My 8lb 3oz 'wildie' from Evesbatch. Pic by Nigel Evans.
Fishing with Nigel Evans is always a great pleasure, because our ethos when it comes to angling is very similar. I believe it was Chris Yates who suggested
we should fish not for fish, but for moments. Well, from Tuesday this week into Thursday, we caught many fish - and not all carp...there was even a crucian in the mix, and perch and bream as well. We also had plenty of moments to savour. Our first stop was
Pridewood, where my mild ambition hoped to tangle with a certain large common which I'd hooked and lost three years ago. I put its weight then at around 22-25lbs, and so I was slightly disappointed to hear from the always friendly owner, Mrs Powell-Tuck, that
a 23lb common had been caught just days before our visit. However, setting ambition aside, we were soon into fish - with Nigel beating my previous best tally of five doubles in a session by catching a most impressive six, to 12lbs 12oz. If I recall, all of
our carp were caught off the little dam, where there was a considerable amount of surface scum, - usual for this time of year. We were dropping surface baits - mainly crust - in or among the scum. I managed three doubles to 15lbs 9oz, but I'm only counting
two, because I caught one of the doubles twice - a poor otter-savaged eleven pounder which Nigel also caught. The fish were generally not looking at their best - they had just spawned and were looking a little washed out, and a number were carrying wounds
from energetic spawning etc; but they were certainly obliging. Pridewood is a lovely spot, lost among the hop fields of Herefordshire. The pool looks almost ornamental, with a great weeping willow on one of the islands; but the two islands and the pool date
back to at least 1846, according to old maps.
Then it was on to Evesbatch Bottom Lake, where Nigel hoped to get to grips with the
relic wild carp/ferals, as well as the Leneyesque commons. He opened the batting brilliantly with a 12lb 12oz common which, had it been caught in Redmire, no one would have hesitated to call it a Leney. He caught it while stalking too - fooling the magnificent
creature with a freelined lobworm, by the lilies. Nigel was most impressed by the sheer power of this immaculate fish, but the cane and the angler were up to the task. This turned out to be our largest carp from Evesbatch in 24 hours, but we both caught some
incredible looking carp. My best from there was another Leneyesque common of 11lbs 10oz, and we both landed carp which we thought were actual wild carp, and others which we believed were probably wildie ferals - simply magnificent and rare! Almost every carp
we hooked bent the rod double. I managed nine carp in total from Evesbatch - but I think Nigel's tally was a most creditable 14 or 15! Most of our carp fell to floating crust - and my 11 pounder was caught as the light was fading - and it put in a terrific
run along the bank, all adding to the drama! I could see that Nigel was delighted with Evesbatch, which is tree-girt and secluded and was once owned by the Cadbury family. For a full 24 hours we didn't see another soul on the bank. It's a stunning spot,
and my only disappointment was that the giant ash tree on the dam, which had stood as the majestic sentry for the pool, had been felled. Nigel suggested it may have been suffering from ash die-back - which is possible. Either way, it serves as a reminder that
favourite places change, not always for the better, and they must be cherished and enjoyed while they remain as demi-Edens.