Recovery aided by coarse fishing

The newly transformed fishing spot at Winfield Lakes.
The newly transformed fishing spot at Winfield Lakes.
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My usual fishing activities involve leaders and large abors, flies and fast taper rods, weight forward and double taper lines to say nothing of zingers and zip-up waders. But recently, I exchanged my comfort zone for a world inhabited by high protein pellets and pole elastic, boillies and brollies, hair rigs and halibut extract.

Early in my recuperation period after a knee replacement, I wrote in my monthly column about the frustration of being unable to prowl the river banks. Then, out of the blue, I received a very kind offer.

Andy and Linda Winfield recently acquired eight acres of land in Spaldington, East Yorkshire. Within the secluded plot are two lakes that formerly operated as a coarse fishery and had been sadly neglected. Andy and Linda, with the support of son Liam and their friends, are proud of how they have transformed the site since, and, very kindly, they invited me to spend a day fishing their. Coarse fishing can be a sedentary business, which was just what the doctor ordered.

I decided that a reconnoitre visit was required. In order to avoid vulgarities, I am simply going to report that the weather was a little inclement for my first visit. It did however provide me with the opportunity to properly meet Andy and Linda. We toured the lakes and I listened to their plans for the future. We also sat in the shelter and drank coffee and ate pork pies; my kind of day.

It was clear from the outset that a huge amount of work is completed. All new fishing stations are in place on both lakes constructed from proper decking timber. Some of the platforms are double width and will accommodate two anglers easily. I saw young folk sharing with grandparents and parents, and there were husband and wife teams fishing together.

“The whole community is welcome,” insisted Linda. “We want to share this oasis of tranquillity with our neighbours.”

Being a complete amateur at coarse fishing I took the opportunity to shelter under a few big brollies and pick the brains of successful anglers. Top tip was to make sure that my bait bag included garlic sausage and luncheon meat with a little sweet corn on the side. One angler suggested that cocktails work well. I was puzzling about how one put a Bloody Mary on the hook when he expanded on the suggestion. “Six millimetre cube of luncheon meat and then a single maggot on a fourteen hook. Works a treat,” he assured me.

I also learned that I needed to sprinkle a sample of high protein pellets, maggots and stewed hemp seed into the water in order to attract the fish to my bait. I even came by some advice upon which brands of luncheon meat and sweet corn are best. My fishing visit was planned for a few days later, weather permitting.

The fishing day arrived and it was a belter; lovely warm sunshine and little breeze. I did another circuit of the lakes, took a few more pictures and then unpacked my fishing gear. Decisions, decisions; which lake should I fish? I discovered from my last visit that the High Lake was home to carp of well over twenty pounds whilst the Low Lake held a whole mixture of fish including carp of up to twelve pounds. Low Lake for me then; I’m not up to hand to hand combat with scaly leviathans just yet. I followed all advice and began to catch lots of fish, from modest sized roach and bream to carp of six pounds or so. My enjoyment was further enhanced when Linda arrived at lunch time with a mug of coffee and a wonderful, prize winning pork pie from Mountfield butchers in Bubwith.

I enjoyed a lovely day at Winfield Lakes. There is a friendly and family atmosphere about the place without that tainting whiff of commercialism. Andy and Linda are working very hard to build this new business, a very new venture for them both.

Linda was formerly a postmistress; I cannot now help myself thinking of her as the “Lady of The Lake”. I hope that she doesn’t mind.

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