BACK IN 1961, the great angling writer Fred J. Taylor wrote a book called Favourite Swims. It has become a classic, a book that collector types seek out and pay good money for.
My copy was picked up in a car boot sale and wouldn’t impress the experts, but it is still one of the books I turn to often.
Fred’s contributions were super, and so too were those of some his contemporaries – Dick Walker, Peter Stone and others.
The joy of fishing a cherished pitch is as relevant now, more than 50 years later, as it was in the days of those angling greats.
One of my favourite swims has long been the weir pool at Great Somerford. Until the summer floods of 2007, it was full of barbel. Some moved on downstream, others doubtless fell to predation in the coming years, and the fishing there has never quite matched what it was before then. But it is still somewhere I am drawn to. It just looks so . . . well, fishy.
More recently, I’ve enjoyed the tench fishing at Cokes Pit, and in one swim in particular. I won’t identify it here, but now that the season is open you can go and find it yourself. If you can locate a plateau about a rod length out, six feet deep and paved with fish, you’ve found it.
A third favourite swim was at one of the Woodchester lakes. I only ever landed one carp from it – a common just over 20lb – but it was an intriguing little corner. Whenever I was there, in spite of evidence to the contrary, I always felt I was in with a chance. I wasn’t alone in liking it. One late member of the syndicate had his ashes scattered there.
With the real season now open and long evenings to enjoy, I shall be returning to some of these. But I will be looking for some new favourites, too. There’s the new pit on the Water Park, and one brooding corner in particular has captured my imagination.
I’m keen to hear of your catches in the coming months, and will be launching a competition for those that make for an especially good story. I’ll reveal more next week, but hopefully it will give you another reason – as if you needed one – to get out to your favourite pitch very soon. Tight lines.
Catch reports: firstname.lastname@example.org