Monday, 30 July 2012

The Sweet smell of specimen fishing at Lavender Hall Fishery

When you've been catching carp for a while and the five to eight pounders are becoming a regular occurrence, you start to get a little cocky and begin dreaming of bagging a world record, or at least one that causes your biceps to strain and your back to ache a little when you pick it up. So with this in mind, Jocky and I decided it was time to drag our backsides down to what is commonly called a 'specimen lake!' thinking 'How hard can it be?' and 'We'll just use bigger lumps of luncheon meat!' - Easy! No.

Postman Pat finds a convenient parking space while
delivering the Riviera Kid's copy of the Beano spring
fishing guide
The venue we chose for our big game extravaganza was Lavender Hall Fishery in Coventry. We arrived early and after negotiating a small farmyard hay-bail storage style car-park we were pleased to find a picturesque cafe and tackle shop next to one of the five lakes that are contained here. After a pleasant chat to the friendly owner and a delicious cup of coffee (always a good barometer of a fishing venue in my book) we opted with bravado for the 'Station' specimen pool. At £13 for a day ticket, it's a little more expensive than we were used to, but with thoughts of landing a great white shark of a carp, we were more than happy to shell out the going rate. We collected our tickets, braced ourselves for a phone call to Norris McWirter and asked for directions.

A nice scenic picture of Jocky's chair. He was off checking
the voltage on the train line.
Now, you might wonder that 'The Station' is an odd name for a fishing lake. So did we. That is until we trundled on down in the red van and found that we were situated a mere twenty-five feet from a stopping point on the West coast main line (or something to that effect). Conveniently situated for vanless fisher folk or a quick shopping trip into the city, but a bit disconcerting when your best carp-summoning spells are broken with automated cries of 'Mind the gap' and 'Beware of the doors (of perception??)' Still, it didn't seem to bother any of the entrenched bivvied bods that were scattered around the its shores. I think Jocky found it a little more of a strain as he has a bit of a soft spot for locomotive engineering and the instant recall of West Midland train timetables. Thank goodness it wasn't an Eddie Stobart depot or I wouldn't have seen him for dust! 

Jocky's dream of a bream. We did think about frying it for
our sandwiches, but stuck to Snickers bars instead.
Anyway, to cut out the waffle, this specimen fishing is not as easy as it seems (No! You don't say!) You can't just chuck out your pound of ham and expect the lesser spotted giant carpicuss to roll in every five minutes. Jocky did at least have time to pour us both and excellent cup of coffee, and finish most of our lunch before he had the first hit. A nice bream. But hardly the fish we'd been dreaming of. A couple of lads camped out along the bank pulled out a great fish of about 15lb so that kept our spirits up. The next few hours were spent frustratingly pulling out 'smallish' silver fish and visiting the rather nice cafe, and to be honest, we were just coming to the conclusion that we were not cut out to be specimen anglers when, yes, you guessed it, We had our first big triumph!!!

Thomas the tank engine arrived on the dot of 4:15. A
real elbow-creaker of a common.
After a short battle of no more than ten minutes, The Riviera Kid struck gold with a decent fish of 10lbs. 'Only ten?' I hear you shout. Yes, only ten but actually my biggest carp to date and, we thought at the time, the start of a lucky streak. The fish looked ok but it had a bit of scale damage on its upper back. With one whale in the bag, we continued with renewed enthusiasm for a while longer. Alas, aside from a couple more silvers, we had no luck and reverted once more to the comfort eating of the cafe.

I think we were a bit too hopeful of cashing in big at our first visit to a specimen lake and rather underestimated the time that has to be put in to bag the big 'uns. I'm sure that there are people who strike lucky first time (plenty of photographs on the cafe wall of eight year old kids putting my ten pounder to shame) but I think if we really want to move up a class, a bit more preparation is in order. In fact thinking about it, I rather fancy one of those camouflaged bivvies, my very own lakeside kettle and one of those comfy little bed seats that I can snooze on whilst not catching anything. Oh well, dream on.

Riviera Kid

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing and for this nice information. I really appreciate your work, keep it up.

    Southeast Alaska Fishing Lodges