• Agent 99

May Day Strimmer

Mays offering.

Week 1


With the arrival of the Tour de Yorkshire, subsequent road closures, and no viable shift available for work, I gleefully took a days holiday and headed to Tevant fishery in East Keswick. I haven’t visited for a while, but nothing had changed – still as picturesque as ever, still peaceful, and again I was the only angler present.

I set up on the far pond, out of the cold wind, a peg I had fished before. I lobbed in a couple of small balls of ground bait, a good handful of maggots, and tackled up – 5lb line straight through to a size 18, a light insert waggler as bite indicator.

Having had a steady run of Roach and Rudd on maggots, I then lifted into something more substantial. A brief scrap culminated in the capture of a chunky Bream of about 3lb – first use of the landing net, and hopefully a good omen.

It wasn`t. The fishing was really slow, and the wind had been joined by its best mate – the rain. When the showers had stopped I went for a wander. A lap of the pond, walking, watching, and feeding bread into likely looking spots. Nothing showed so I returned to my peg, sat down, poured a drink, and watched my bread get hoovered up. Carp had appeared. I lost two fish before I landed the first, 10 lb exactly according to the scales.

I was hoping for more but it wasn`t to be. Sunny Spring was over; there were no bare legs today, and no big bag of fish, but it still beat a day at work.


A trip to Pool Bridge Farm with The Doctor and The Guv`nor ( Lenny McLean, not Paul Ince ).

We were up early after a surprisingly cold night, but the car park was still half full as we pulled in.

A quick lap of the lakes , and we settled on a lake to the right of the car park, which was quickly filling with anglers. The pegs we chose had `produced` for The Doctor and The Guv`nor previously, so no problems foreseen. We would start to fish, and duly empty the pond of its Carp.

It was not to be . A pleasant but unproductive day followed, neither the Doctor or I caught a thing, thankfully The Guv`nor saved our blushes, catching half a dozen or so lively Carp, landing about half of them, and from what I could see ,`blanks` were the norm for most anglers that day.

So, a new venue experienced, a new method tried – banded pellets - and a new angling partner for the day. Shame the fish hadn`t read the script.

Week 2.


Hoping to encounter some fish this week, following last weekends `blank`, I headed up to Sicklinghall with The Doctor. We were dressed for the cold that those chaps at the Met Office had promised, and once again they were wrong, it turned out to be a warm one.

We were just after a few bites, hoping they might come from Crucians or Tench, but happy enough to catch anything. However the bloke on pond 1 had caught two Crucians already, and not wanting to step on his toes, we chose pond 2.

I set up at a snails pace, and as I did I could see the Doctor hauling out chunky little Rudd with great regularity, and , being the competitive chap that he is, he announced most of their arrivals, just in case I hadn`t noticed.

I finally chucked a baited hook in and began with a run of Rudd myself, and then the tiddlers found me. The Doc was still catching on corn, but it wasn`t working in my swim. Maggots produced a fish a chuck, but often from tiny wee Rudd. The Doctor announced that his swim had died. I offered my condolences somewhat insincerely ( I`m a competitive chap too ) and hoped to plunder my own peg of its fishy treasure, just to `rub it in`.

Somewhat distracted by the arrival of lots of people and a herd of Alpaca, I pulled out of a bigger fish, and, as we were both distracted and intrigued, we watched and then went for a wander. We watched Mummy and her goslings having fun on pond 4 before we returned to 2 where we spotted a newt sunning itself in the margins. We gawped at the tiny amphibian, two grown men fascinated by a half ounce pond dweller.

Then, pond 1 bloke walked by on his way to pond 3 – he`d been catching Sticklebacks for the last two hours, and had had his fill.

The wind had changed direction again, but we still kept on catching steadily, a few Roach joined the Rudd occupying our keepnets, and then my float went under ever so slowly, I lifted into something that wasn’t a Rudd, I netted this one. I informed the Doc that I had 8 inches of prime Tench in my net, and he told me to put it where the sun wasn`t shining, doubted I had ever met my father, and suggested I would be walking home if I caught another.

An hour later it was time to call for a taxi, I had caught another Tench. This one was accompanied by a volley of abuse as well, and a list of the diseases I probably carried ( he is the Doctor after all ).

The wind changed again and the fish followed it, but not before the Doc caught his own Tench, also about 8 inches long.

As the bites tailed off, we thought of home and food.

I just had time to lose `that float` before we left- skilfully lobbed into a reed bed.

At the `weigh in`, the Doctor had pipped me by a couple of pounds, but I had prevailed in the Tench quest, so I guess honours were about even.. ish ?

Week 3.


A late start after a late night. An afternoon spent up at our ponds. Baloo and Shed 7 were already there, fishing pond 3, so I went on pond 2. The usual flurry of Rudd ensued, but no Roach. Sweetcorn sorted out the bigger specimens , all found in open water. In a repeat of the previous week, they began to follow the warm wind . I caught a few at distance and then came short, and I finally caught a Bream. At last !

No Roach, Crucians, or Tench showed up, but rumour has it that they are feeding.

Baloo and Shed 7 were moving on to pond 1 in search of them, encouraged by Strimmer bagging 8 of them in quick time, from the same pond, during an evening session. Shed 7 duly bagged a couple, and duly missed a couple. Not a touch for Baloo, fishing only yards from Sheds peg.

Week 4.

Tuesday – working party on the Ings and football fields – strimming, digging, and `landscaping`.

Loads of fish surfacing.

Thursday – work party at the sewage works.

Strimmer was strimming, I was digging. Something wet hit my cheek, propelled from the strimmer at pace. Thinking it was dog poo, I was delighted to discover that it was, in fact, half a slug.


Shamelessly jumping on the bandwagon, I headed to pond 1 with the Boilie Baron in search of Tench and Crucians. He had caught a few the day before, so I was eager to pick his brains. He showed me which swim he caught from, and I plonked myself down.

The float kept dipping, I thought it was shy biting Crucians, and I kept striking into nothing. Patience required. I let it go fully under and struck into a Stickleback. Repeat. This time it was a Rudd. Repeat. Another Stickleback. Repeat. Jackpot ! a lovely golden Crucian. Next cast, a Tench. Then followed a plague of Stickles. The air turned blue.

I fished a different spot, 3 yards from Stickleback City.

Tench, Tench, Crucian, Tench. All scrappy, all fin perfect. Great entertainment on 2lb line. A run of Rudd followed, then another Tench then another Crucian. The Boilie Baron had had 7 Tench himself, and a fat Rudd . The bites dried up, so we packed up and headed home, via the Off Licence for a celebratory beer or two.

Apologies for this, but pond 1 really showed its po-Tench-ial. ( I was `dared` to write it, and caved in to peer pressure ).

Bank holiday Monday.

A visit to Thorp Underwood ponds with Bream in mind.

Piscator and I arrived expecting to be met by a tribe of bivvy dwellers, but there were only a couple present, so we could actually choose a swim we fancied. Piscator opted for the nearest and clearest, I had to clear a path through the jungle to get to the next one. Ground bait in, dock leaf applied, set up, plumb up, corn on, cast in, Carp on. How quick ? this could be a good day. Granted, it was only a small fish, but it was soon joined by another of equally diminutive stature. Two in two chucks. Then it slowed right down. Either the Bream have gone, or they were occupied making more Bream. I tempted some Roach, but even they didn`t seem too interested today. Piscator was experiencing the same, he caught a couple of small Carp and then his swim dried up bar the occasional small Roach.

Give them time I thought, and I did, and they still weren`t interested. Then down went the float - in one go, no disappearing in stages this time . The rod bent nicely and in came the first Bream, about 4lb in weight. As it got nearer I could see the condition of it and it was perhaps the scabbiest fish I`ve ever caught, it appeared to be disintegrating before my eyes. I netted it reluctantly, showed it to Piscator who grimaced, and put it back in the water whereupon it swam straight back into the bank, face first, several times, before heading back to open water. Ill, diseased, spawning madness, or mentally unwell ? I know not.

I balled in some more ground bait, lined up the cast, and let fly. The tree to my right put on a sudden growth spurt and grabbed my float, unwilling to return it. Mindful of previous breakages I walked back, the line broke and I got my float back, losing a hook to the jungle, but no expensive accident this time.

I re-rigged with a lighter float and a smaller hook, and switched to maggots. This seemed to wake them up, but only the Roach. Then a few skimmers made an appearance, and one tiny Perch.I was ready for home, the showers had been and gone, Piscators brolly had been up, down ,up, down etc and he was ready for home too.

Not the days fishing that we were hoping for, but a pleasant day out with good company nonetheless. Days like this are the vagaries of spring fishing, apparently.

Week 5.


A couple of hours at our ponds with the Baron, just to get out, purge myself of a rotten week at work. It worked. We caught a few, not loads, no big ones, but again a few enjoyable hours spent in good company in a peaceful setting. Destressed, we went home.

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