Early morning and I’m loading the van and all a buzz about going angling, I just have to pick up the boss and we are both bramble bound to the Cotswold’s to visit one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the pleasure to step foot on. A few minutes away and we gave Stephen a call to confirm our location as there is an awful lot of water in the area, sure enough as always, I was lost!! But not to far, with a little guidance Stephen kindly guided me up to the gates to a very special place. Now I know we all get excited when we go fishing, but this was a very special trip for me because the fish that reside in this unreal place of beauty are just past words of description. We had a very pleasant greeting and anybody that has been there will understand when I say that this man knows his onions and has a wonderful carpy home, a true gent that could not be more helpful in a guiding hand to his fishery. Upon the tour around the lake it was not long before a jet black carp popped it’s head out to see who was wondering around their watery home. It was nice to see a few show themselves and gave us some confidence of a bite or two. After a good chin wag we gathered a plan with location to set our traps to try and trip up one of these legendary residents of bramble mere. A time given and the traps were set on some carefully selected locations and it was about lunch time, I was like a kid in a sweet shop, I was so on edge in hesitance. We had most certainly gave them a good helping of the good stuff and with all the disturbance of plumbing about etc had slowed the shows down but I was confident once things had settled things would start to happen. Some lovely spots out there with some nice features and some good weed to fish to, I had selected rigs to suit what I was fishing over and trying not to over complicate things, although the spots I had opted for seemed on the money, it was soon apparent that things were certainly going to take more effort than expected. The fishery had been fishing well over the past few weeks and had produced some lovely looking carp, my friend Taff the cool hand Luke angler he is, had a few belters a week previous and as you can see by the pictures. How made up you would be catching carp of this stamp, just look at the scaling and colour of these amazing creatures that reside in this spell binding place of beauty.
Well afternoon had past and apart from the odd liner there really wasn’t much happening, I was scratching my head a bit as I know we were all doing the right things, conditions were unbelievable and it was proper carpy indeed, moody cotton wool clouds, dark and so low, they seemed almost reachable with a grasp of your hand. Evening was entering, I said to Shaun, “I know we should of banked a carp of some description by now”. I went for the rod I was least happy with out of the three. I decided to look for another spot as in my own thoughts I really didn’t have anything to loose but everything to gain. I had noticed that a lot of naturals were active and when I say active, my whole brolly inside and out, all of my kit and the bank were crawling in hatching damsels! It would have to be my luck the week of the rotor I get to fish a large natural bloom would blast it’s way into life at full speed!! I from that moment thought to myself, I could be in for a bit of a scratchy session, but nevertheless I was more than happy to just be there, if I did get a chance to encounter one of these creatures of beauty I would be very happy indeed! So back to moving the unlikely rod, to my left there was an acute feature, it was one of those ones that within a couple of casts you find it, you can tell by the way the lead goes down and how long it takes and feels when it hits the bottom, just a small tap of gravel before the soft then into weed. Bloody tricky cast, just a small step to the left/right or rod held back too far on the drop, you would miss it! I clipped it up and made my far side marker, then reeled in to get the rig clipped on, a swift cast back to the spot and bang!! That’s a carp I thought! I had squashed a few foam nuggets into a pva mesh bag so that I could get a good indication of where the rig was sat from the next swim. I had gone into the next swim to bait the rod as it was far easier than to bait up from the swim I was set up in, with a bit of a chop on the water as well, I could be more accurate. So a nice chomp of bait was applied to the spot. I felt very happy with my efforts. A short time after whilst having a brew with Shaun, I had a liner, which in all honesty I didn’t really take much notice of because it was bloody windy. A few minutes later and the rod just burst into life, with those sweet high pitched tones indicating that a carp had made a slip up, it was making a bid for freedom in realising it had made a unfortunate mistake. In picking up the rod that was arched round and lunging with furious action, I had to keep a cool hand so this bramble warrior didn’t win the battle of shedding my size 4 and claiming victory over its encounter with me. A few minutes later after a couple of twitchy bum moments when the line had gone ping over its dorsal fin I was gaining on the better half of the battle, the fish then had a roll on the surface, I was a step closer to that exhaling breath of when your prize is residing in the bottom of the carpy green mesh of the landing net. As those thoughts where in my head, it goes through one of my other lines!!! I could not believe it, lucky for me Shaun was at hand to open the bail on that rod and lucky for me the bramble warrior was getting tired. A few moments of plodding in the margins and the net went out to snaffle this close encounter of a bramble kind!! Soon enough it’s head came up bobbing, had a big gasp of air and nicely slipped her over the final line….the net cord!! YES!! At last one in the bag! We lent over the reeds to peek into the welcoming net, a carp nicely tucked inside with my combi rig firmly nailed in the bottom lip and a well chomped on bait! Off the mark!! I unhooked her carefully and slipped her into a retainer that Stephen had kindly given us to use whilst I got set up for pictures of my first bramble mere carp. Now people who want nothing but sizes, just stop reading and go buy a magazine or something like that because its not the largest carp in the world, but what a little cracker to get me off the mark!!
Pleased with myself, we celebrated with a beer and a nice warm feeling of confidence back in the stomach. The rest of the night past with no carp on the mat and the weather was changing with sweeping cross wind and lots of rain, I had to turn my brolly three times! I had a morning brew with Shaun and a quick chat of today’s plan of attack, me being eager I wanted to get on with it as soon as possible, so with wind and rain pressing really hard at me and having to turn my brolly I could not see all of the lake, I moved around to the swim opposite and fished the same spots to start with, however a little while later I had a little plumb around to see if I could snare another bramble carp. Mike joined us a bit later and opted for a swim in the corner near me, I had seen a few shows in this particular swim early in the morning. It’s always nice catching up on a social and having the crack. That evening Stephen came round to see how we were getting on, I think he was as surprised that we hadn’t bagged a few more as the lake had been fishing very well. Well evening was well on it’s way and it was our last night on the spell binding Bramble Mere, I could so easily stay at least a month!! The swim I had moved to was now opposite the swim I had fished the previous night, I had now found two new spots and kept the third on the range spot from the previous day, the fish seemed very occupied on the damsels that where hatching everywhere, all I was thinking was just one please…..just one more…. Derek and Cyril had kept me company most of the day, eating my bait and certainly not shy about it either (Stephen’s pet ducks), what a pair of characters they are, Derek shows no fear of anything and he really isn’t keen on swans, which is fine with me! Stephen did say to me that Derek would keep my area swan free for the toll of a few boilies, I thought this was a fair deal, so the deal was made and I was very pleased with such a bargain, what a bloody good job he did, Mr swan was blown out of my swim with one heckled duck!!
Ok back to the fishing…Mike was next door and both of us where on edge with what the night may bring, buzzing like mad and in sweet hesitance of what may lay ahead. I had heard a few fish crash here and there, I was almost certain a take was on the cards! After falling asleep sitting on the history filled bank, I decided I had to get my head down. It was three in the morning and I was greeted by Cyril banging his beak on my bucket, asking me in a duck fashion for food from what I could gather.Well I though I’m awake now I may as well do the friendly thing and offer a few baits for my early morning alarm clock. The sound of the mere is beautiful, you can hear the odd bird and all sorts of natures pets going about the business, I thought to myself just soak it up and enjoy the last few hours of being in such a truly wonderful place. I donned the kettle upon the stove and a brew would be a few moments away from my lips! Cyril and Derek where joining me to wait out the time to watch the sun arise on this place of beauty, a place of wonderful scaly warriors who’s markings and old battle scars all tell a tale of their history through their time of living in the mere. Cyril was hovering around my rods and I was wondering what the crazy little fella was up to….looking at the water and then looking at me with a native call of a single quack, then alights one of the buzzers with a single bleep and a slight shake on the bobbin…For that second it was like time had stood still and my heart skipped a beat, I was paused like time itself had stopped, then another bleep…..Bang!! Bobbin smashes against the buzzer the those magical tones we all dearly love to hear and even at times hear it in our sleep!! (well I know I do). I was onto it like a flash! I lifted the rod off of the buzzer and I was well and truly locked into battle with another Bramble Mere carp. There was a lot of weed in the area where that rod was positioned and sure enough after a few seconds of a entangled scrap the carp had done what it knows best and made that epic bid of defiant freedom and got its head right in that bloody weed!! To be fair a lot of the lakes I fish do get extremely weedy and you just know the course of action to take in this situation and the first one is don’t panic!! Easier said than done though which I’m sure most of you know, I was certain the fish was well buried in the weed, so with a leg shaking like a sh**ing dog I placed the rod back down on the buzzer to let maybe ten or so feet off the reel, I decided to sit down, light a fag and put the kettle back on. Both Derek and Cyril had both gone so I take it they thought we best leave him to it and go for a wonder elsewhere. Two cigs later, a cup of warm carpers brew and a few bleeps from the buzzer sounded so I was back to the rod in haste, a few moments later and the line started to pull tight and I could see a carp come to the surface over the spot, so I picked up the rod and in shear luck the battle was back on and in bramble style!! A short while and the bramble carp was fairly close to me for netting, It didn’t feel like a monster but this place isn’t about monster sized carp, its all about the shear true pure outstanding quality of these carp, the scaling…..the beautiful dark ancient colouration… the golden and black etchings around the scales, in all honesty there is not a good enough word to describe how stunning these carp are. Crazy margin battle all ablaze and I’m reaching for net and getting it into position, a moment of final stages in fight praying that everything goes to plan and the banking can be made. After a few moments the head of a beauty arises from the depths with that first gulp of air tipping the scales in my favour, I reached for the net and slowly drew the carp into the green meshy snare and like a dream. A great plan executed, the carp was mine and at the bottom of the mesh!!! YESSSS! I was all a fix to see my prize of hard worked effort, so I flicked the head torch on and under red illumination I pulled the mesh to lift the carp on its side and oh my lord!! I cannot explain to you in words what I could see, just astonishing…. Beautiful… Black… Gold… Plates… bluhbluhbluhbluh and lost the power of speech!!! With the unhooking mat wetted up and a bucket full of magic bramble juice and retainer in situ, I was ready to hoist the bramble beauty from it’s watery home.
What a prize…What a carp!! Just biblical!! Just look at it!! It was amazing to end the trip on such a high, I was so pleased and as you can see, it is so special and will make a lot of anglers as happy as it made me, without a shadow of doubt it is up there with the finest of looking carp in the country and a true credit to Steve, who is a true gent that has made this place a very very special place indeed. I will most certainly be going back!! Mike was top man with the pics so thanks mike for that you did good mate! We drank tea and enjoyed the last few hours before we had to bid fair well to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in my life to angle. With all the kit in the back of the van and a few words with each other, we opened the gates for the journey back to the valley, our minds soaked in beautiful memories of a truly wonderful place. So in the last few words I would like to thank the man himself (steve) for having us at his beautiful home and for being a great host!! Also to all the wonderful comments and mass amounts of likes on our page!! Very kind of you all!
Until the next time
All the best and tight lines Ev