David plays a hard-fighting double at Wilden. September 2021.
When I was just a spotty teenager, the school friends who enjoyed fishing often mentioned Wilden Pool, near Stourport. It was something of a venue of desire, because it was a genuine wildie pool in those days. The wild
carp didn't go very big - I surmised that the average was about 2lbs... However, in those faraway times, any carp was a rarity; - and sad to say, I never got to fish Wilden. As a much younger person, I walked its banks only once, in fact, and then only to
accompany a fishing friend, who managed a few wildies, to about 3lb, on swimfeedered maggots. Why I wasn't angling then, I can't remember. I think I was on a break from university, and the interest had waned, temporarily. Move a few years on, and shallow,
ancient Wilden Pool had dried up.. I believe completely, and the wildies were just a memory. Move on to 2005, and the site was in the hands of new owners, who dredged it out, increased the size of the pool, and stocked it with king carp.... and so to the present
day... It is a tradition for my brother David, my nephew Steven and I to enjoy an autumn carp session together. Sadly, last Saturday, Steven was still recovering from a bout of Covid, and so it was just David and yours truly... and a good many other anglers
too... Most of the swims on this very well run day ticket water were already taken by the time we arrived. However, we found two interesting pegs, at the far end of the pool, where we could fish side by side. I opted for a swim with a semi-sunken bush, because
the branches were visibly shaking and I knew that carp were the undoubted culprits; and David opted for a swim with bulrushes, because the reeds were visibly shaking also... I was first to catch, on popped-up scopex crust... but it was a bream! In fact, my
swim was apparently full of bream, and they loved scopex crust, and Bacon Grill to boot! I ended up with six bream in total.... but that was not the whole story, I'm pleased to relate. David was the first into a carp... a very hard-fighting mirror, of 14lb
2oz, which fell to Bacon Grill and waggler tactics. I was soon into a good carp too, which was fooled by sight-bobbed meat... but the hook pulled about two minutes into the fight... However, the day was still young. David was soon enjoying an epic battle with
a double figure common, but the hook was under the chin, by some way, and so he didn't count it. Meanwhile, I switched my sight-bob for a tiny quill - one that cocks with the weight of a medium swivel. It is actually less sensitive than a 'bob', and
that was my intention, because I felt I'd struck a few takes that were only just developing. I needed something slightly less sensitive. About one hour later, the quill went down nicely, next to the sunken branches of the bush, and I was into something slow
and heavy. The fish stayed deep, at about 5.5ft, and David helpfully suggested that I'd hooked "a giant eel". After a few more minutes of this odd sort of battle, and seeing the quivering full bend in my carp rod, he then helpfully suggested that I might be
playing "a conger"! Perhaps this carp had managed to wrap the line about itself...who can say? If that had been the case, it must have unwrapped itself by the time it announced itself definitively as a carp, with one or two powerful runs, near
the surface. Soon, however, it was ready for Dave's big round net - and it was a 16lb 7oz common carp, nicely hooked just inside the corner of its mouth. Dave was starting to enjoy tormenting the absent, recovering Steven with regular text updates...(!)
and it was soon Dave's turn for action again, with an eleven pound common, while I ended the day with a 10lb 3oz common, just as we were thinking about packing up. So, it was a great day with great company, and an absent companion who was much missed, in fact.
We couldn't help but notice that, on a pool surrounded by electric bite alarms, we didn't hear a single run during our time there; but perhaps the wind was in the wrong direction, either that, or we are getting old and deaf. Carp had indeed come out to others
during the night - a nice family group that had bivvied up told us how their combined tally had been seven; and I noticed that a man with another pleasant family group, just above us, managed a double on the float. Another observation was the number of very
large carp in mid-channel, on the surface... imperious and unassailable. They were crying out for a floating crust or flake bomb... but sadly, surface baits are not allowed on Wilden... possibly because of the large numbers of ducks. All in all, Wilden is
a well-run, well-kept fishery, and I look forward to a return visit. Readers of the Gnome might sometimes be under the impression that I tend to be fishing 'exclusive' waters... Well, while I have fished pools that I cannot even name or describe in any great
detail, these are rare occasions, and most of my angling these days is on day ticket waters - and they don't come much better than Wilden Pool.