So on Wednesday afternoon, we posed a serious question on our Twitter feed to find the best fish ponds and spots in Notts… After all, fishing is a sport isn’t it?
Growing up in the 90’s and kicking flat leather peeling balls around on the street corners and parks after school every night past dark with my mates, it always amazed me when one of my uncles would sit me down and tell me “football’s not the biggest sport in Britain, fishing is”…
I never understood how or why? Living in the Midlands we don’t have much water… I hardly ever seen anyone fish, but everywhere I looked I saw (and indulged amidst) lads kicking balls.
I slowly discovered that it was all about license holders.. Fishing had more ‘license’ holders than any other sport. You could be a footballer ‘affiliated’ to a team, but if you weren’t, you weren’t a footballer.. You couldn’t fish without a license… More people had fishing licenses than were registered as ‘players’ for football clubs… It all made sense…
But I doubt these days it still remains true?
Anyway… Back to my point… Coronavirus.. (Oh not that again).. Has pretty much stopped us partaking, watching, enjoying, even getting angry over every social and sporting event we’ve ever been used to in this country, so we’ve been scratching around for sports that are still going strong… Sports that you can do alone, in isolation, away from the human race, sports like running, cycling, walking (but less boring)… Darts at home perhaps? But fishing stood out to me.
It’s not something I’ve ever done. I can’t swim for one, so anything near water is a no go for me, but for many, these quarantining times offer nothing more than a routine alternative to what they usually do at a weekend regardless, which is sit alone, away from the stresses of work and more importantly the wife (or hubby), by the river, flask, deck chair, tent, without a human in sight.
We initially posed the question on Facebook as to ‘where is the best place to fish in Nottinghamshire’ and directed it to the only fisherman we know Matt Nowak, a former Gedling Miners Welfare winger, who every now and again likes to pull out his tackle and show it on social media.
Matt said “Cromwell Lakes Newark” before adding nothing more and that was that… Fishing in a nutshell. The counties premier spot uncovered.
Now we don’t normally like to circle the world of social media in pursuit of our only news, as we tend to leave that for the tabloids, Evening Post and BBC (we think it’s lazy journalism) but in these desperate times where sport is minimal we are slightly clutching…
So we took to Twitter and asked the same question.. A midweek fishing feature that we thought would grip the county and our 997 followers for their sporting fix.. we posted… we waited… and then… A catch!!!
Now I’ve been crab fishing at Whitby a couple of times.. Nothing serious, just a bit of bacon on the end of some string in the vain hope of catching a crab… Well sometimes you get a nibble, pull it up and realise you’ve got a crisp packet instead… This was similar to the response I got.
“Where’s the best place to fish” we said… ‘Plenty of Fish’ was one reply… ‘Twitter’ another.. Yep… I see what you did there…
So we went again, rod in hand and re-cast out with better bait this time hoping for a more positive response and @psychospen got back to us immediately saying “Cotes on the River Soar has some of the finest Barbel you’ll find”
“Double Digit Barbel”
Now we are talking!!!
The issue is.. Cotes is in Leicestershire, not Nottinghamshire… We go again…
As we sat there, pondering over other sporting subjects that could perhaps get us more bites we targeted footballers and a few fishing puns that we thought were funny… Goalkeepers that like to catch… Defenders who like a tackle… Strikers who stick it in the back of the net… We didn’t have anything for midfielders…
Then as we sat back on our Trakker RLX Nano Chair before rummaging again through our brand new bait box, from nowhere, Notts and England batsmen Alex Hales (always reliable for something unorthodox) tweeted about the matching peroxide hairstyles of fellow Nottinghamshire Cricketers Joe Clarke and Ben Duckett and then we had a sniff.
We put on our waders and re-cast our lines and this time went all in for Notts cricketers who love fishing… After all, every cricket team has at least one fisherman in it?
We threw in the direction of Ben Duckett without a nibble before posing a line to Luke Fletcher, a big guy, local lad, the Bulwell Bomber, a mans man, a proper man.. ‘He will love fishing’ we thought…
“What’s your best catch Fletch?” we asked..
Without hesitation hook line and sinker.. “A big snapper” he responded “when in Melbourne on the same trip as Notts skipper Steven Mullaney who caught his first ever fish- a Banjo Shark”
When we asked ‘how big’ Fletcher replied… “Decent size” Mullaney responding “What a day”
Fishing alive and kicking and celebrated amongst professional athletes of the highest calibre.
News even reached as far as Lancashire as ‘Red Roses’ batsmen Stephen Parry sent us an old picture in from 2013 catching something much taller than Haseeb Hameed.. Something as silver as Peter Moores.
Real fishing talk with real sporting fishermen our journey had only just begun. #cricketersgofishing to get involved!
As well as cricketers that can catch we also looked at the lakes and ponds around the county as we left no angling stone unturned in our pursuit of the perfect days play.
Welbeck Lakes Fishery with three lakes and 77 acres including spectacular views of the Abbey was one that looked most appealing…
Cromwell Lakes favoured earlier by Matt Nowak and set over 18 acres in beautiful surrounds was another thanks to its waters full of 40Ib Carp, Pike, Catfish, Tench, Roach, Rudd, Ide, Crucians and more (you name it they have it), another hot spot high on the list of the counties greats.
A1 Pits & Smeatons Lakes near Newark even allows overnight camping you can bring your caravan!!!
Sapphires Lake one of the counties oldest and Covert Springs on the Epperstone Bypass (only open at weekends to the irritation of some) a couple mentioned as alternative locations to pitch up across variously spread pegs along the water.
After putting out an overnight Twitter vote where all of 8 keen anglers participated, we eventually came up with an overwhelming winner which was Cromwell Lake near Newark, very much a pre-match favourite and one that took home the glory with over 37% of our poll.
But even after in-depth research from our team of experts and masses of contributors, each suggesting Cromwell of all fishing experiences is our winner and the best that Notts can offer, the real winner is in fact the sport of fishing itself. The participants, the fish, the cricketers that love fishing and to anyone who’s ever held a rod in their hand.
*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).
*Main image @cromwelllake the stunningly picturesque lakes of Cromwell near Newark in Nottinghamshire.