I wrote this piece a few years back about the Lower Lea just after a new season had begun, so in anticipation of the 2012/13 season here is the piece …
Last year I made a decision to simplify my angling techniques and reduce the amount of tackle I took with me. Going through my tackle I found I had too many floats, weights, reels, bank stick, swim feeders…the list goes on!
Now armed with only one rod and a small bag of essentials my fishing has become liberated and each week I manage to whittle down the kit further. Not once, last season did I sit at the waters edge and discover that I was short of a particular item of tackle.
After my liberation last year I decided this year I would take my new lightweight approach one step further and start to fish spots that to most anglers are inaccessible.
Steep and overgrown banks are the main culprits. My first new piece of angling kit came from a pet shop, a ground anchor, designed to tether your dog to the ground!
Screwed into the ground like a large corkscrew at the top of a steep bank, with some Para cord attached I am able to lower myself down to the bottom of a riverbank and more importantly I can get myself back up. To make it all easier I have put some loops in the cord for easier grip. A couple of year s ago I was barbel fishing on the Wye in November and I could have done with the ground anchor then, not so much for getting down the bank but more for safety as the flow was immense, and the bottom of a very steep bank was only about 18 inches wide, I digress.
To put theory into practice I set off for the river Lea on the first week of the new season. There has been a spot that I have had my eye on for three years now, looking down I have seen large bream and very large carp cruising about and feeding off the bottom, but access was impossible. Now armed with my ground anchor I could lower myself through some waist high undergrowth, down about twelve feet to a tiny ledge at the bottom, and if I did get lucky I could wade into the Lea as it is only about a foot deep at the edge.
From the start I threw handful of red maggots in and straight away a congregation of four large carp and one bream of about 8lbs froze me! I kept the maggots coming and after 10 minutes my meeting had expanded to about eight large carp all with their heads down and totally oblivious to my statue, just four feet away.
Slowly I moved my rod into position and dropped a bunch of red maggots into the mass of grazing carp, the water was clear so I could see the maggots on the riverbed occasionally obscured by a drifting carp. After a minute one of the smaller carp got its lips over my bait, I was poised to strike but the carp drifted away leaving the bait behind. A minute late the same carp returned and this time committed to my bait, my rod took on a bend as the other gang members scattered in all directions. Being perched at the bottom of the bank, landing this fish was proving tricky, so I slid into the water, after all I was determined to land this golden nugget. After a short hit and hold style battle the landing net engulfed a small but slender river carp of around 8lb.
Update: Four years on I shall not be returning to this spot as it is now in the Olympic Park area and climbing down steep banks attached to ropes could be taken as an act of terrorism! The spot still exists untouched by the landscaping so when the party finishes I shall slip back into position…