A little background.
I’ve been fishing – on and off- since I was about 10. My 2 uncles were keen fishermen; both were members of Clubs (Dunlop and the Sherwood – a pub in Hall Green, Birmingham). In those days it was a family “thing”, many Sundays saw Mom and Dad and me join my 2 uncles’ families on the banks of various rivers and canals. The women, of course, providing sandwiches or stews, depending on the time of the year, for us hungry chaps. The return journey back home would always have a short stop at some handy pub, the Fleur de Lys in Lowsenford being the favourite. I can still taste their Chicken and Mushroom pies!
Mostly, we fished the Warwickshire Avon where Dunlop had a stretch at Defford just below Pershore. This was a deep and slow-flowing stretch with the usual mix of species. I remember finding it difficult to fish a float due to the depth so resorted to ledgering. My first encounter with our slimy friends, abramis brama came here. Over the years the size I’ve managed to catch stopped me becoming too enamoured with bream but now they’ve grown fat on all the boilies fired into our lakes I’m starting to think of them in a different light.
On a couple of occasions, when the rivers were in flood, we’d go to one of the canals. Never to a local (Birmingham) one, but to one out in the country. One of my enduring memories is watching the red-topped “canal” float on the Oxford Canal near Aynho in Oxfordshire. (Coincidentally I’m now living about 15 mins from that very spot!). That float, catching my first tench at The Pretty Pigs water near Tamworth and blanking in my first contest – a BAA Junior match on the canal at Tardebigge – are some things that have stayed with me over all these years.
In my teens I joined the BAA and enjoyed the Midlands’ rivers, fishing the middle Severn, the Avon, and some of the smaller ones such as Mease near Tamworth. In those days there weren’t many “holes in the ground”, the stillwaters of interest were Earlswood Lakes and one at Bodymoor Heath (which has now become Kingsbury Water Park).
I moved around the country due to work and when I lived in and around London and the South East managed to fish the Thames, the Kentish Stour and lots of gravel pits in Surrey and Hampshire (now many of them Cemex). By my 40s I wasn’t getting as much fishing in but managed to return when I moved back to the Midlands. I remember catching my first carp at a mature lake near Knowle (now Blyth Waters). The owner had just started digging a couple of new ponds and told me that any large fish were to be transferred to one of these. No chance! To think of them swimming in some muddy man-made stew pond! Any way, catching that first carp, a common about 8 lbs got me hooked. I spent the next few years seeking out lakes around the Midlands where bigger ones were possible. It was several years until I broke into double figure fish.
When I took early retirement and moved to Oxfordshire I was able to give more time to my fishing. So for the last few years I’ve tried several local Club tickets and have settled on just 2 at the moment. I try not to be too focussed on 1 or 2 species or even styles. I enjoy rivers, lakes and canals, even if the rivers are proving a bit slow for me!
So I hope to update this blog as regularly as possible and share both low- as well as high-lights with you. (Or most probably share with just me!!!)