Sam Whittaker embarks on a Belgian road trip, which all came good in the end!
Marcus Howarth – As Luck would have it…
10th December 2020
Marcus Howarth gives us a retrospective look back on a cold winter trip to Ringwood’s Roach Pit that all came good in the end…
“FFS! I could feel that unmistakable rumble, resonating through the steering wheel. In my rush to get to the lake, I had completely forgotten about that pothole! Now that I was only a few hundred yards from the lake, I thought it was probably safest to stop and assess the damage once I was at the gate. I limped the rest of the way there, before getting out to find two tyres were completely flat!
The water was the Roach Pit, in the Ringwood Valley. I’d first fished the lake around 2006. At the time it held an incredible stock of carp, probably some of the best in the country. I only fished a handful of nights that first season and managed to catch a couple. Stupidly though, I dropped my ticket the following year. It was silly of me really, but I had other waters lined up which I really wanted to fish. Fast forward six years and I managed to secure a Roach Pit ticket once again.
On the previous trip, I had been down to Ringwood with a good friend of mine ‘Meeky’. As it transpired the lake’s new owner had opened a previously out-of-bounds area. We were two of the first anglers to fish it, and it turned out to be a good session in great company. Not only was it a trip when there was plenty of laughter, but we both managed couple fish each!
If I’m honest though, that last trip seemed a distant memory right now. It was a freezing cold January morning and I now had two flat tyres on my van. If that wasn’t bad enough, on opening the back of the van, I noticed there were maggots crawling everywhere! This was turning into one of those days…
After tidying up the van I decided to head for that same zone where I’d managed a couple of bites previously. Several tench came my way during the first night and I was beginning to question my sanity. If that wasn’t bad enough, the second night was even worse! There was a hard frost on the ground, and I was being woken up every hour by another tinca hanging itself. By dawn I had managed twelve tench! I was cold, deprived of sleep and then remembered I still had two flat tyres. Seriously! Why!?
As I sat there feeling sorry for myself, I received another tench-like bite on one of the rods, but it soon became apparent, this was no red-eyed slimy green demon. The area I’d been fishing was about 18ft deep, and despite applying reasonable pressure I couldn’t get this fish up off the bottom. It felt like a dead weight. The fight continued, with the fish kiting right in the deep water – but something just didn’t feel quite right. The blonde haired ‘Cod-Father’, Micky Gray, turned up just in time and decided to lend a hand with the netting.
Eventually, a huge mirror bobbed up on the surface and Micky netted it first time round. It was a cracking fish, one of the lake’s A-Team, known as ‘The Horse’. She was a mega mirror. Well you can imagine my excitement! I was absolutely made up, with catching one of Roach Pit’s jewels.
Micky turned to me with a solemn face, and I could tell it wasn’t good. He said she was foul hooked! I couldn’t believe it, I’d gone from pure joy, to utter despair in just a moment. I just said to Micky to ‘let her go’, but as we sorted out the tangled mass of line, upon closer inspection we noticed my 12mm pop-up hanging from her bottom lip!? Somehow, she had managed to pick up one of my other lines, and this explained why the fight felt weird at one point. My other line had got caught around her pec, and this is what Micky had seen when he had first thought she was foul hooked. Luckily, none of that mattered now, she was mine. The Horse at 46lb and ounces!
What a crazy trip and one I’ll never forget. You really are only ever one bite away from it all coming good. Once the mobile tyre fitter had arrived to change my tyres, I drove home a very happy man indeed!“