Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Boys night out

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.
When we could take no more (of the waiting, not Nick's game plan) and the night was suitably dark we set off to start fishing. Its amazing how many Sea Trout seem to ignore your fly despite clearly covering fish after fish. As I looked around at my surroundings taking in the street lights, high security fencing, high rise flats and the sound of boy racers tearing up and down the road all went tight. I snapped out of my stupor as I realised this was a fish, a decent fish. We had pre-arranged that in the event of a fish being hooked the others would assist in the somewhat unpracticed bizarre basket landing method. Once I was sure the fish was firmly hooked I raised the alarm. Nick shortly arrived with said landing implement and climbed down the wet and rusty vertical ladder. After a short battle the fish was unceremoniously, but not without a modicum of skill, scooped out of the pool and delivered to the top of the bank without further ado. I think the joy was more about the completion of the christening of our dual purpose, bread carrying, landing thingamy wotsit than the capture of my lovely pristine river Itchen Sea Trout. It was a lovely fresh fish of just over four pound. With heightened enthusiasm and handshakes all round we set forth once again to fishy the inky black pool as the water continued to drop.

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!
With the fish returned and more handshakes we resumed fishing, although not for long. Hunger was starting to have an effect and a quick break was needed in order to re-fuel. After some great nibbles and a bit of banter we decided it was time to hit the pool once more before the water got too low. Several fish were landed in the next hour or so but all were smaller specimens than earlier. Nick had a fish in the run at the far side of the pool which required another ladder climb to land. Another lovely fresh fish. By about 2.45 we had all run out of 'steam' and the pool was very low so after a total of 7 fish being landed between the three of us we decided to call it a night.

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!!!!!!!!!

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