Popular Angler's Mail website blogger, Colin Mitchell, is back with another look into the coarse fishing scene. This time it's rediscovering the love of fishing when you take the pressure off, at a water he's sure traditionalist Chris Yates (pictured) would approve of.

OVER the past few weeks I’d lost my fishing mojo.

Despite nice weather and time on my hands I just didn’t fancy getting my gear out of the tackle cupboard. Don’t ask me why. Don’t ask me to explain. I can’t!

I was wasting chances to get on the bank and I knew something had to change. Maybe it was weeks of using all of my normal gear and sticking with a pole that had left me feeling a bit stale. I wasn’t really enjoying my fishing.

So last week I took the simple way out: I left my box and holdall at home, armed myself with just a rod, reel, tackle bag, bait and landing net.

It was back to basics with an 11ft rod, centrepin reel and my nice little chair to travel light and try to get my head back into my beloved sport. Mike and I arrived at the lake to find we were the only anglers there with a whole host of lovely looking swims to choose from.

Mike finds a Yates-type swim

Mike finds a Chris Yates-type swim

It’s funny but I swear the lake looked nicer, every peg more interesting and the surroundings more attractive – could have something to do with less gear to haul along the bank!

Mike headed for a swim he likes and I went a bit further along to an appealing corner where I tackled up with a pole float and light bulk shot to tackle the edge of a bush in just over a metre of water.

A handful of pellets were fed as I tackled up and first drop with a piece of meat and I was in – not to the carp I had expected but a lovely pristine roach. Result! Then I had a lively little carp before the sun became far too hot to fish properly.

Now normally, with all my gear in place, I would probably have sweated it out but with just the basics it meant I sensibly moved to a shady swim under some trees.


A quick re-plumb with the same rig, same feed, same hookbait and once again a nice roach – or to be precise a run of nice roach!

Then the carp arrived and what fun playing them on a short, light float road and a pole rig just feet from the bank – until the sun again moved and cast its bright heat onto me! Never mind, I was still catching and I could see that within an hour or so I would again be in the shade as the sun moved around.

I was enjoying this. A lot. Fish, sun, nice swim, no pressure and just a gentle ripple on the water’s surface that was otherwise only broken by carp nosing out of the water. And another bonus that the meat was working again after a few weeks where it appeared to have totally lost its effectiveness as a hook bait.

A nice big pellet sized piece of bait on a 14 saw the float dip once again but this time there was no resistance from the other end of the line as a gudgeon came to hand!

How did a fish smaller than my palm with an equally small mouth manage to take that bait? Maybe the meat was whittled down by its mates but I still don’t know how he got that hook in his mouth!

Still, I love gudgeon and two more of its brothers also had me scratching my head in disbelief, especially as I had now changed up to a 12 for a bigger piece of bait!

The gudgeon with a big mouth

The gudgeon with a big mouth

Late afternoon, after 25 carp to about  6lb, a number of nice roach to around 10 oz and the three ‘gobies’, it was time to call it a day and beat the rush hour traffic to get home. Now that is what I call a proper day’s fishing!

It wasn’t about the fish – although it was a lovely haul – it was about appreciating the countryside, the surroundings and watching a float that I wasn’t willing to go under every few seconds.

I’d even come to terms with catching carp, a species that I’d had a love-hate relationship with over the past weeks as they appeared to be living everywhere.

In fact, as I came off the water I swear it could have been Chris Yates hidden away in a corner of the lake… or was that me just getting carried away by my rekindled passion for angling?


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