I had been looking forward to doing something a little different for a few months, a friend Nick had invited me to join him and Tim for a night fishing the Woodmill pool on the Itchen for Sea Trout. I'm sure we are all the same when it comes to the countdown to a long awaited trip - checking the weather every few hours. If its not good news, look at a different website until we find the weather we prefer. Sadly, on this occasion, it was totally crap whatever website I looked at. Nick did a great job in re-assuring us that all would be OK. After a rendezvous and Nicks house and a very tasty meal we set off into the wind and rain to fish Woodmill. Nick has fished there a few times but neither Tim or I had fished it before. It sounded a bit strange from Nicks description and with a tidal range of several feet sounded rather challenging!
After some shoddy navigation we finally resorted to the sat nav which eventually got us to the high steel gates with security padlock. One through the gate we parked up and surveyed our pool - it looked nothing like your average Sea Trout hotspot. The water was high and the fenced pool was more like a high security duck pond, these first impressions quickly diminished with the loud crash of a heavy fish followed by another and another! It quickly became apparent that this was indeed a hotspot and was packed with heavy fish, my pulse quickened and I was ready for some serious fishing.
As we tackled up Nick recommended a stout leader and produced some 'Woodmill specials' for us, rather fishy looking snake flies. I tackled up a floater with a sinking 10' polyleader and a fly I devised for use in wales. On the second rod I put on a sinking line with the snake fly. As we tackled up I asked "Where's your net Nick?". "I didn't bring it, I knew you'd have one" he replied, "Tim, have you got a net?" we asked. "No I didn't bring one as I thought you'd bring one!" came the somewhat predictable reply. After numerous expletives and the repetition of disbelief we finally accepted the full gravity of the situation. We came prepared, we had a huge variety of tackle, some lovely gourmet nibbles, cider and a pool full of large Sea Trout but no sodding net - nice! The high vertical walls with ladders looked like they would be little help in facilitating a trouble free net-less landing of a large Sea Trout in the pitch black. We needed a plan and we needed it fast. Luckily, Tim had bought his stuff in a decent sized plastic bread basket, the sort that would sit on a large stacking trolley in a factory. So, with our new design of landing implement we set forth into the wet and windy evening.
We spent a while sat in the hut watching fish after fish jumping and swirling as Nick briefed us on the game plan.
The almost hypnotic state induced by night fishing was abruptly shattered as the shout came from Tim, he was into something with some real power. Nick and I wound up and ran to the slipway to find Tim playing a good strong fish. After a couple of minutes the fish realised it was hooked and put up a great fight. In reality, landing a fish on the slipway covered in grass should have been a relatively straight forward process. After some rather amusing antics with our landing thingamyy wotsit, it became apparent that this design was not likely to catch on! Eventually Tim brought the great fight to it's conclusion banking a cracking cock fish of around 7lb, after a couple of quick pictures the fish was returned and Tim was left looking rather pleased with himself, it was a cracking fish!
It was a great night all round in a really unique location with great company and great fishing, this is an experience I will hopefully repeat and a massive thanks goes to Nick for inviting us to fish with him.
As regards to the patent for our landing thingamy wotsit - watch this space!!!!!!!!!