I have great memories of what was once called Hosiery Mills Lake or Johnson’s Pond, but is now known as Reed Mill.
Fishing with dad
Having been fascinated as a young boy with the dusty fishing tackle that I had happened upon in my father’s allotment shed I finally pestered him until he would let me use it and go fishing and I fondly remember the very first time he took me as he showed me how to cast, resulting in a hopeless drift back of the float to the bank side reeds whilst he lit his pipe and sat back in anticipation, the sweet forbidding waft of tobacco drifting over my face as I patiently watched. The only thing that was hooked was myself!
Having caught nothing, I then proceeded to catch nothing for the following three years, hurrying off after school and taking risky shortcuts through the sand quarry on a summers evening to our new estate on Delemare Drive and then dashing off in tackle laden excitement down Forest Road, across Nottingham Road and on to the lake before other interests eventually took over and like my father my fishing tackle gathered dust for a very long time.
Oh how tormenting it was to sit in a tree and watch the enormous Carp that would bask below and the dimpled dusky lake surface as the sun set, all that had eluded me and kept my fascination surfacing to wish me goodnight as I made my way home in the warm evening darkness but try as I might I never could hook one of those elusive fish.
Local Fishing Club
This year I decided in January to join a local fishing club… Reed Mill. It would appear that the Carp are now well known due to repetitive capture and identification and are in turn given names, not something that I can honestly say that I feel comfortable with in my memory of the seemingly virgin water and fish which I observed as a young boy.
The first weekend of my membership came around and after much holding back and excitement I gathered my fishing tackle around mid-day so as to enjoy the two or three degrees that the afternoon of this sunny January day would allow. My only intention being to relieve the stress of present day life and stand in the exact spots which I last stood in over thirty years ago when life was simple and I recalled the very clear images of myself as a child and even recollected the overhanging bows that no longer existed which I had once rested upon as I watched those elusive fish beneath me.
Caught at last
I tried for all my worth to catch the fish that had kept me awake so many times and which I had dreamt of so often in my childhood. Then… after around three hours I felt a heart stopping thump on the rod tip! The reel screamed as something began to strip my line, I held on and played the fish with every skill that I have learned over those thirty years away from the lake, and I eventually slipped the net under a Pike weighing close to 20lbs… she was scale perfect and looked as though she had never seen a hook in her life! I can only describe the experience as elation.
I was fortunate enough to have my phone with me and one of the trustees of the lake just happened to appear and took a picture which is now on the Reed Mill Facebook page. The very strange thing was that, a week later I caught the very same fish… this was not a known and named Carp but a discreet beauty of the deep which had been previously undiscovered. So now my dilemma… despite my dislike for named fish I have to give her a name? Destiny… and forever in eternity she will swim.