THE ORIGINAL British ‘big-weight water’ is producing some of its best match catchess in years… only this time around it’s bumper nets of F1s that are hitting the headlines.
Earlswood’s Engine Pool, in Solihull, once held the UK five-hour match record, a massive 414lb 14oz net taken back in 2000 – but in 2017 it was drained following reports of invasive catfish.
But now, following a controversial stocking programme that saw it filled with big F1s, the venue is in dazzling form, with some of the nation’s top anglers sampling the phenomenal sport. In a match last month, 272lb took the top spot, and pleasure anglers are enjoying bite-a-chuck action from fish averaging 2lb.
The 25-acre pool is rumoured to have been built by French prisoners in the 1820s (following the Napoleonic Wars), and until the mid-1990s it was famed for the quality of its bream fishing.
Between 1999 and 2000 it was stocked with five tons of carp averaging 10oz apiece, before the drain-down took place 17 years later. Now its most recent chapter has begun – but it didn’t get off to the best start, with some anglers initially rounding on the pool’s owner, the Canal and River Trust, once the F1 stocking plans were revealed.
However, Earlswood bailiff John Collins believes a combination of the venue’s current form and the overwhelmingly positive feedback he’s been getting has proved the doubters wrong.
“People want to catch fish, not sit in the cold blanking,” he told us.
“Bagging over 200lb in winter – what more can you ask for? The fish are in stunning condition, and I believe there are even more to come.
“If weights are this good in winter, imagine what they’ll be like in summer!”
England International Phil Ringer recently paid Earlswood a visit and was amazed by the quality of fishing on offer.
“It was a real pleasure to get so many bites at this time of year!” he said.
“The F1s in here are as fat as pigs, and in stunning condition.”
Fancy fishing it?
Simple feeder tactics using micros and a wafter on the hook have been producing. Anglers have been catching around 30m out, but as it gets colder don’t be afraid to search further.
Location: Earlswood Lakes, Wood Lane, Earlswood, Solihull, West Midlands, B94 5JH