Prior to the supposed summer myself and Mr Lewis had been banging round the idea of doing some mid week sessions on venues that wouldn't normally fit in with our normal fishing times. By that I mean places that are just a bit to far afield for us to pop to for a short session.
Finally we got our arse's in gear picked a week and discussed venues. With so many places we both wanted to visit it was no easy task, but a couple soon stuck out due to the impending approach of autumn and the warmer requirements of the species we wanted to try and catch on this occasion.
I do love crucian carp fishing. The memories of school holidays spent on weed choked ponds catching little circles of gold are some of my most cherished. The only problem is that nowadays I would dearly love to catch a big one and most of the lakes and ponds I visit seem to be inhabited by smaller specimens. So when Andy said he fancied trying Leamington lakes priory pool, aka the crucian pool, it didn't take much for me to agree.
We arrived at seven on the dot to adhere to the strict rules covering this fishery and I don't think I would be far of the mark to say we were both flabbergasted. This place was absolutely spotless! Just cruising down the drive you could see how clean it was. The grass wouldn't look out of place at a test match and the pegs looked like they were polished daily. I have never ever in all my years fishing seen a place like this; someone put a lot of effort into this fishery. But strangely that made it me feel a little uncomfortable, like you were about to go fishing in your mother in laws front room; taking a quick pee in the bushes was going to be a big no no for sure.
Priory pool as with the rest of the fishery looked very sanitary from afar but pleasingly up close we could see it was rife with Canadian pond weed and certainly looked the part for a morning crucian hunting even if the weather was a little grim.
Nether mine or Andy's first cast got to the bottom before the floats zipped under. Turned out this lake had a more than healthy population of small tench as well as crucians and they were little monsters. As with the fishery itself every single fish was immaculate which I suppose has to be attributed to the strict rules that govern it, and I have to say it works.
We did get a few Crucians but not the ones that are prominently advertised on the web site. Neither of us landed a single crucian over a pound in weight which I for one found very disappointing as the fishery openly claim to have a good stock of large crucians that they suspect will be knocking the door of the record very soon. What we did get was thoroughly naffed off with the constant mini tench which in all honesty could do with being in a stock pond growing on for the tench lake on the fishery.
We had decided to only spend the morning on at the lakes and around dinner time we packed up after setting up our rods ready to tackle the ever beautiful river windrush nestled in the Cotswolds. Being only twenty minutes down the road we soon found ourselves leaving the local tackle emporium tickets in hand and headed off to spend a few hours trotting the lower beat.
I have never fished this tiny river in the summer and kind of hoped it would be gin clear so we could have a good look round and spot a few areas for the autumn or winter trips I hope to make later in the year.
Some of it was clear but all the deep runs seemed to have a light green tinge to them. But this had no effect at all on the fishing. Every time I swung that tiny chubber float into the head of a run and watched line peel off of the J W I knew something would have a snatch at the maggots. My first swim alone produced five or six nice dace, what seemed like hundreds of minnows and this sole brownie which didn't fail to disappoint when it cart wheeled instantly in reaction to my strike.
Dropping down the beat leap frogging each other we finally ended up in a corner run which had an outlet from the adjoining field mid way through the bend which was racked up with small chub. Andy went first as I watched. After a while I squeezed in and ran the float right round the outside of the bend only to rewarded with the mother of all minnows.
I have never caught a minnow as large as this and not only did it justify a picture but it also went on the scales. It might seem churlish to some for me to weigh such a tiny fish but for a few years I have harboured a slight inclination to have a crack for a mini species record. Although the scales I used were rather over gunned for the job this little giant weighed just over half an ounce. Translated into mini weight it comes out around 8-9 drams. Incredibly the current UK record is 13.5 drams so this monster minnow is definitely a specimen and in comparison to other species, it is the equivalent of a 13lb barbel, a 3 1/2 lb perch or even a 2 1/2lb roach, which are all very special fish! Should I have had some suitable scales which would give me an accurate reading it could have been much closer.
Later we moved onto the top beat only to confronted by a decent size herd of over curious beef steers. Now I don't have to much of a problem with cows as such but some years ago whilst investigating a new stretch of river myself and a couple of companions got caught a bit off guard when a herd of similar steers decided to have themselves a good ole stamped right our direction and ever since I have been a little cautious whilst in there company. Frankly most people would have found our movements around the top beat hilarious! though I feel sure Alexander the great himself would of been rather impressed by our flanking manoeuvres throughout the afternoon.
Somewhere we did get some fishing done and although nothing really special got landed we did catch a small Grayling each as well as a plethora of other species. The one bit of excitement for me was when I hooked a decent size silver fish which at first sight looked like a giant dace but turned out to be a really long skinny roach of about eleven ounces.
As planned we ended the day fishing into dusk on the weir pool at the bottom of the stretch, Me holding out for a big roach on the bread feeder and Andy trotting around from above.
That big roach never did turn up but there is always next time and I know I will be back.