I have been a member of LAA for a few years now and most of the waters on our club book have had at one time or another felt the tender touch of my feet, bar one. I have heard much from my fishing companions of this lake, which is often ignored by anglers who get distracted by its bigger sibling the island pool at Jubilee lakes outside my home city of Coventry.
So for the first time ever on Sunday morning I stepped through the wooded hollow that hides horseshoe pool from the thronging masses that frequent its neighbour and for a moment as I stood looking out over its still mist shrouded water I may have fallen in love, for a short while.
Any ideas of fishing were quickly thrown aside with my fishing gear and the camera was pulled from my bag as I had to share my first sight of this pool.
Eventually I did put down the camera and get on with some fishing but soon found that the area I had opted to fish was rather deep which didn't really suit the way I intended to fish today. This was no matter as I had forgone my normally back breaking pile of tackle in favour of a light stalking outfit so I could have a little explore around the pool to get to know her if you will.
From the moment the sun illuminated the sky the resident carp population were up in the surface layers and the bream and tench which also reside in this lake seemed rather uninclined to venture over my free particles towards my lift float rig.
As the morning wore on I moved around the lake casting close to any likely looking features giving each spot enough time to reveal any fish, alas to no avail.
Eventually I found myself on the spit of land which cuts into the centre of the lake. The sun was now high in the sky and had revealed to my polaroid clad eyes that the bottom of the lake seemed to be covered in a layer of silk weed. The clear feeding patches where fish had been feeding were evident and opted for one a rod length out.
After a further hour my float had little more than a pluck and the temptation to strip the weight from my simple rig became too great. I had packed a small bag of floaters just in case, but soon found what I had actually packed was a bag of sinking pellets with a layer of dog biscuits on top.
I didn't take long for the carp to investigate the plops the few freebies made and the ducks soon followed. One shoal of fish seemed more determined than the others and stuck around but seemed to have a good understanding of how to sort out the freebies from the hook bait.
Whilst trying to build their confidence into a frenzy I caught sight of a dark shape hanging round off the shoal a few metres. So I wondered whether this was my chance and cast a free lined pinch of bread close to it.
Sometimes it just looks right! The fish moves in a different way towards the bait and you know it's going to take it. Text book style it drifted in, sank down then as slow as you like, a pair of lips broke the surface and then all hell broke loose.
I just happened to be trying out a newly acquired Avon rod and this fish was fish was absolutely hammering it. Another chap called Mark who was floater fishing behind me and heard the screaming clutch appeared and offered to do the honours with the net. After a hardcore fight it finally appeared on the surface and it looked massive. On the bank it seemed even bigger and I still think it looks huge when I look at this photo.
20.12lb would do me fine and the decision was made. I wasn't going to get a better fish so I headed home.
The following day I decided to head down to another new lake at weston lawns fishery outside my old home town of Bedworth to hook up with Pete and Keith who had spent a night on the specimen lake chasing catfish.
I spent my entire youth scrabbling round the ponds and canals of Bedworth but oddly I haven't cast a line in this area for years. So driving back with Jeff in tow it felt like a real home coming for me. You know you're getting older when you can remember when the lake you are heading to was just fields. In fact as I navigated the drive I began to remember some of the times I spent in the very fields from whence this fishery sprung.
Weston Lawns is one of the new wave of commercial fisheries which cater for the ever growing appetite of the UK anglers and big carp fishing. Heavily stocked and heavily pressured the fish are certainly not as stupid as you would expect them to be. I joined Keith and Pete on one bank while Jeff headed straight for a reed lined area near the road that was alive with carp when we arrived.
The carp at first held little interest and my sole target was cats. I know to try and bag one in day light is virtually impossible but I have got to start somewhere. The cats never showed and chatting to one of the fishery lads he told me they don't come out regularly and mostly at night but we were in the right area.
Through the day I did get some interest from the local bream who were covered in spawning tubercles and very hungry.
Pete who was just down the bank bagged a massive perch which had just spawned at 2.12lb that only a few days ago would have been well over three.
Mid afternoon both mine and Pete's rods that were cast to the island seemingly woke up and both of us got run after run but failed to land a single fish. A frustrating hour of constant runs where both of us thought we hooked a fish which came off and the mystery was explained when an angler to Petes left hooked a good fish. On the bank it turned out this was the fish which had been winding us up into a frenzy. The poor fish was trailing a rig and lead which had been snagging our lines as it moved up and down the island margins. The guy who landed it had not actually hooked the fish but caught the trailing rig and I am sure he will claim that one to his mates.
It was interesting to fish again in my home town but I don't think I am going to put to much time into this venue as a couple of others have popped up which look very inviting and have a good track record of daytime cat captures.