In his always fascinating blog for Angler's Mail, Colin Mitchell looks at fishing swims - and their names. If you like the blog, click the icons above!

The Parlour Pool on the hampshire Avon's Royalty Fishery is one of Britain's most famous swims. The venue has umpteen different swim names... Railway Pool, Johnson's, Trammels, Mug's Hole, The Pipes... and endless list!

Parlour Pool on the Hampshire Avon’s Royalty Fishery is a famous swim. The venue has umpteen swim names… Railway Pool, Johnson’s, Trammels, Mug’s Hole, Telegraph… an endless list!


HERE’S a bit of an angling puzzle for you. What do all of the following have in common?

Pylons, Fence End, Pipe, Sunken Tree, Join, Cyanide Straight and Car Park.

Doesn’t take a genius to work out that they are names often given to fishing swims or areas on many  venues.

With the exception of Cyanide Straight – which speaks for itself – they are all usually good areas.

Is this because they are genuinely good swims or is it just a coincidence that you will catch from these areas? Let’s have a look at them.

I will start with the Car Park. I am sure I don’t have to explain how to spot these places but why do they fish well?

Obviously because many anglers are too lazy to walk far, they drop into these swims and feed them regularly so there are nearly always fish in the area waiting for some grub.

Trees, Joins, Fences and Pipes – they’re hotspots!

A fine barbel from the Royalty's Pipes swim.

A fine barbel from the Royalty’s Pipes swim.

Sunken Tree is another obvious or not so obvious is you can’t see it fully! But it is a fish attracting magnet, a holding spot, somewhere they can hide away from predators and the main flow and ambush food.

The Join. Any anglers who knows his watercraft understands this is a natural fish holding area, probably with a slack, a crease and the ability to hold many species of fish that know food can be found here.

Let’s take Fence End and Pipe together. Why are these good? In most cases I have seen neither fence nor pipe are in the water so they have no effect on the fishing.

They are actually markers on the bank. Someone probably fished there once, caught a few, someone else followed them and the areas become legend.

Some of the above places might have natural features too but many won’t and quite often they wont fish well leading anglers to moan about the fading value of a swim that really wasn’t that much kop in the first place!

You'd be a fool to fish near pylons.

You’d be a fool to fish near pylons.

Mystery of the Pylons

So finally on to Pylons and this is a real puzzler. We all know not to fish too close to any overhead wires because of the danger to carbon conducting electricity.

Many Pylon and wire swims are now out of bounds but the areas nearby that you can fish safely still hold fish. Why?

There’s been speculation in the past that it is something to do with the currents passing through the wires attracting fish. Can you believe that?

(Oh by the way…did I mention the Martian I saw on the banks of the Thames last week trying to catch rays…)

Ever since I was a teenager areas around pylon pegs have been good and I really cannot come up with a good reason why.

The only reason I can think of is that their very presence means you will always get a bit of extra space to fish in, the next angler unable to get too close to you.

Now they are pegged around in matches and pleasure anglers are kept away from them by warning boards – maybe the same rings true, with extra water to fish in!

So what’s in a swim name?

On a similar subject, I just love the way some swims and pegs get names.

To me this is part of traditional fishing, Mr Crabtree-like and something I grew up with.

On the Tees we had Bob’s Tree. The only reason it got that name was because of a guy Bob who arrived on a motorbike and fished it all the time.

Blog MitchThen there was the Stink Hole. No prizes for guessing a sewer pipe pumped its rubbish into a slack to give it that name.

Then in Ireland on Inniscarra Reservoir we now have Duncan’s Hole where my mate Mr Lennox got stuck in the mud – and was lucky to get out alive!

Last week I fished the Kennett and smiled at places like Dog Kennel, Heron’s Delight and Parson’s Ditch.


Your favourite swim

If you’ve got any favourite swim names drop us a note – especially if there is a funny story behind how they got their names. Email – and you could even get into the new-look Angler’s Mail magazine, out on Tuesday!