Session 4 (2020) – Pike Fishing On An Old Estate Water

Monday, 13th January 2020, I set off at 0800 on a pike fishing trip to Patshull Great Pool, a local Staffordshire lake of 75 acres or so created by Capability Brown, work being started on its creation in 1768 for the Astley family… the estate then passed through several hands until it became owned by the Dartmouth family (Earl and Lady Dartmouth) in the mid-1800’s … it remained in the Dartmouth family then until 1958 when it passed to the Crown in lieu of death duties… The full history can be found at:

There are other smaller pools on the estate (Church Pool and Lady Barbara Pool) which are I believed syndicated carp waters these days but possibly limited tickets are available to fish those… See:

I have fished Patshull many times in my years…

I originally fishing there in the 1950’s (I’d be about 6-8 years old!) when still owned by the Dartmouth’s. At that time if you donated 2s 6d (12.5p in today’s currency) to the Dartmouth’s charity then you were given an annual FAMILY fishing permit … and my grandmother, who ran a pub, donated annually to this charity. So, at 1400 (2:00pm) on the Sunday (under the licensing laws as they applied then) the pub would be locked up for afternoon and my grandmother, parents, uncle and myself would be off to Patshull for an afternoon’s fishing – finishing when it was time to get back to re-open the pub for the Sunday evening session. The fishing was far different in those days than it is now – back then you were limited to probably just 800 yards (possibly less) of the bank to fish from, no boats of any description were allowed on there and only coarse fish were resident in the pool, bream, pike, perch being the main species although I believe tench existed in there and later carp were added…. Nowadays, you can hire punts with electric motors (or take your own motor to avoid the hire fee for one), fish much more of the bank space, etc, etc AND in the 80’s trout were added and the lake now provides coarse and game fishing within specified ‘seasons’…

There was a break of a few years in my fishing here post the late 1950’s after the estate went to the Crown and it was probably the late 70’s, early 80’s when I returned by which time punts (no motors, had to row) were available and more of the banks had been opened to fishing access … and in this era ‘names’ such as Nige Williams, Des Taylor and John Sidley were frequent visitors to the banks of the pool. Myself and angling buddy did a lot of summer bream fishing there from a punt – originally they were the stereotypical fishing punt ie light weight, low sides etc exactly as you see on Thames punting videos – bar that oars rather than poles were used but with 20’ of water long poles would be required!) but then they were replaced by humongous army pontoons very heavy and built rowing muscles you never knew you had! I see today the lighter type punts are now the ones that are back in use. Also visits after winter pike were made… and in fact I came second on one of the pike day comps held there with a 17lb’er caught on ledgered sprat…

Anyway, roll on a few years, my fishing was curtailed, I played golf for 10 of them… then via The Big Bang Theory coupled with Liz’s acquisition of a Wii, a shed tidy shedding light back on my tackle and retirement I’m back to my fishing in earnest … get licences, permits, club memberships … and then last year I returned back to Patshull, along with Liz on the first visit and then I made a further two solo visits that year…

AND now to the present … back in the fold of fishing after an enforced layoff for several months … and finding myself mid-term in my personal pike season (1st October-31st March I fish 95% plus of the time for pike) it really was time for me to return back to Patshull.

I left home at 0800 … morning just starting to brighten … to make the 5 mile or so journey to the gates of the pool… awaited at the fishing lodge door as no-one was there when I arrived but soon the bailiff appeared and a £8.50 permit was placed in my pocket…. and I headed to my swim … Peg 45, not fished there previously but when I’d fished a few pegs away the previous winter and did a reconnoitre around it looked a good area to me and so… there I went.

A nice looking swim on ‘the point’ where the large open bay turns into a narrower section thus fish following the banks get herded around – or so the thinking was :)…

2020-01-13 Patshull 01
Patshull, Peg 45

First casts were made around 1000 with static deadbaits on each of the two rods – and the rods were actually the ones I’d used in the 1980’s – homebuilt from Northwestern blanks (2.5lb or 2.75lb TC IIRC) and consist of just the blanks themselves fitted with rod rings and the reel mounts are Fuji ones…

Fuji Reel Seat
Fuji Reel Seat/Mount

… attached with insulation tape over a few layers of the same tape wrapped around the blank just to protect it from the mount’s metalwork – no cork nor foam handle at all – and the end of the blanks are plugged with rubber bungs to prevent mud, etc getting inside. As basic as basic can get but I’d not swap these rods for all the money on Earth, feel a natural part of me now! The reels used were XLT 5000 ones loaded with 40lb Spectra (7-strand) braid. Traces of 30lb stranded wire with tandem double hooks and leads of 3oz on 6” sliding links of 20lb mono completed the setup.

Baits used initially were 3 sprats on one rig and a bait I sourced from Birmingham Fish Market some time ago, not sure what its called but comes from the seas around India IIRC and look very much like a small pike (4”-6”) but with the colour of a smelt. About halfway through the session the baits were changed from sprats to smelt (still 3 baits on the hooks) and the pike-smelt changed to a sardine slashed along its flanks to release its oils and aromas…

BUT by 2pm when I packed in – heavy rain had been forecast and in between a couple of showers with the sky in the distance darkening I elected to call it a day – I had had not one touch all session …again.

Four sessions into 2020 and not one touch, never not one fish…

One nice thing, a pal of mine appeared walking the banks and we had a chat for a good half hour, probably more. We used to be members of the same club but he left to venture elsewhere – in fact I think he’s part of the carp syndicate at Patshull these days too… Great to see him again!

Next trip planned for Thursday 16th January – a few hours on the Staffs-Worcs Canal armed with maggots and, possibly, bread and looking for perch, chub and bream mainly.


AIR:                  MIN: 6.1’C         MAX: 9.6’C
WATER:           MIN: 5.9’C         MAX: 6.2’C






2 responses to “Session 4 (2020) – Pike Fishing On An Old Estate Water”

  1. Hard luck. Keep plugging away (literally, might be a good tackle choice:)
    Great stories – I love the idea of a whole family fishing together.


  2. Great to meet up with you again Shridd. Glad you are able to get back on the bank at last. We will have to arrange a days piking on there together,and hopefully i can put you on the “fish”.Hope your recovery continues to go well,there are not many old school fellas left these days. ATB BIG KEV XX

    Liked by 1 person

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