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Joe Chappell

Fishing a Two Hundred Year Old Mill Pond

The Bank holiday weekend just gone, I was lucky enough to get some time off work. Half of my family live 280 miles away in Lancashire and my eldest cousin was moving to a new house so we decided to visit for a long weekend. Although my cousin doesn’t fish himself, he loves the outdoors and his new house literally backs onto a beautiful lake called Lowerhouse Lodge. It was used by the textile mills during Lancashire’s booming cotton industry, and later by a local slaughterhouse. I purchased my membership for Pendle Burnley & District Anglers Association from Padiham Angling Centre and as always when you visit a tackle shop, I spent more money than I should have on random bits and bobs. The ticket covers five still waters, including Lowerhouse and three stretches of the picturesque River Calder. For £45 a year it’s a bargain if you ask me.

The view from the garage window.

After helping my cousin move on the Friday and a lovely curry for all our hard work (thanks Ste), I was up early on Saturday to go fishing. I have fished the lake a few times in the past, so I knew a couple of the hotspots but unfortunately all those swims were taken. I settled down in a swim in the centre of the lake and baited a spot to my right margin with a few handfuls of pellet. I fished a small white popup over the top of the baited area for a couple of hours but all was quiet. I decided to change tactics and used small pva bags of pellet cast towards a central wall that runs the length of the lake. By midday I was still blanking so I switched back up onto the baited spot in the hope that something might have moved onto the bait.

My first swim was down the bank on the right. I was fishing between the two blue pumps.

The man fishing the corner swim, next to the out of bounds area had packed up and left. He had been there since 4am and been baiting up the swim heavily. I knew that the fish would be around that area so I decided to move.

The corner swim, and the rope separating the non-fishing area

Not long after I settled down a family walking around the lake threw a couple loaves of bread into the no fishing area to feed the carp. Almost instantly the fish came up for the bread and it got me thinking. After fishing the same tactics as before without any luck, I decided a change was in order. I only had a few slices of bread with me, so I needed to use it sparingly. I broke up one slice and threw it a foot or so from the rope dividing the out of bounds section from the main body of the lake. The fish weren’t taking it, and it slowly drifted under the rope and into the no fishing area where it was soon slurped up (fish are not stupid are they?). The wind was blowing right down into the corner, and the bread I had thrown in was drifting pretty quickly. I cast some bread in, as close to the rope as I dared and undone the bail arm so the line was free. After five minutes the wind had blown my bait under the rope and into the danger zone (surely this is acceptable, right?). It wasn’t long before a hungry carp had engulfed my bread and hook. The result was a fantastic hard fighting common.

I managed to catch another two fish using this tactic however I had now run out of bread. I packed up and walked around the corner to my cousin’s house where my mum, dad and uncle were helping clear the garden. After nipping to the shops for a loaf of bread, I enjoyed some late lunch and spent some time in the garden with my cousin’s kids before heading back down to the lake again.

Excuse the poor photo it was a self take.

To my relief, the swim I’d had previous success in was still free. I threw in some bread but the fish didn’t come to the surface as they had done before so I decided to use some critically balanced foam and maggots on the hair in the margins instead. It wasn’t long before I had caught my fourth fish of the day.

The maggot rig that done the business.

After an hour or so my fifth fish was in the net. It wasn’t massive, but it was definitely the best looking fish of the day. It was getting cold (remember, this is the north and winter is coming) and I wasn’t feeling too well. My phone was on 1% so I wasn’t sure I would have enough charge to do a self-take photo. I gave my dad a call and he came down to take a few pictures for me.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Come back next Friday, when I’m going to be testing out if all these additions to our rigs are worth the money. I’ll be heading to a local runs water so hopefully I’ll get a good bend in the rod while I’m at it too.

Check out my Instagram @joec.carp

Oh and heres a picture of a duck to cheer you up!

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