Sunday 31st January 2016 started cold, wet and miserable. Getting up was hard to do, as the old song almost says. But, with a bit of effort I was on my way to Villa Farm Fishing. When I arrived I got out of the car and then immediately got back in again. It was FREEZING and WET and WINDY and my bed was just 45 minutes drive away. I literally sat in the car with the engine running and heater on for ten minutes debating whether I should fish or go home. I had help. There was this Little Angel on one shoulder saying
“Chris, you are the Compleat Idiot Angler, don’t fish today, go home and keep your Loving Wife company.”
On my other shoulder there he was, the Little Devil, hissing to me “Chris, I’m inclined to agree with the Little Angel, you’re a bloody useless angler, you’ll catch bugger all, go home and Pork The Missus.”
So there it was, the Devil and an Angel were in agreement, only their “End Game” differed slightly. Bravely I made both of them go “Poof!” and they disappeared, I got out of the car, grabbed my 300KG of Coarse Fishing Gear and stomped my way to the Villa Farm pools. There I met James Davies and Stephen Roberts of the Fishing In The Northwest group. They were already well underway in their efforts to achieve Life Threatening Hypothermia. (Fishing In The Northwest has already written some great stuff about Villa Farm which you can read here). I also met Chris Weaver, who was collecting the amazingly inexpensive day ticket fees. He also happens to be the owner of Villa Farm and the Fishery, which further explains why he was collecting the day ticket fees. Chris is a very nice bloke who I am insanely jealous of. No, it’s not because he owns a farm and a brilliant fishery, it’s because he’s approaching 100 years of age and yet he still has a FULL HEAD OF HAIR. (left to right, James, Chris and Stephen).
Those who know me intimately know that I also have a Full Head of Hair except that it is located all over my back. My actual head is sparsely populated. Chris gave us many great fishery insights during his visit but he did not give us any insights as to why, hair-wise, he belongs in an exclusive group which includes Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Catweazle.
Now, all of this is very interesting but we’ve not spoken much about the fishing at Villa Farm even though this article is already over 400 words long. So, let’s talk about the fishing. I thought it was GREAT. Considering the life-threatening weather conditions and the fact that there was a match going on while we were there I was amazed at how many bites I had.
(My Personal Best fantail! It also happens to be the only one I’ve ever caught).
The variety of fish I caught was staggering. Bream, roach, crucian carp, roach/bream hybrid, golden rudd, rudd, my first ever fantail and (drum roll) GOLDFISH. And this was WINTER. I didn’t catch any perch or gudgeon which is a pity because Chris has buckets of water dotted around the fishery. Catch a gudgeon or perch, put it in the bucket of water. They are then moved to a holding pond. Very clever as both of these species can turn a fishing session into a Tiddler Bashing Nightmare if they’re not controlled. It’s worth remembering that if you’re lucky enough to catch a gudgeon or perch at Villa Farm Fishery please do put it into one of the provided buckets of water. You could then be entered into a draw with a jackpot of tens of millions of pounds but only if you purchase some Euromillions tickets when you get home. I did miss a ton of bites but that’s because I have slug-like reactions. I also managed to lose a very decent carp. The wintry conditions rather begged for light fishing with small hooks and my Size 18 pulled out after having the carp on for just 20 seconds or so. I changed up to the Size 16 but the bites dried up so back to the smaller hook to continue what was a great few hours consisting of lots of bites and some nice fish in the net. I used a short pole with a very light float, no more than 5 number 8 shot.Both James and Stephen caught more fish than me but that is because they got there earlier and left later and it’s also because they’re both better anglers than me: Please note, not a single goldfish to be seen. Here’s another photo of my net. I had out-goldfished both of them. And, this is not even my Personal Best Goldfish. I caught a bigger one in Thailand a couple of years ago at Dave Fox’s amazing Pai Piranha Fishing Park. And here’s the proof!With me in the photo is Dave Fox who I am also insanely jealous of. As you can see, hair doesn’t come into it this time. I’m envious because he owns an amazing fishery in Thailand.