To my right I had stickups and tress but I could see the bottom. Its about 5 foot deep and I could see every detail. This is new to me and it put me of having this as a swim. (Mistake.)
So I kicked the swim off with 3 balls of ground bait and every few mins I fired half a dozen casters in. The wind was making it a little difficult but doable. Fishing the slider is something I have only done a couple of times before and the last time must be over a decade ago, I was loving it. Not catching but loving it all the same. I formed a little pattern of… feed then feather the hook bait down and feed again, leave for a bit then twitch it then start again. It took 2 hours before a few bubbles started to pimple on the surface and the large Drennan 3AA+ Insert Crystal float dipped and lifted then slid a bit more and I struck. The result a lovely condition crucian carp to about a pound. Happy days indeed. I must admit I was willing to blank here as it’s so different to what I’m use to and I don’t know the water, but with this the confidence went sky high. Straight back in and back into the routine. A few more little taps that makes you think finicky crucian but not offering a bite to strike at. Over the next 20 mins the wind started to pick up but I didn’t mind, I could still just about hit my distance with the free offerings and my waggler was more then capable of hitting the range. What I didn’t expect was the surface scum appearing and this was the sliders downfall. The bits of muck hugged the line and clocked up the tip rings stopping the float sliding freely and this really was gutting but nothing I could do about it.
I was going to strip the rod down and pack it away to switch to a simple bomb approach over my baited area but to be honest the few indications I started to get stopped. I may have over fed them or it may just be the way the fish here roll. I don’t know the predator stock in here so they fish may just come in and move on and work there way round and not get their heads down incase a big cat wants a feed. I may have under fed. The clear water may have played apart and when I struck or played the fish the remaining shoal may have spooked. Mr presentation could also have spooked them once the rig stopped working properly. Either way, these things are the sort of issues I like working out on a water and I will eventually. Over the first few hours I had watched a few fish move by my feet and I did something I should have done from the start. I made a large ball of the ground bait I had left and laced it with my flavoured corn. I then waited until I couldn’t see any fish then gently rolled the ball in on the edge of the stick ups and sat back. I had swapped the slider rig for a small Drennan Crystal Dibber float, its a pole float really but is ideal for this close work. I watched my ground bait break down and I was surprised how much area the one ball expended to. The corn in the ball also scattered and with this I flicked my double corn out over and sat back again. I also upped my hook to a Drennan Silverfish Pellet 14.
A few more little taps that makes you think finicky crucian but not offering a bite to strike at
I began to question what I was doing, I could see my hook bait so in my head I think I had written of the day but then like a pack of wolves a small carp brought in around 6 fish. All hoovering up and my heart rate went through the roof. Out of the 6 fish, one was a good double, one was about a pound and the rest a similar size of around 4lbs. Commons and mirrors but no ghosts. As the fish moved over the ground bait my hand poised over the rod I kept telling myself, just let it go… don’t strike. Then a mirror carp flipped over showing its big scales on its flank and belated out of the swim and I thought here we go… But my float was sill just bobbing around and I thought the hook bait or line must have just spooked the fish then the reel spun, float gone and I was in. My god, this 5lb mirror went harder and faster then most doubles i’ve had and when I got it into the net, its dark rich colours where enhanced by how the water seemed to stick to the fish. I slipped my prize back and thought it was a great way to end as that must have spooked the fish but as any true angler the immortal words of “one more go” entered my head. I was convinced I had had my share in such clear water and so close in but found myself feeding a dozen grains of corn and my double bait went back in.
I was slowly packing away my gear when I spotted a single fish. It was a good mirror around the double mark and as I was watching it hoover the floor and back off gently I noticed all the corn was still there yet the green bed was fading. I must have spent the next 20 mins watching the carp move in, hang around my hook bait, hover up and move out. I put a small bit of ground bait in with some light casters and was amazed to see the carp move over it as it landed. The ground bait span out but was soon gone and left the loose offerings. At this point I didn’t have much bait left so I came up with a cunning plan… I over dampened the remains of my ground bait and made a nugget over my line. Like a pellet cone bit with the ground bait. I then slid the ground bait down over the hook and bait and kept hold of it. I threw a little ball of the remaining ground bait and sure enough 2 carp came in and back to back hoovered and sat back. I then flicked my nugget in and held tight. As I was watching it fall through the water the two carp came in and blocked my vision so the float was my next point of call. A huge cloud kicked up and my float buried I lifted and I was in again the out again in the blink of an eye. My hook straightened and i’m not sure if I actually fouled hooked the fish. I wish my instinct to lift into the bite hadn’t kicked in but alas it did and was my last cast.
Once I had packed up and moved away, my little corner came alive with a huge shoal of carp of over 20 fish. A local appeared with his gear and I showed him where and what I had done, hopefully leaving him to an exciting and hectic few hours.
Whitley Pool will be somewhere I will spend some time on in the future. Part of the Lymm card you can find out more about the water and its strangeness by reading Jason Webb’s article here.