Steve Cullen spends the opening weekend at Stocks Reservoir where he finds the fishing patchy but his mates have a field day, and the food, hotter than was expected!
I headed up to the opening weekend at Stocks Reservoir recently, trust me it's a bit of a hike for me. My mate, a good one at that, John Emerson, picked me up bright and early on the Saturday morning.
He came in for a coffee and spouted his usual nonsense to my wife, boy can he talk - in a nice way obviously.
Eventually we were in the car and on our way, stopping only the once for a quick break, me for coffee him for a Benson & Hedges.
Arriving at the water two hours later, we tried to get in to the car park, fat chance, it was wall to wall carnage. The big hill near the fishery was nose to tail parked cars, the car park was pretty much non existent!
Soon enough we had abandon the car and headed into the comfortable lodge - with all it's finery, it's looking good by the way, lots new fly tying schizzle etc, very nice.
Anyway John and I got geared up and ended up walking quite a way to get away from the crowds. The fishing was literally shoulder to shoulder for at least three quarter of a mile, perhaps more!
Our first port of call was Newclose Bay, which is quite shallow but we had the option of moving around to the right to the deeper water of Beetle's Drop.
It was too shallow and the wind coming into us was restricting the casting somewhat, so we moved over to Beetle's and deeper water. John was set up with a floater and two lures, both with 4mm tungy beads on, spaced ten foot apart on a 20ft leader, a good set up for searching. I had went with a shooting head scary Di8, teamed with two Boobies!
Within a few casts at the deeper water, I had a take on the drop, shouting over to John who was ten yards further on, as I did. I thought the chance was gone, but the rod tip slammed around and I pulled the hook home into a fish.
It was on for all of three seconds!
No matter, perhaps in this quite little area we had found some fish?
Sadly, we hadn't. Fishing on for another 40-minutes without a touch, it became obvious we needed to move.
Casting and moving we leap frogged each other, and other anglers until we reached Ben's Beach, A nice steady bit of water where the depth was pretty consistent.
John, with his floating line set up soon was into a purple patch, picking up five fish fast, including a double hook up. I on the other hand, who was all of ten yards away couldn't get a sniff!
We swapped places, and I also changed my set up to match John's. I caught nowt in the next 30 minutes so gave him the place back, the bugger went in and caught another four from there in the next two hours. I stuck the Di8 set up on again and caught two. Location, location, location early season! If you're not in the exact bit, then you're going to struggle that's why you need to get to venues early, if you're going on the bank!
By about three o'clock we'd had enough and started to make our way back to the lodge, even at this time there was no space to fish anywhere near the boat dock.
No matter, we went to the lodge to have a natter with Ben, Tom and Matt, oh and I had the best pie in the world, Mince and Onion, it was MAJESTIC!
And so to the carry on in the evening. We, a few friends and I, were all due to have our dinner at one of the local 'Hostelries", I shan't name it!
Chillie was on the menu, with the prefix 'HOT', that was it! Hywel Morgan had some as did I and also John, we were the only one's silly enough.
Hywel is bigger than me - weight wise obviously! and I'm 6ft 2inches and 14 stone, so we are fairly big, John on the other hand is not so tall and nowhere near as heavy.
The Chillie arrived with a flourish, with get this, a whole Chillie nestled on the top, oh and a smattering of chips!
I knew it was going to be tough, I dipped a chip in the chillie and had a taste. It was EPIC, very, very hot.
We'd had beer though and the whole manly thing cropped up.
To cut a long story short, Hywel had at most, two fork fulls, I took out half a bowl, only after ordering some water to help me along, John, with casual contempt polished the whole bowl off without uttering a word, apart from belittling words for Hywel and I.
Some people are built better than others and John, give him his due, was more than a match for the chillie.
The chillie, sadly, hadn't finished with me, the next day, as we traveled home, I had to ask John to stop at the Sandbach services. I disappeared into the men's toilets and never surfaced for half an hour.
Perhaps it's not just women that the 'beer goggles' work with, food it seems can often make you regret your decisions!