Waggoners And Me............

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The Sweetcorn Kid
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Waggoners And Me............

Post by The Sweetcorn Kid » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:14 pm

I have held a passion for Waggoners Wells, since reading of Chris Yates' exploits there, Chris Ball telling me of trip to the Wells and since visiting and spotting those fabulous, impossible Carp. I have had three day trips there this season so far and plan to revisit again. Here are the acounts of my three visits to this wonderful little paradise.....

Session Number 1 Mid June 2011

I made the eagerly awaited visit to Waggoners Wells, history water stocked from the nearby Surrey Trout Farm 50 years ago by Mr Donald Leney. Waggoners is a wonderful place, steeped in tales of old, visited regularly and written about by Chris Yates. These days the old strain still live there, deep in the woods surrounded on all sides by tall trees, but the fishing is very difficult, wily old Carp who have seen it all before and the copious amount of dog walkers throwing balls and sticks into the water for their dogs to fetch don’t help in the slightest. I have a love affair with Waggoners as I do all the historic Carp waters and my goal is to fish as many as I can and catch from them, although I knew Waggoners would be a tall order after my last visit, one half chance and they stuck two great big fingers up at me as they tormented me for the rest of that day, impossible Carp but Carp I dearly wanted to catch.

I woke early, 3:30am, made a small breakfast and a flask of coffee and drove through empty roads to my destination full of enthusiasm and optimism. I arrived at around 4:45am and a quick tour of the lake confirmed that all was quiet. Nothing moved so I sat and waited for the Carp to begin stir, and at around 6am they started to move around clearly visible in the gin clear water. I chose a spot on the left hand bank opposite the pads, my idea was to fish two rods in close toward my own bank using the overgrown banks as shelter from spooking the fish, then, if I managed to get them going on the surface I planned to fish with 4lb line which is why I chose the swim as far away from the pads as possible. For the first few hours the Carp did their usual, looking good in the sunlight and teasing me by swimming under my rods giving me full views if their pristine Leney characteristics. Commons, Mirrors, they were swimming past without a care in the world and I felt the frustration start as my stomach started to get tied in knots.

At somewhere after 11am I fired out another pouchful of crust pieces but this time a group of three fish cruised through and showed interest. I quickly reeled one of the rods in, changed to the 4lb line and a size 6 Wide Gape and attached a piece of crust. Once all the bread was gone and the fish moved on I fired out another pouchful followed by my hookbait. After a few minutes they were back and scoffing again, I watched nervously as my hookbait disappeared and with a sweeping strike I connected with my first Waggoners carp. It tore of a load of line on that first run but before it could reach the far bank I slowed and turned it and gradually started to bring it back towards me. Within ten minutes or so I had the net in the water and the fish on the surface gulping, but it wasn’t quite close enough, I held the rod way back behind my head in order to gain the extra foot needed to encompass my prize only for it to tear off again and, once again, almost reach the far bank. With such light tackle I couldn’t bully the fish at all so had to do exactly what it wanted. I was beginning to think that fishing so light was stupid, but I knew it would take such extremities to hook one of these fish, and it worked, but landing it was another matter.

Next time I had the net ready the fish was again wallowing around on the surface just out of reach and went off on another half hearted run, but I could tell it was almost beaten. With one final push I reach out as far as possible with my net arm and she went in!! I looked into the net to find a wonderful Common Carp, classic Leney in appearance with a two tone effect on its flanks. It gleamed and so did my smile. I called out to the only other angler on the pond and he kindly agreed to take some pictures for me. The funny thing was that weighing the fish was the last thing on my mind, it really didn’t matter what it weighed, I was just so happy that I’d actually caught one….

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With the fish returned and my hands steady I continued fishing. A few times I had Carp rise for the loose feed but no more chances came my way. The last few hours of the day were spent stalking around fishing in the edge with bottom baits after seeing a few fish feeding but at 6pm I decided to call it a day, and what a fantastic day it was!!

Session Number 2 End of June 2011

The alarm sounded very unpleasant, 3:30am is no time to be getting up….but I was going fishing, round two at the legendary Waggoners Wells. Through weary eyes I managed to make a flask of coffee without spilling any or scalding myself so I knew, there and then, that I was in good form…..

On the way the wiper blades reminded me that they needed replacing, a horrible sound almost like that of nails being scraped along a blackboard, but I had no choice, the rain was persistent, I needed to get to where I was going and there was no chance Halfords would be open at that hour. Any other day the dim light and wet conditions would have made for a very drab journey but spirits were high. I arrived at the car park at 4:45am. Although I had only the bare essentials and carefully thought out what to take my equipment was still fairly heavy and the ten minute walk to the pond was one of aching shoulders and tree roots trying their best to trip me up. At the pond I was delighted to find nobody there, I fancied the swim next to the pads due to its deep nature, first impressions were that there were no fish cruising around just yet so they were more than likely in the deeper spots enjoying breakfast. With a rod just off the pads and one near the overhang I sat back, poured from my flask and settled back against a tree stump to daydream of big, heavily scaled, old Carp.

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I guess I must have started fishing somewhere around 5:30am, too early for dog walkers so it was a time to relax and enjoy my time alone with the pool, and although quite sinister rustlings in the bushes and the mist hanging among the treetops, it was nice to have the place to myself, undisturbed and quite happily listening to what must have been a thousands birds in song all at once.

Those first couple of hours before the first of the walkers appeared were lovely, if not a little quiet, the rods never moved and neither did any Carp, most strange. Soon after the first Jack Russell licking my ear I decided to wind in the rods and go for a wander, these Carp had to be somewhere. I walked around the end of the pool, the causeway area which is the deepest spot and past the shallow picket fence corner, still not seeing any fish. The margins along the near bank usually hold the odd fish but, again, all was still. It wasn’t until I ended up in the opposite corner to where I was fishing, the Shallows, when I saw them, there they were, all of them!!

I tiptoed out of the swim and walked at Olympic style pace back to collect my things. I dropped everything at the top of the swim behind the cover of some ferns and peered over to see if they were still there, it looked quiet for a few seconds and I felt my heart sink, but soon enough two big dark shapes glided through, the tricky bit would be to get a bait into position without spooking them to the other end again. This was to be the routine on this pool, whenever the fish get spooked, be it and angler causing disturbance, a dog walker throwing in a ball or stick, or even a Crow swooping close to the surface causing eruption, it always took the carp a good while to settle down and even look slightly interested again.

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Whilst searching through my bag for the bag of drilled halibut pellets I stumbled across the packet of King Prawns I’d bought the day previous, “something different” I though and quickly broke one in half and hair rigged them. With the two rods baited (thinking back now I should have used only one!) I crept down the waters edge and waited for any fish in the area to either move off or have their backs to me and with a gentle flick I positioned the two baits, laid the rods on the floor, slackened off and retreated to my Ferns. I knelt down for what felt like an eternity, my feet had pins and needles and I knew that if I had to jump up I’d probably fall over! Whilst sitting more comfortably and trying to get some blood flow back into my feet I suddenly realised that the dark ghostly shapes that were happily gliding through had ceased. I smiled sarcastically, perfect, I find them at the opposite side to where I was fishing, as far away as they could probably get and with me now in position with almost the whole lakes population in front of me they go and do exactly what I expected them to do, they were more than likely sitting right on the spots I was fishing earlier mopping up the bait I put in.

I sat for a few minutes in disbelief, the mist light rain still fell and visibility wasn’t great, looking up you could just about make put the tree tops. Just then whilst gazing up into space I heard a familiar sound, I looked down and saw my right hand reel spool revolving at an incredibly fast pace. I scrambled to my feet, scaled the sloping bank and picked up the rod, fish on! It tore of towards the pads opposite left so I tightened down on the spool in an attempt to slow it down; but the fish was very strong and came within inches on the big green leaves before I managed to slow it down. Quite remarkably it then kited straight towards me, I had to wind quickly to keep up with it and as soon as it saw the net it was off again on another strong burst. Soon it was wallowing just a few yards from the net and took a big gulp as it felt its body against the mesh. I peered in and made out in the low light that I had achieved exactly what I’d set out to do, catch a Waggoners Mirror carp thus completing the set. It was a very handsome fish, classic Leney characteristics complete with sloping head and a good size too.

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Again, I didn’t do the grand old fish a disservice but putting a number on it, more than happy with what I’d caught I had done what I’d set out to do in the two day sessions. I did the best I could in the low light levels with a few self takes, the flash on lit up the fish and blacked out the background and with the flash off the shutter allowed too much light in, I played around a little, got a few reasonable shots and released the wonderful Carp back to its home.

It was obvious that the commotion from the fight would have spooked the fish to the other end where I was before so I gathered my things and leisurely, in two trips, carried my stuff to the other end. When I got there they were cruising around in groups of three and four as they do here so often looking extremely catchable. Once I was settled back into my original swim I repositioned the rods, this time baited with my new wonder bait, and laid them on the floor with the clutches set, then I fired out a few pieces of crust hoping the fish would be in the mood, but they weren’t. The ducks were though, a mother Mallard and three young adults and a weird looking Chinese cross with 6 very small but equally as annoying young. These ducks seem to tour the lake, round and round all day and my attempts to fill them up were in vain as they can feed all day and not appear to fill their little crops.

Afternoon came and so did glimpses of sunshine making the basing Carp even more visible and even more frustrating, but I found time during moments of this frustrations to smile with respect. I started to think of it as a game of chess, and with a veritable grand master as my opponent, always looking to trick your opponent into a false move, that move being me stepping on a twig and alerting the fish of my presence of the fish taking the bait. A hooked fish is only check, for it is when the Carp is safely in the folds of mesh that checkmate can be achieved.

During the afternoon I left my position under the trees near the pads and wandered with rod and net around the banks looking for an opportunity. That second opportunity did arise at around 8pm in the shape of two big mirrors taking a sudden interest in the bread I was flicking out. The key was to get in quick, snatch a bite and get out, dilly too long and the ducks would be round on their tour and it would be al over. I watched as two pieces of crust disappeared and crept round using bank side vegetations as cover. Out went my hookbait and up came the mirror, showing me a whole different side to their cunning ways, it was almost as if they will drop their guard and throw caution to the wind at some stage, you just have to persevere and be there when they do for these windows of opportunity will be few and far between. So, I watched on in the clear, sunlit water not two rod lengths from the bank as a twenty pound mirror looked at the bait, sucked it in completely and proceeded to turn away, I struck and the hook came flying out of the water and landed among the branches above my head, the fish didn’t even spook, just carried on chewing its meal and it slowly waddled of to join its friends.

At a little before ten I started to pack things away, the light was fading and it looked much the same as when I had arrived. The spooky walk back to the car was one of triumph, I felt, somehow, that I didn’t need to rush back and be frustrated again too soon, I’d done what I wanted to do, time to move on to the next history water on the list.

Session Number 3 Mid August 2011

Yesterday I made the trek to Waggoners Wells, after the week at Redmire I felt I still had the urge to catch some Leney’s and Waggoners is the most accessible lake I have. I woke at 4am, loaded the car, had a light breakfast and headed for the motorway. I’d say it’s around 40 minutes for me so ideal for a nice long day session in the summer. I arrived shortly after 5am and found only one other angler there but he was on a different pond. I had a few walks around first to try to locate the fish but, as it was early, they weren’t showing, but they were bubbling in a few places.

I decided to start at the deeper end off the causeway and flicked two rigs in the edge with a handful of baits over each one. While I waited I saw a few fish start to cruise so I started to fire out a few mixers four at a time with my little match catty, I love the match catty, less noise and less disturbance, although she’s getting a little tired now so will soon need a newer model moved in. After a few minutes, one carp started to take a few of the mixers, not really having it, but certainly starting to show an interest. I wound in one of the margin rods and quickly set up the floater rod. I cast out a freelined mixer and sat to watch events unfold.

I was concentrating on watching the mixers, which ones were disappearing and straining my eyes a little in the low light levels when I heard a strange noise coming from behind me. I looked round and realised it was the Ultegra spool spinning, dropped the floater rod and started to do battle with a Waggoners Carp. They really do fight for all their worth in there and it gave me a right old run around. I was quite surprised at its size when I first saw it but was so pleased when she glided into the net as I’d landed another of those tricky carp, making it thee in as many trips. I weighed her at just under 12lbs, did a quick self take and slipped her back. Needless to say, as is the cunning of these fish, the spot completely dried up.

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Soon after, I went for a wander trying to locate where they’d gone and found them round behind the pads. I flicked a few pieces of crust into the pads and waited for them to disappear. I waited quite a while, leant across a tree trunk to get a good view over the water and to keep out of sight, when I happened to glance down and see two fish feeding on a clear spot right below where I was, not even a rod length out. I retracted myself from the tree, waited for the fish to move off, which felt like an eternity, and gently lowered a rig into position followed by a handful of chops.

I waited a good hour for those fish to return and had almost given up thinking they must have seen me when they were back, and let me tell you, they were both dark, scaly, old carp in the 15 to 20lb bracket and I could see every scale on them from where I was sat. They took turns to upend and I watched as their gills flared and they chewed the free baits. After a moment they were off again and I topped up the freebies whilst waiting for them to come back. At this stage it all went a bit weird as I was distracted by something, I forget what it was, but I just caught out of the corner of my eye one of the carp spooking off the spot, for a split second I thought they’d sussed the rig and did the off, that was until I noticed my rod tip swing round and line departing from the reel. I picked up the rod and had already done the hard job of keeping it out of the pads, it rolled on the surface showing off its black back and large scales just as the hook pulled leaving me cursing and throwing the rod down in disgust.

After licking my wounds a while I set off around the lake again and settled on the swim in the far corner near the picket fence. I saw a few fish visiting a spot close in as I had done before on a previous session. There is no pattern to the fish behaviour here, it’s just a case of staying mobile, being as quiet as possible and, if you did manage to spook them, to get back on the move. Again, I gently lowered a couple of rigs onto the spots, baited them up and sat back behind the ferns to watch. In came a big mirror, upended on one of the spots and up came the bubbles. I heard my heart beat and could feel the sweat forming on my forehead, then she was gone. A few minutes later she returned with a friend and this time, with two fish feeding on the spot I felt sure it would happen this time. But, as before, they just graciously trudged off chewing the free offerings without a care in the world.

By now it was getting kind of late, I didn’t want a late one what with work the next day and the fact I’d just been away for 5 days, so I decided to pack away and wander back to the car park. As I got to the shallows I looked at the big fallen Oak and wondered if there could be anything cruising around in the shallow waters on the pond. From my new high vantage point I could see forever.

Entrance….
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The Swim………
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As I was lying across its branches I spotted a common approach, circle under me and head off. I took some crust from my pocket, threw a few pieces in and waited to see if he came back. He did, and within no time started gulping down crusts. He would eat three pieces, swim off in a large circle and then return for more. During one of these circles I climbed back to the base of the tree, set up the floater rod and net and crept back into position. I froze when I got back as he was right there staring up at me as he ate another piece of bread, but somehow he didn’t spot me.

The next time he swam away I lowered the bait in and held the line out of the water, this is a deadly method but you must remember to give a little slack when they try to suck the bait in, the times I’ve missed chances through not doing this. Soon enough I worked out that he was only taking the ones that had drifted towards the bank and not the ones directly below me so on the next turn I flicked it out towards the margin and awaited my new friend. Only this time he returned with a friend, a mirror, about twice the size that he was!!

Both fish started to take crusts and I dearly hoped that the big mirror would take the hookbait, but it was my little friend that was tricked and an epic scrap from the tree took place. Somehow I liked the look of the tree and the prospect of getting into a good position fishing from it, what I didn’t think about was landing any hooked fish! At first the fish swam all the way to within a few feet of the pads, that’s all I’d have needed, to lose that fish straight away after going to all this effort. But, I managed to stop him and guide him into open water where he just charged this way and that way. I knew I’d have to totally play him out to ease netting, any sudden bursts down among those big old branches and it would be all over. I soon had him wallowing on the surface and with a really awkward stretched out hand I netted him first time. The first thing I did was to bite the line and lay the rod out of the way on another branch, then I peered into the net and was so happy, not at the size of the fish but of the colour, a lovely shade of bronze, he also had a classic shape. I did a quick self take on dry land, released him into the nearest swim and packed away for the final time, after scaling the tree once more to get my rod and net handle.

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So, two fish in one session, I was well impressed with that, and it so could have been three had that hook not pulled on the scaly one. One thing that loss did though was to ensure that I’ll certainly be back. With the clarity of the water and the wonderful fish that live there, you are hooked from the moment you peer into those depths, for the beauty you see, you ultimately want.
SK
The Compleat Tangler

“Imagination is the real magic that exists in this world. Look inwards to see outwards. And capture it in writing.”

Nigel 'Fennel' Hudson



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Mark
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Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by Mark » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:46 pm

What an excellent report and the pictures too.
Mark (Administrator)

The most precious places in the English landscape are those secretive corners,
where you find only elder trees, nettles and dreams. (BB - Denys Watkins-Pitchford).

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St.John
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Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by St.John » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:15 pm

nice post sweetcorn. may there be many more..
"Be patient and calm-for no man can catch fish in anger."

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St.John
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Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by St.John » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:49 pm

i've met you at redmire i believe.. i'm one of les's mates. p.m me... st.
"Be patient and calm-for no man can catch fish in anger."

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The Sweetcorn Kid
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Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by The Sweetcorn Kid » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:39 am

Thanks.......

PM Sent.
SK
The Compleat Tangler

“Imagination is the real magic that exists in this world. Look inwards to see outwards. And capture it in writing.”

Nigel 'Fennel' Hudson



Click here for my Youtube Channel...
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeoyLH ... 5H4u8sTDgA

GloucesterOldSpot

Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by GloucesterOldSpot » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:17 am

The Sweetcorn Kid wrote:Thanks.......

PM Sent.
Lovely account SK. I don't think we've met there? I have only fished it three or four times this season, all short evening trips save a dawn visit on the 16th. No fish either. Had them feeding a couple of times, but time ran out before their caution did.

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The Sweetcorn Kid
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Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by The Sweetcorn Kid » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:34 am

I don't believe we have met GOS, but thats not to say we won't. I do plan a few more day trips before the winter draws in so, if your around, perhaps we could have a chinwag together, that would be nice.

:thumb:
SK
The Compleat Tangler

“Imagination is the real magic that exists in this world. Look inwards to see outwards. And capture it in writing.”

Nigel 'Fennel' Hudson



Click here for my Youtube Channel...
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeoyLH ... 5H4u8sTDgA

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CraigM
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Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by CraigM » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:40 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed the post & pictures.

I've only fished there a couple of times, having been introduced to WW last year.

So far silver fish, small perch & a nice crucian to show for my efforts - the big carp have just toyed with me!!

Will definately be having another go next season. Resolve now stiffened by seeing those carp on the bank!

Boloa

Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by Boloa » Sat May 26, 2012 5:13 pm

Yes.... me and my Rod building mate Andy Needham fish this water in the late 90's .We only fished it once though.Andy fished off the Dam end and placed his baits by the fallen tree to the right .I fished in the shallows down the far end.Andy had the big Leney Mirror at about 26Lbs and I had a nice Leney Mirror of about 12lb.A place to fish for only those that can handle dogs jumping in on top of your baits,kids throwning stone and the "Have you catch anything yet " Brigade :wink:


Nice report SK :hat:

Boloa

Re: Waggoners And Me............

Post by Boloa » Sat May 26, 2012 5:31 pm

BTW SK....I saw this in one of your Blogs......I'm 100% sure this is the Carp Andy caught :thumb:

Image

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